Uses Of Metformin And Its Side Effects

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metformin side effects

Metformin drug must be prescribed by the doctor; you can only purchase it if you have a prescription from the doctor. Its brand name is Glucophage whereas Metformin HCL is the generic name. Avoid prescribing the drugs to your friends to prevent side effects to this medicaiton, although they have the same symptoms that you have. Instead, they should consult the doctor since the drug has been specifically prescribed for you. The drug is available in the form of a tablet, tablet extended release or solution (liquid). As you take the drug, you will experience negative effects.


Side Effects


Continue reading to know and get a clear explanation of negative effects. The medication is used to:

Normally, the doctor will start you off on Metformin 500 mg or 850 mg which you will take two times daily and once daily respectively. Since the medication can cause unwanted effects, always have contacts to call your doctor. If need be, the doctor will increase the dosage.


Metformin and Diabetes


Metformin is used by men and women to treat type 2 diabetes and they are at risk of experiencing. The doctor can give you a regular tablet to take twice or thrice daily but with meals. If you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it means your body doesn’t utilize insulin properly. You are said to be insulin resistance because your liver and cells don’t respond to high levels of glucose in the blood. They are insensitive to insulin. Insulin hormone is produced by the pancreas. Insulin aids your cells to convert glucose to energy. The body receives energy from the foods you take. Your cells don’t make use of insulin and the pancreases make more insulin to aid the cells to get glucose. However, the sugars accumulate in your body since the pancreas is unable to keep up. This is where this medication comes in to regulate the sugar in your blood. It can be prescribed alone or together with other drugs and you can experience undesired effects. The drug works in two ways:

  • Reducing the amount of glucose the liver produces and as a result, the levels of glucose in the blood are lowered.
  • Reduce the quantity of glucose absorbed by your body from the food you consume to aid the body to respond to insulin to keep blood glucose levels in control.

Due to the risk of complications and negative effects from this medication occurring, the doctor will closely monitor your progress. The undesirable effects are innumerable. They range from common, rare, severe, serious and long-term side effects.


The common negative effects include:


  • Diarrhea

It occurs in the initial stages but it will go away as your body becomes used to the drug. Diarrhea occurs mainly at night. If it’s necessary the doctor may give you drugs or starts you on a small dose to improve diarrhea.

  • Nausea and vomiting

Nausea is a disturbing urge to vomit. Eating becomes a challenge. However, to deal with nausea, talk to your doctor to advise you on the drug to take to ease nausea. If a solution is not found, you will experience nausea, vomiting; you will throw up anything that you eat.

  • Stomach pain

You will experience it at the onset of the treatment, but may stop once you get used to the drug.

  • Gas

Metformin interrupts your digestive system, leading to gas production. Like other undesired effects, gas will reduce on its own. If you take other drugs to relieve it, the drugs cause your body to produce more gas, making the situation worse.

  • Indigestion

Indigestion will improve after some weeks of taking this medication, but if it continues, the doctor will give remedies or drugs to help you.

  • Headaches

It is an indication that your body is allergic to some ingredients. Talk to your pharmacist or about it.

  • Metallic taste

If you have a metallic taste, you will not look forward to meal time. As with other unwanted effects of the medication, metallic taste will resolve with time.

  • Weight loss

It’s believed that the drug reduces your appetite, thus you ate less.  Also, diarrhea makes you lose more weight. As you take these tablets, you will lose weight gradually. If concerned about Metformin and weight loss side effects don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about your concerns.

  • Constipation

The drug leads to constipation. Constipation is having difficulties during bowel movements and you pass hard stool infrequently. To alleviate constipation, increase fluid intake, preferably water, eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains and go for walks on a regular basis. The tips will assist a lot. Your doctor is a call away to offer medical advice on Metformin and constipation and prescribe laxatives if the natural methods don’t work.


Negative Effects in PCOS


The following symptoms/ characteristics of PCOS

  • Irregular periods
  • High levels of androgens (male hormones)
  • Polycystic ovaries

If you have PCOS you can be resistant to insulin hormone, as previously discussed, it is referred to as insulin resistance. You will need higher levels of insulin to have sugar levels in your blood within the normal range; higher levels of insulin results in androgen production in excess. This drug comes in to deal with insulin resistance. As you take the medication, you can experience negative effects, which are identical to diabetes medicine side effects.


