Metformin is the most popular drug for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Metformin (Glucophage) is acknowledged to be a must-have drug because of its outstanding performance and safety qualities, which qualify it to be on the list of essential medicines issued by the World Health Organization.
Metformin is also very inexpensive. Because of these explanations, organizations that focus on diabetes suggest Metformin should be the primary solution for type 2 diabetes (diabetes mellitus).
What is Metformin, and what are the pros and cons of taking it? This piece of writing will give a detailed look into the well-known medication.
What is Metformin?
Metformin is a pill derived from the French lilac (Galega officinalis) that can be taken as a medication.
Metformin was initially employed to manage diabetes in the 1920s. Despite worries about potential adverse reactions and its relative unimportance compared to insulin, Metformin became widely adopted as a treatment option in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Metformin was initially known by the name Glucophage xr (which alludes to devouring sugar) and can now be procured in its nonexclusive structure.
The initial dosage of Metformin is 500mg each day, and this quantity can be raised as high as 2000mg a day. Metformin can be consumed once or twice a day, and there is an alternative form that endures for a long period of time called Metformin ER (extended-release).
Who Should Consider Taking Metformin?
Type 2 diabetes can often be missed for many years until it is diagnosed officially. In type 2 diabetes, the body gradually has reduced effectiveness when utilizing its insulin. This is insulin resistance. It is possible that metformin may be useful for those suffering from insulin resistance, as it may help them become more sensitive to insulin.
Symptoms of Insulin Resistance
- Extreme thirst or hunger.
- Feeling hungry even after a meal.
- Increased or frequent urination.
- Tingling sensations in hands or feet.
- Feeling more tired than usual.
- Frequent infections.
A hormone secreted by the pancreas, insulin aids in moderating blood sugar levels by transporting glucose from the blood into cells where it can be utilized to generate energy.
If insulin is not performing adequately, or there is a lack of insulin (insulin deficiency), then the glucose will remain in the bloodstream. This leads to high blood glucose levels.
A doctor’s office can provide a test to determine if your blood glucose levels are too high in order to confirm whether you have diabetes.
A diagnosis of diabetes is established if a fasting blood sugar is over 126 mg/dl (7 mmol/L) or an A1c level of 6.5% or higher is recorded.
Basically, this is the process: when you consume food that contains sugars or starches, it is broken down into glucose in the bloodstream. This triggers the pancreas to secrete insulin to lower the blood sugar level.
Type 2 diabetes interferes with the body’s natural system of responding to insulin as the body becomes less sensitive to its own insulin.
Elevated blood sugar levels can then cause harm to various body organs, like the eyes, kidneys, heart, and arteries.
Over a considerable amount of time, an individual’s body can become insensitive to insulin before their blood sugar level is found to be higher than usual. Because of this, the body will produce an excessive amount of insulin. Eventually, this exhaustion of the pancreas can result in a lack of insulin.
Central obesity, alterations in blood cholesterol, and hypertension can frequently occur in conjunction with raised insulin levels. When these health issues develop in tandem, it is referred to as metabolic syndrome.
Therefore, the purpose of any treatment for diabetes is to regulate blood sugar levels. Substances like insulin help to address an insufficient amount of insulin in the body, whereas other medicines like metformin are used to minimize insulin resistance.
How Does Metformin Work?
Metformin works in the body with three main actions:
- Improves insulin sensitivity.
- Decreases glucose production by the liver.
- Decreases absorption of glucose from food.
Helping the body to utilize its own insulin is of the utmost importance in treating type 2 diabetes, as this disorder is caused by insulin resistance.
Metformin boosts insulin reaction by affecting different tissue and body parts to expand the use of glucose.
This suggests that, due to the effects of insulin, instead of the glucose in the blood staying in the system, it will be more quickly assimilated into the body. It is essential to maintain sensitivity to insulin in order to avoid worsening diabetes.
Metformin has a significant effect of lowering glucose production in the liver.
The liver fulfills multiple duties, one of them being the adjustment of blood sugar levels. If the amount of glucose in the body becomes too depleted, the liver will generate glucose and permit it to circulate throughout the bloodstream. This is gluconeogenesis.
