Metformin is a drug that is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat Type 2 diabetes. This medication decreases hepatic glucose production as well as GLUCOSE absorption and thus increases the target cell’s insulin sensitivity.
This medicine is also used as a treatment for weight loss, which is an adjunct to diet. It helps by improving the glycemic, i.e. the blood sugar level in people with Type 2 diabetes.
This Type 2 diabetes, which is also known as Non-insulin-dependent diabetes, is the most common form of diabetes, in which the body does not process an adequate amount of insulin, which in turn elevates the amount of blood sugar levels in the body.
People who are overweight, obese, or not physically active are most likely to get type 2 diabetes.
Metformin And A Best Diet – Boosts Weight Loss!
According to a recent study, it is confirmed that metformin has helped people lose weight. But there is no specific study on how it works in the weight loss process. However, if someone isn’t following healthy food habits, then taking metformin will not be helpful.
Now there arises a question,
Can people without Type 2 diabetes consume this drug?
And the answer is “Yes”.
Doctor Alexander explains that you can use this medication for weight management, which is said to decrease the body mass index in both adolescents and adults. But anyhow you have to limit your intake of processed food and include protein-rich food in your diet.
How To Know If Metformin Is Working?
The efficacy of metformin can be checked with the help of the A1C test.
With the help of this test, you will be able to find your blood glucose level over the past 12 weeks, which means you have to wait for at least 3 months after the start of metformin to check if it has a positive effect on you. But many people may start feeling the effect after having metformin for the next 48 hours.
Doctors often prescribe the medicine with an initial dosage of about 500 mg taken one tab a day and gradually increase the dosage to about 1500 mg checking on its efficacy on people. And then a significant decline in blood sugar levels can be noticed and thus changes can be seen.
Things That Should Be Avoided While Taking Metformin
Metformin should not be taken by people having certain allergies. It may rarely cause a serious life-threatening disease called LACTIC ACIDOSIS.
Your doctor may ask you not to take this drug when you have a kidney problem. People who have had a heart attack, stroke, diabetic ketoacidosis, liver disease, or coma are also at high risk of taking this medicine.
There are also certain medications that should be avoided while taking metformin or else chances are high that it may pave the way for lactic acidosis. You have to tell your doctor and stop using metformin if you have severe diarrhea, vomiting, or fever.
If you are having surgery or if you have to take an X-ray in which dye is injected into your body, or if you have had alcohol in large amounts, do not forget to tell your doctor and continue the treatment after 48 hours of not having the medicine.
Metformin should also be stopped if you are feeling nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, decreased appetite, difficulty in breathing, dizziness, slow or fast heartbeat, muscle pain, feeling cold, especially in the hand and foot, extreme tiredness, or discomfort.
Alcoholic people should also be taken care of because they have high chances of getting Lactic acidosis which may cause a decrease in blood sugar.
The medicines that should be avoided along with metformin are as follows:
Clear and honest communication with you and your doctor or health care team can help you both make informed choices about your health.
Side Effects And Risks Of Metformin
Along with its bright side, metformin also has some side effects. The most common side effect of metformin is stomach trouble. About 25% of people have side effects like bloating, gas trouble, diarrhea, constipation, and low appetite. But that doesn’t require any immediate medical attention.
In most cases, these side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Have an immediate talk with your doctor if you feel fast, irregular, pounding, or lower heartbeat or pulse and also if you feel difficulty in breathing.
Anxiety, depression, confusion, nervousness, nightmares, slurred speech, restless speech, or overjoying are also other side effects of using metformin.
Lack of vitamin B is usually common in everyone but the risk is higher for people taking metformin and it may even lead to a disease called Peripheral neuropathy which makes you anemic and later lowers your red blood cells.
Take a routine checkup and do not wait for the symptoms to show.
Above all, as we said earlier lactic acidosis is the serious side effect of having metformin. The problem is very rare and it happens to only a tiny fraction of people. But once affected it is even life-threatening.
Lactic acidosis is most likely to happen if you are an alcoholic or if you have serious kidney or liver disease, or if you have had a heart attack.
Now, how to manage metformin side effects?
Some side effects may go off on their own. There are a few ways you can avoid problems with the other. Always take the medicine after having the meal. You can have it on an empty stomach, but chances are high that it may further lead to a stomach upset.
Start having the medicine with a lower dose. i.e 500 mg tablet a day. Gradually you can increase the dosage as your body starts adjusting to it.
Average Weight Loss With Metformin
Metformin helps you slenderize your weight, but it is not a quick-fix miracle diet drug. It is more likely that people taking metformin may reduce their weight gradually over a long time.
Weight loss is not possible if you still follow unhealthy food habits. Low-carbohydrate, rich protein food should be added to your diet, and also processed food should be completely avoided.
According to the Diabetes Care Study, the average weight you shed during a year is just 2-3 kg which is not as you expected.
However, it is also said that you will regain your weight if you stop using the drug. And so the long-term weight loss success is not permanent for metformin as it depends on the lifestyle of people.
Metformin helps people reduce their weight. Both diabetic and nondiabetic people can take this drug, but only under doctors’ prescription. However, it is not known why it causes weight loss. One of the side effects of having metformin includes loss of appetite and this may be a reason for the weight loss.
Anyhow, this is not a quick-fix solution for weight loss. You would have to wait for 1 to 2 years for showing up significant changes in your body. Also, it may vary from person to person and as we said earlier, a healthy lifestyle keeps you fit, energetic, and at reduced risk for disease. According to the World Health Organization, healthy living is a way of living that helps you enjoy more aspects of life.
Most Frequently Asked Questions:
Metformin is not insulin and does not lower your blood sugar as insulin does. Metformin is an oral drug that is taken in a dosage of 500mg to about 1500mg daily as prescribed by the doctor, whereas insulin is a subcutaneous injection that is taken daily.
Generally speaking, metformin is considered safe. ADA recommends metformin as the first treatment to be used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Yes, you can have alcohol while taking metformin but not more than 2 units a day. Drinking more may put you in trouble and there are chances of having a disease called lactic acidosis.
No, this will not affect your emergency contraception. But you should consult your doctor to reduce the dosage of metformin while taking contraceptive pills because contraceptive pills make changes in how your body manages your sugar levels.