Metformin (Metformin Hydrochloride) is anti-diabetic drug used to treat Type 2 Diabetes and prevent the development of type 2 diabetes in people who are at risk. The medication works by lowering blood sugar levels and reducing insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance means that the body doesn’t utilize insulin properly, which leads to high levels of insulin in the blood.
Metformin comes under different brands such as Glucophage and Fortamet. Learn more about the drug uses, dosage and side effects as well as other related information of the medication in this article.
The medication name is simply pronounced as follows: met.faw.muhn.
Types of Diabetes
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a disease that is typically diagnosed when someone has low blood sugar levels, high blood sugar levels, is too tired all the time, and is abnormally hungry. The body stops making insulin or does not use it properly. This makes it difficult to control the amount of sugar in your bloodstream.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that doesn’t have any known cure. It’s the most common form of diabetes, representing the majority of diagnoses, and it’s characterized by high blood sugar levels caused by insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes can be managed through diet, exercise, medications, or a combination of these interventions.
What’s the Difference Between Type 2 and Type 1 Diabetes?
One of the main differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is that type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder (genetic disorder from birth or early age). The body’s immune system attacks healthy cells in the pancreas, leading to the pancreas being unable to make insulin. Type 2 diabetes is when the pancreas can’t produce enough insulin or when cells ignore it or resist it.
How Does the Medication Work?
Metformin mechanism of action is described by reducing glucose production in the liver and decreasing how much glucose (sugar) your body absorbs from your diet. It is part of a group of medications called biguanides. It works by making it more difficult for the liver to turn sugar into glucose, which decreases the amount of glucose in your blood.
What are Metformin Benefits?
Under medical supervision, the medication may be considered for the following uses and benefits:
- Type 2 diabetes control
- Weight loss management
- PCOS treatment
- Cancer prevention and treatment
Metformin for Weight Loss
If you are taking Metformin for diabetes, your doctor may recommend that you increase your physical activity and reduce how much you eat.
Metformin for weight loss is very effective. The medication helps these individuals by controlling their weight and balancing their blood sugar. The medication is typically used in conjunction with a balanced diet and exercise program.
The medication works to decrease the amount of glucose in your blood and reduce insulin resistance, which can lead to weight loss for people who are overweight.
If you are not diabetic and aim is to lose weight using this medication, ensure consulting your doctor to avoid any negative side effects or consequences. Metformin weight loss dosage can only be decided by your doctor.
Metformin For PCOS
Metformin for Fertility Treatment
The drug is also used to treat infertility for women with unexplained infertility or those who have been trying unsuccessfully to conceive for over a year.
Metformin and PCOS
The medication helps women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is a common condition among women of reproductive age, with at least 5-10% of them being affected in the USA.
PCOS is caused by excess insulin, which leads to cysts on the ovaries. When there are high levels of androgens in the body, this can cause irregular periods, weight gain, acne, hair growth in unusual patches on the body and more.
The medication is sometimes used to treat PCOS because it can lower insulin levels by reducing the amount of glucose in the blood. It helps control high male hormones by reducing insulin resistance, which can contribute to the ovaries control of testosterone levels.
Cancer Prevention and Treatment
Metformin cancer prevention and treatment is potentially possible, according to research published in the journal Cell Cycle. In particular, the use of the medication as an adjunct to chemotherapy has shown promising results. In these cases, the drug is administered at the same time as chemotherapy to help reduce the risk of developing one of the side effects associated with chemotherapy treatments.
There is some evidence that it may be useful in the treatment of cancer. For example, studies have shown that diabetic patients who take the drug are less likely to develop cancer than those who don’t. Other studies have suggested that it may help prevent the development of prostate cancer. It may also be effective against kidney cancer, breast cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
While these researches are inconclusive, but it worth to research around this topic.
What is the Dosage of Metformin Drug?
The medication should be taken with a meal, as it does not work as well if taken on an empty stomach. The dose of the drug may need to be adjusted based on the effect it is having on patient’s glucose levels.
Metformin dosage is typically prescribed as follows:
- 500 mg
- 750 mg
- 1,000 mg
The correct dosage for the medication depends on a number of factors – weight, age, and kidney function – but it often starts at 500mg and taken 1 – 2 times daily.
Important: The dosage size, intake and length of usage depends on your doctor’s prescription. It is not recommended to take the medication on your own without consulting your doctor first.
Metformin Side Effects
Is it safe?
What are the side effects?
What are the dangers of overdose?
Metformin side effects are generally not serious and the medication is a safe. Due to the vast uses of Metformin, it is sometimes referred to as a “wonder drug”.
Metformin may cause some common side effects, such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle ache
- General weakness
The general side effects usually stop after a few weeks of consistent usage.
