So what’s the deal when it comes to metformin? We are all aware of the great job it does when it comes to helping type 2 diabetics better control their blood sugars and studies are even beginning to show that it can actually help you live longer compared to those without the disease, but what about the negative side effects? We were discussing on my Facebook page the other day about the long term side effects, so lets take a closer look!
What Is Metformin?
So what does metformin actually do?
Metformin is used alone or with other medications, including insulin, to treat type 2 diabetes (just to recap, a condition in which the body does not use insulin normally and, therefore, cannot control the amount of sugar in the blood). Metformin is in a class of drugs called biguanides. It 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 hormone that controls the amount of glucose in the blood. I’m also beginning to see where metformin is used in addition to insulin to treat type 1 diabetes (again to recap, a condition in which the body does not produce insulin and therefore cannot control the amount of sugar in the blood) and fellow type 1 diabetics are actually gaining better control when introducing metformin to their regular treatment plan.
Metformin has been show to be a great/effective treatment option for helping control ones blood sugar, but what about the associated side effects that some experience? Lets continue reading.
Metformin And Lactic Acidosis:
Although rare, lactic acidosis is potentially the most serious of the side effects. The uptake of lactate by the liver is effected in a negative way. If the kidneys do not process the excess lactate the blood of the patient will acidify which can lead to a whole slew of problems. Most of which are similar to the feeling one gets after an intense workout. For example: anxiety, hyperventilation, irregular heart rate nausea and in some cases vomiting. This is the reason that it is generally only prescribed to people with a healthy kidney function. This side effect is potentially lethal and when you experience any of the symptoms you should immediately contact your doctor or a local hospital.
Metformin And Hypoglycemia:
Since the primary role is to reduce high levels of blood sugar, it has the potential to lower glucose below what is considered the normal levels. With minimal amounts of glucose in the bloodstream weakness, dizziness, shaking and sweating are all signs of low blood sugar. In a situation in which a person feels some or all these symptoms, they must raise the blood sugar immediately to avoid complications such as coma. Therefore, individual need to always have available hard candy or natural juice or glucose tabs to counter this side effect.
Metformin And Renal Impairment:
Metformin is excreted from the body through the kidneys, therefore, those with renal disease may experience a build-up of this drug due to renal impairment. Also, this drug may produce adverse reactions in those with liver impairment. Both conditions have the potential to produce lactic acidosis. Therefore, individuals with a history of kidney or liver disease may not be good candidates for this therapy, which makes it essential that one supplies the prescribing physician with as accurate a medical history as possible.
Additional Side Effects:
- Trouble Breathing
- Severe Inflammation of the Nose
- Incomplete or Infrequent Bowel Movements
- Toenail Disease
- Muscle Pain
- Flu-Like Symptoms
- Excessive Sweating
- Temporary Redness of Face and Neck
- Heart Throbbing or Pounding
This information should only be used for educational purposes and is in no way a substitute for the expertise and judgment of a healthcare professional. This article is in no way intended to cover all potential uses and adverse effects, so if you have any health related questions, or questions about metformin in particular you should immediately contact your health practitioner.
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