Metformin lowers the blood sugar to help insulin work correctly within the body. The pancreas produces insulin, a hormone which aids the body to use or store the energy contained in glucose (sugars). In type 2 diabetes the insulin produced by the body cannot work effectively, causing high blood sugar. Metformin helps to regulate this process.
Metformin acts by increasing the sensitivity of muscle cells to insulin, allowing the body to absorb and use sugar. It also slows down the production of sugar in the liver, slowing down the rate it is absorbed into the bloodstream from the intestine. It has the effect of regulating and controlling the level of sugar in the blood.
Metformin is a quick acting medicine which will start to work in the first 48 hours after beginning the medication. In some cases it can take 4-5 days to kick in. Metformin Slow Release has a gradual effect and is slowly released into the bloodstream.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is thought to affect one in five women. It causes irregular ovulation, overproduction of male hormones and enlarged ovaries. The condition can make it difficult to get pregnant and may also produce excess body hair, cause the hair to thin, acne and oily skin. It's very common for women with PCOS to have high insulin levels, with a risk of developing diabetes later in life. Metformin helps to regulate the level of insulin in the blood but it also works to regulate ovulation and regulate the menstrual cycle. Metformin is an off-label treatment for PCOS and is not usually given in the first instance unless you already have, or show signs of, diabetes.
Please note: Dr Felix only provides a repeat supply of Metformin for patients with type 2 diabetes. If you need Metformin for PCOS, please speak to your GP.
Metformin is predominantly a treatment for type 2 diabetes and works well to control the blood sugar and manage the condition alongside a healthy diet and exercise. It is prescribed for people with type 2 diabetes for which diet and exercise alone has proven to be inefficient in managing their diabetes.
Metformin is the most commonly prescribed medication for type 2 diabetes and has proven to be very effective in managing the condition. Studies have shown that patients who are prescribed Metformin in the first instance are unlikely to need additional treatments to control their blood sugar.
Metformin hydrochloride is the active ingredient in the medication.
The inactive ingredients are candelilla wax, cellulose acetate, hypromellose, magnesium stearate, polyethylene glycols (PEG 400, PEG 8000), polysorbate 80, povidone, sodium lauryl sulfate, synthetic black iron oxides, titanium dioxide and triacetin.
Please Note: Different generic brands of Metformin may contain different inactive ingredients.
Always follow your doctor's instructions on how to take Metformin as the dose will vary depending on the severity of your symptoms. You should take Metformin with or after food. Swallow the tablet whole with a full glass of water. It's common to start out on a low dose and have it gradually increased over the course of a couple of weeks.
It's best to take Metformin with or after a meal as this helps to reduce the side effects associated with the medication. Taking it on an empty stomach makes it more likely to cause nausea.
Common side effects include:
Rare side effect may include:
Metformin is not suitable for everyone. Consult your doctor if any of the following apply to you:
Certain medications may interfere with Metformin. If you are taking any of the following then your blood sugar may need to be monitored more regularly:
If you are taking any other medicines, including herbal remedies, then always inform your doctor to ensure that they won't interact with Metformin.
If you experience nausea then you may be prescribed a smaller dose to begin with, which will increase gradually over a couple of weeks. This gives your body a chance to get used with the medicine. Take Metformin with food and drink frequent sips of water, especially if you experience vomiting and diarrhea. Sugar-free gum can help to reduce a metallic taste in the mouth.
Hypoglycaemia, low blood sugar, is a possible side effect of taking Metformin. This is uncommon however and more likely to occur when Metformin is combined with other medications. Feeling dizzy, tired and hungry are signs that your blood sugar is low, although the symptoms may vary from person to person.
Metformin will not affect the contraceptive pill. However, if you are starting the pill while taking Metformin then inform your doctor as your dose may need to be adjusted.
You can drink alcohol while taking Metformin but it is advised not to exceed the recommended daily intake as alcohol can cause your blood sugar to drop too low. Avoiding drinking alcohol on an empty stomach can help.
Metformin is safe to use during pregnancy and for women who are breastfeeding.
Metformin has not been shown to have a significant impact on your blood pressure. The medication targets your blood sugar levels but it is possible for it to lower the blood pressure slightly.
Metformin SR is a slow release version of Metformin. It may be more suitable for individuals who experience side effects with the standard medicine. With the slow release tablet, Metformin is released gradually into the bloodstream. It has less of a fast acting effect and you'll take it less often.
Diaformin is a brand of Metformin, containing the active ingredient Metformin hydrochloride.
Metformin is one of the most effective treatments for diabetes and is usually prescribed in the first instance when a balanced diet and exercise are not enough to control your condition. If the combination of Metformin and diet and exercise is not proving effective to control your blood sugar then you may be prescribed an additional medication. Other types of treatment for type 2 diabetes include: sulfonylureas, meglitinides, thiazolidinediones, DPP-4 inhibitors, GLP-1 receptor agonists, SGLT2 inhibitors and insulin therapy. Certain medications will be more suitable for people with other conditions such as heart, liver or kidney problems. Insulin therapy is usually given as a last resort when other treatments have not worked.
Lifestyle factors can help greatly in managing your blood sugar in type 2 diabetes. Eating a healthy diet is important and getting regular exercise is also beneficial. Maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking and cutting down on alcohol are all positive changes which you can make.
Metformin is most effective when taken alongside a healthy diet and regular activity. The foods you eat can have an affect on your blood sugar, causing it to spike. For example, switching to whole grain pasta and bread instead of white carbohydrates. Smoking and large amounts of alcohol can also have an adverse affect on your insulin levels. Sticking to two units of alcohol each day is recommended.
Type 2 Diabetes is when the body does not produce enough insulin to effectively regulate blood sugar levels, which can be controlled by the use of Metformin and making lifestyle changes. With type 1 diabetes the body does not produce any insulin and therefore those suffering with type 1 diabetes require regular insulin injections to treat their illness.
Metformin helps to manage type 2 diabetes to allow you to live your life to the full. It's not a cure as it is usually taken for life.
Metformin is safe for long term use provided it is taken correctly and you follow the directions given by your doctor. The medication is not suitable for everyone, for example if you have liver, kidney or heart problems. Your doctor will assess your medical history and symptoms to determine if the medicine is safe for you to use.
Metformin is safe for long-term use. It has been designed to be taken in this manner in order to successfully control your blood sugar and manage your diabetes.
You may need to stop taking Metformin several days before you are scheduled to have surgery. Your doctor will advise you on the steps to take to prepare for surgery.
Metformin is sometimes prescribed to help women with PCOS. As the medication lowers and controls the blood sugar and insulin levels, this helps ovulation to occur, in turn regulating the menstrual cycle.