For those with type 2 diabetes, the body produces extra glucose more often than average, which makes it difficult to dispose of the additional blood sugar.
Metformin helps in this regard by reducing gluconeogenesis.
Research indicates that Metformin helps to limit the quantity of glucose taken up initially.
When carbohydrates are metabolized into glucose, the glucose passes through the stomach and intestines and is then taken up by the circulatory system. If fewer sugars are absorbed, blood sugar will be reduced.
Researchers are still attempting to be aware of the exact manner Metformin works, but generally, Metformin advances the deep-seated problems that lead to elevated blood glucose (blood sugar levels).
How Effective is Metformin?
Studies using randomized control trials to analyze the impact of metformin have been conducted frequently.
Studies conducted under controlled conditions revealed that Metformin can lower fasting glucose by 60mg/dl, postprandial glucose by 80 mg/dl, and lessen hemoglobin A1c by 1.8%. The significance of these findings is that they can be pivotal in determining whether blood sugar is kept at a steady level or not.
In summary, a individual suffering from type 2 diabetes should aim to keep their fasting blood glucose level between 80-130 mg/dl. An ideal postprandial glucose level should be below 180 milligrams per deciliter, and a goal hemoglobin A1c should not exceed 7 percent.
Besides bettering blood sugar levels, Metformin has been proven to reduce cholesterol and stop coronary heart disease, the number one killer of people with type 2 diabetes.
Metformin is a medication that has been utilized to treat metabolic and reproductive issues connected with polycystic ovary syndrome.
Despite some clinical trials studying the effects of metformin for PCOS with satisfactory results, little is known about how it affects women with the condition in the long term.
Contracting Type 2 diabetes can increase one’s susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease, and people with Alzheimer’s may have weaker responses to insulin. Certain research points towards metformin possibly lowering the likelihood of someone acquiring Alzheimer’s, but other research has discovered the extended use of it may raise the chances of it.
What Are the Most Common Side Effects of Metformin?
Metformin may lead to a few negative symptoms in certain users, but these tend to be mild, and often only appear when the patient starts taking the drug. Eating metformin can cause people to experience nausea and certain forms of gastric discomfort, including abdominal pain, expelling of gas, abdominal enlargement, and looseness of the bowels.
In some cases, individuals experience gastrointestinal discomfort when initially taking large dosages of metformin, therefore medical professionals typically prescribe a low dosage that is then increased gradually overtime. Many people begin their metformin dosage regimen with 500 mg per day and over a period of weeks, gradually increase it until the daily dose is at least 1,500 mg. It is less likely to cause a stomachache when taking this medication; however, it can take a little more time for the complete advantages of metformin to be felt.
I noticed some slight repercussions when I started taking metformin, and they seemed to be proportional to the amount of carbohydrates I was consuming. I took several weeks to decrease my daily carb intake to between 30-50 grams, then I was relieved to find that any digestive issues were resolved.
Consult your physician about the long-acting form of metformin to avoid these indications, as well as taking notice of your eating habits.
What Is the Best Time to Take Metformin?
The standard dose of metformin is to be taken twice or three times daily. It is recommended to consume metformin with meals in order to reduce the potential of digestive issues, as most people typically choose to have the medication with breakfast and dinner.
Metformin that works over an extended period of time should be taken in a single dose each evening, accompanied by your evening meal. This can help to treat high glucose levels overnight.
What Are Less Common Side Effects of Metformin?
The drug may induce more severe outcomes, though these are uncommon. A critical issue is lactic acidosis, which results from the excessive accumulation of lactic acid in the bloodstream. This may take place if there is an excess of metformin in the blood as a result of either long-term or sudden kidney difficulties (e.g. lack of fluids). A lactate imbalance can result due to serious acute heart failure or severe liver issues.
Metformin can also cause hypoglycemia, especially when taken along with insulin medications or substances that make insulin (e.g., sulfonylureas) and when combined with high alcohol consumption. Despite not needing insulin injections, I decided to use a continuous glucose monitor to be able to monitor my blood glucose levels more closely. Frequently using a blood glucose meter for testing is beneficial in stopping low blood sugar levels.