An overdose may lead to dangerously low levels of sodium, abnormally low levels of potassium, and other electrolyte disturbances. In severe cases, Metformin overdose can result in coma, seizures, and even death. An overdose is unlikely because the drug can be dangerous only when it is taken with other drugs or alcohol.
The drug can also lead to more serious problems such as lactic acidosis and kidney damage. People with liver or kidney disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes, or anemia should not take the medication without consulting a doctor first.
Watch for the medication side effects, if you don’t feel well or encounter continuous or increase of the side effects potency, stop taking the medication and speak with your doctor.
Metformin and Alcohol
Alcohol can reduce the effectiveness of the drug, and may cause liver damage in high doses.
Alcohol interacts with the medication to lower the amount that is absorbed in your body, it also can make you more sensitive to the effects of alcohol and lead to many health problems.
Alcohol intake can increase the risk of spiking your blood sugar and lead to unsafe levels of the drug in the blood. It’s advised that people who drink alcohol and take the medication should completely stop drinking alcohol while on it.
Metformin in Pregnancy
The medication is still not recommended for use by pregnant women, but there have been some indications that it may be safe in certain circumstances. Some of these include if the woman has had gestational diabetes before or if her blood sugar control is already under control with another medication.
It can be safely taken during pregnancy for up to 36 weeks. The medication can also be used to treat gestational diabetes during pregnancy, improving maternal and fetal outcomes. Metformin is the only treatment that has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of major birth defects associated with gestational diabetes.
Please consult your doctor if you are pregnant before taking this medication.
Safety During Nursing
Metformin is generally safe to take if necessary when you are nursing. You should tell your healthcare provider about the nursing so they can monitor your baby for any negative side effects. The drug will not affect your milk supply and breastfeeding can continue without interruption.
It shouldn’t be taken with other medications if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have kidney or liver problems.
Cholesterol Levels Control
The medication may affect cholesterol levels. It is possible that it may cause an increase in cholesterol levels (because it decreases how the liver responds to insulin). In some cases, the medication might decrease cholesterol levels. If either happens, talk to your doctor about how to handle the situation to keep your cholesterol at a healthy levels.
There are some high precautions that must be taken when taking this medication.
Patients with kidney failure, congestive heart failure, liver failure, damage to the pancreas, or who have had a history of lactic acidosis are not advised to take Metformin.
Metformin is contraindicated for pregnant women and children under the age of twelve. Metformin shouldn’t also be taken in conjunction with certain medications like the anticoagulant warfarin (Coumadin).
Subject to your doctor’s decision, Metformin can be taken in conjunction with another diabetes medication such as insulin or sulfonylurea.
Many people are hesitant to use Metformin because it requires taking multiple pills every day with meals, which can be hard for some people to keep up with. It also carries the risk of the side effects described earlier.
If you’re interested in finding an alternative treatment for your diabetes, there are a few options available that don’t require taking Metformin. Health care providers may recommend one of these alternatives if they feel the individual could have an adverse reaction to the drug.
There are other medications that can be used in place of Metformin. One is called Glucophage, which is also a diabetes medication. It has the same medical properties as Metformin and can be used if you have an allergy to it.
Another great Metformin natural alternative is eating certain foods that have natural properties that help reduce blood glucose levels. These include cherries, cinnamon, garlic, mint, peppermint, tangerine peel, dandelion root, grapefruit peel, ginger root extract, fenugreek seeds or leaf extract, bilberry fruit extract or leaves extract.
You may consult your doctor about Phentermine as well. Phentermine is not a diabetes medication, but it can be used to help manage weight in patients with Type II diabetes. It works by suppressing the appetite and decreasing hunger pangs.
Metformin is a drug often prescribed with the intent of lowering blood sugar in people with Type 2 diabetes by decreasing the amount of glucose made by the liver. It does this by stimulating insulin release, increasing insulin sensitivity, and decreasing production of glucagon. Metformin can also be effective at lowering blood pressure.
Metformin is generally safe but it may cause serious problems in case of overdose and if taken by people who has and an existing kidney or heart or liver diseases. Metformin dosage for diabetes treatment or Metformin dosage for weight loss should be determined by your physician only.
The potential Metformin cancer treatment and prevention for patients have been explored in a number of different studies. Metformin for PCOS showed effectiveness in fertility treatment for women.
While the medication is not recommended during pregnancy, it can be taken during nursing, but cautious is advised and your doctor should be talked to in both cases.
Finally, Metformin with alcohol and certain drugs cannot be taken together with Metformin to avoid any serious side effects or contradictions.
We hope this article helped you. Read more about Diabetes Types, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment and continue to monitor your blood sugar and consult a doctor if you have any questions related to Metformin.