Metformin is a anti-diabetes medication that is often prescribed for people with insulin resistance. In this article, we will review the benefits, risks, indications, contra-indications, brand names, side effects, complications, costs and its role in helping with weight loss.
Metformin for weight loss – Does it really work?
Here are some of the frequently asked questions related to Metformin.
- What is Metformin used for?
- Can I take Metformin if I PCOS?
- How should Metformin be used?
- Can Metformin cause hypoglycemia?
- What are the side effects of Metformin?
- What diet should I be on with Metformin?
- How much weight can I lose on Metformin?
- I do not have diabetes, can still take Metformin?
- Is Metformin safe to take if I do not have diabetes?
- Can Metformin be used to reduce insulin resistance?
- Where can I find a doctor that can prescribe Metformin for me?
What is Metformin used for?
Metformin is a prescription medication used alone or with other medications, including insulin, to treat type 2 diabetes. Metformin is in a class of drugs called biguanides.
How does Metformin work?
Metformin helps to control the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood. It decreases the amount of glucose you absorb from your food and the amount of glucose made by your liver. Metformin also increases your body’s response to insulin, a natural substance that controls the amount of glucose in the blood.
Can Metformin be used in type 1 diabetes?
No. Metformin is not used to treat type 1 diabetes since in type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin and therefore Metformin cannot be used.
Can I take Metformin if I PCOS?
Poly-Cystic Ovaries is a condition caused by insulin resistance that may affect their overall health and appearance. PCOS is also a common and treatable cause of infertility. Metformin is often prescribed to treat PCOS as it can help with insulin resistance in conjunction with a low carb diet and weight loss.
How much weight can I lose on Metformin?
Metformin is a very strong weight loss or diet medication but can help with a little bit of weight loss. In a 6-month case control study, patients with a BMI of 27 kg/m2 or higher and an average A1c of 5.6% received metformin with a dose based on their BMI. The average weight loss over 6 months was 5.8 ± 7.0 kg, with a range of –35 kg to +13 kg. About 20% of the patients treated with metformin lost no weight.
I do not have diabetes, can still take Metformin?
Yes, if you have any of the other indications such as insulin resistance, polycystic ovaries, prediabetes or fatty liver disease.
Is Metformin safe to take if I do not have diabetes?
Yes. Since Metformin does not usually cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), it can be taken even if you do not have type 2 diabetes.
Can Metformin be used to reduce insulin resistance?
Yes. Treating insulin resistance is one of the common reasons Metformin is prescribed.
How should Metformin be taken?
Metformin comes as a liquid, a tablet, and an extended-release (long-acting) tablet to take by mouth. The liquid is usually taken with meals one or two times a day. The regular tablet is usually taken with meals two or three times a day. The extended-release tablet is usually taken once daily with the evening meal.
How is Metformin dose titrated?
Your doctor may start you on a low dose of metformin and gradually increase your dose not more often than once every 1–2 weeks. You will need to monitor your blood sugar carefully so your doctor will be able to tell how well metformin is working.
Can Metformin cure diabetes?
No. Metformin controls diabetes but does not cure it. Continue to take metformin even if you feel well. Do not stop taking metformin without talking to your doctor.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking metformin,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to metformin, any of the ingredients of metformin liquid or tablets, or any other medications. Ask your pharmacist or check the manufacturer’s patient information for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had any medical condition, especially those mentioned in the IMPORTANT WARNING section.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while taking metformin, call your doctor.
- tell your doctor if you eat less or exercise more than usual. This can affect your blood sugar. Your doctor will give you instructions if this happens.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Metformin should be used in conjunction with a low carbohydrate diet under the supervision of a trained obesity medicine, metabolic medicine or endocrinology physician. Be sure to follow all exercise and dietary recommendations made by your doctor or dietitian. It is important to eat a healthful diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose of Metformin?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
This medication may cause changes in your blood sugar. You should know the symptoms of low and high blood sugar and what to do if you have these symptoms.
Metformin may cause side effects.
- stomach pain
- unpleasant metallic taste in mouth
- flushing of the skin
- nail changes
- muscle pain
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately or get emergency treatment:
- chest pain
Metformin may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
What should I do in case of emergency/overdose?
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222.. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include hypoglycemia symptoms as well as the following:
- extreme tiredness
- stomach pain
- decreased appetite
- deep, rapid breathing
- shortness of breath
- abnormally fast or slow heartbeat
- flushing of the skin
- muscle pain
- feeling cold
What other information should I know?
Your doctor will tell you how to check your response to this medication by measuring your blood sugar levels at home. Follow these instructions carefully.
If you are taking the extended-release tablets, you may notice something that looks like a tablet in your stool. This is just the empty tablet shell, and this does not mean that you did not get your complete dose of medication.
You should always wear a diabetic identification bracelet to be sure you get proper treatment in an emergency.
Do not let anyone else take your medication.
Metformin Brand names
Metformin brand names of combination products
- Actoplus Met® (containing Metformin, Pioglitazone)
- Avandamet® (containing Metformin, Rosiglitazone)
- Invokamet® (containing Canagliflozin, Metformin)
- Janumet® (containing Metformin, Sitagliptin)
- Jentadueto® (containing Linagliptin, Metformin)
- Kazano® (containing Alogliptin, Metformin)
- Kombiglyze® XR (containing Metformin, Saxagliptin)
- Metaglip® (containing Glipizide, Metformin)
- Prandimet® (containing Metformin, Repaglinide)
- Segluromet® (containing Ertugliflozin, Metformin)
- Synjardy® (containing Empagliflozin, Metformin)
- Xigduo® XR (containing Dapagliflozin, Metformin)
Where can I find a doctor that can prescribe Metformin for me?
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