Due to the possibility for metformin to obstruct the absorption of Vitamin B12 over an extended period of time, which can lead to anemia, individuals may need to consider adding Vitamin B12 to their diet from external sources.
For most people who utilize metformin, any adverse reactions are minor and typically don’t last for a long time.
The “Faux Low”
Frequent users of metformin may experience another symptom when starting to take the medication. It’s something called a “faux low.”
A false decrease in blood sugar occurs when you reduce your levels to a “standard” level after having persistently high numbers (for example, over 180 mg/dl), either with a therapeutic treatment such as metformin or a low carbohydrate diet, or both! Your body reacts as if it were experiencing true low blood sugar levels (less than 70 mg/dl).
People with diabetes may have different reactions to their blood sugar levels, however when it dips below 70 mg/dl, many experience feelings of aggravation, lethargy, quivering, and unsteadiness. When I had false dips, I experienced the same type of dizziness, lightheadedness, feeling sick, and extreme hunger.
If you have the symptoms symbolic of low blood sugar and have tested with a glucose meter to confirm that your glucose levels are at 96 mg/dl, continue using your metformin medication as prescribed. Avoid consuming foods high in carbohydrates (such as orange juice) in order to bring your sugar levels back up.
If I am just having a “false” low and not a genuine one, I discovered that having a beverage and consuming a high-sodium snack that does not contain carbohydrates (such as macadamia nuts, which are dense in fat) can put an end to my symptoms quickly, permitting me to proceed with my day.
Particularly for those who have type 2 diabetes and are taking Metformin, insulin, or sulfonylureas, there is a genuine danger of becoming hypoglycemic. See if your blood sugar level is low if you’re feeling down. In some cases, you may require glucose tablets, orange juice, or something similar to treat hypoglycemia.
Metformin Interactions: What Should I Avoid While Taking Metformin?
If two medicines are taken simultaneously, they could potentially hinder the efficacy of metformin. Be sure to alert your health professionals about any drugs that you have been taking before beginning metformin, particularly certain kinds of antibiotics and water pills. It is imperative to stay alert to your glucose levels as insulin and medications that cause the release of insulin can cause hypoglycemia.
Try to restrain your alcohol consumption when on metformin and keep it to one serving per day for females and two servings per day for males. Alcohol can contribute to lactic acidosis.
Does Metformin Cause Cancer?
In 2019, the Food and Drug Administration conducted an inquiry to see if particular versions of metformin have an excessive amount of the carcinogenic chemical N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). In 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggested that numerous types of extended-release metformin should be pulled back and more than a dozen companies have since voluntarily removed certain batches of this drug. The amount of NDMA generally found in foods and potable water is small and benign; however, massive quantities of the substance can be hazardous and cancer-causing.
You can find out if your metformin has been withdrawn by looking here. It is advised by the FDA that those using extended-release metformin should not stop taking their medicine until they have consulted with their doctor.
Can Metformin Cause Weight Loss?
The Food and Drug Administration has not given formal permission for metformin to be used as a way to reduce body weight. A number of individuals suffering from type 2 diabetes have seen a reduction in their weight following taking the medication, yet researchers are still in dispute over precisely how metformin influences weight. There are different opinions about whether or not it reduces hunger cravings, and if it affects the body’s putting away and utilization of fat.
Researchers are also looking into whether metformin could aid in preventing cardiovascular disease in individuals with type 2 diabetes – some historical information appears to back up this claim. Attention is being increasingly directed to the lack of heart-related trials with metformin, which require further exploration.
Metformin is a medication to treat type 2 diabetes. It is usually the primary drug of choice due to its effectiveness and the lack of adverse reactions. This process is designed to increase insulin sensitivity, minimize the production of glucose from the liver, and decrease the ingestion of glucose from food.
Not everyone should consume Metformin and one of the frequent side effects is gastrointestinal unease. Serious risks of Metformin are rare.
You can control type 2 diabetes by altering your lifestyle, for example, by making dietary changes and getting more physical activity. In some situations, adapting one’s lifestyle is sufficient to control type 2 diabetes without taking medications.