PCOS puts you at a risk of, excess weight gain, which can make you obese, too much body hair and develop type II diabetes. If you take this medication, you decrease the chances of getting type II diabetes. It is better to take precautions rather than having to deal with diabetes. Health professionals believe that to enjoy the benefits from Metformin, women with PCOS must exercise regularly and take healthy balanced meals. Although they will encounter Metformin side effects  in PCOS which includes previously discussed common negative effects.


It is advisable to take pills during meal times. Food aid in its absorption of Metformin in your stomach and minimizes unwanted effects. If you are new to the drug, ensure you take it during your largest meal and at the same time daily. Your healthcare provider will start you on 500 mg or 850 mg and will increase the medication slowly if he thinks it is important. If he gives you extended-release tablet, you will swallow it without chewing, crushing or splitting once daily in the evening. Your doctor will determine the length of the medication. If you take it for a long time, you can experience long-term negative effects.


Weight loss side effect for this drug can benefit obese women with PCOS. How is this possible? PCOS cause weight gain. When Metformin is administered, weight loss occurs due to loss of appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting eventually leading to weight loss. An obese woman benefits from these unwanted effects. However, not every woman will experience weight loss. So, don’t put all your hope on this drug to lose weight, instead, explore other alternatives.


Other Negative Effects


  • Hair loss

Medications used for diabetes lead to hair loss. Hair loss can be devastating. Diabetes and can lead to hair loss, even without taking any drugs, thus taking the drug deteriorates the effect. Medically, it hasn’t been proven, but women have evidenced hair loss from this drug. But don’t be paranoid by hair loss, once the blood levels are regulated and you stop taking the drug your hair will grow back. You can also seek other alternatives for Metformin and hair loss side effects, like wearing wigs or trying out drugs that can aid your hair to grow again

  • Depression

It is a less common negative effect. Research has proved that long-term use of this medicine can lead to depression, fatigue, breathlessness, and loss of appetite; all these are long-term negative effects. Depression is characterized by sadness. It’s advisable to seek medical attention on Metformin and depression side effects early enough before it becomes suicidal. The doctor can prescribe anti –depressants to deal with depression.

  • Skin rash

A skin rash affects the skin color and appearance. Skin rash is painful and itchy. Consult your doctor to give you the right medication for this unwanted effect to hinder skin rash from becoming unbearable.

  • Lactic acidosis

Lactic acidosis is an example of serious unwanted effects from the drug. Lactic acid is produced by muscles, brain, some tissues, and skin. If you have the condition, lactic acid accumulates in your blood. It can lead to death! If you had previously experienced it, don’t take pills. How can you detect lactic acidosis? It is characterized by symptoms like, tiredness, dizziness, stomach pains, nausea and vomiting and feeling weak. There are countless Metformin serious unwanted effects like lactic acidosis which can be fatal; though it can be treated once you visit the hospital immediately after detecting the side effects.

  • Anemia

It is extremely low levels of red blood cells. The drug may interfere with the vitamin B 12 levels and make the levels decrease, leading to anemia. You can deal with anemia by taking supplements and eating liver and green leafy vegetables. Anemia is dangerous and a solution must be sought such as stopping the medication. You have to consult the doctor first. If you stop taking the medication without involving the doctor, you can face negative effects of stopping Metformin for PCOS. But it’s not the case for vitamin B 12! Stopping this drug improves the levels of vitamin 12. In spite of that, the doctor must give you a go ahead before stopping the drug to avoid negative effects.


There you go; the above explained are side effects of Metformin in women and men. The drug undesired effects are not only limited to women with PCOS; they can affect anyone taking the drug regardless of your gender.


Negative Effects on Kidney


Your liver and kidney are not spared from Metformin side effects as you take it. Liver and kidneys play a crucial function in your body. But what are unwanted effects on your liver and kidney and is there a solution or prevention methods? To answer the question, have an overview of the roles of the kidneys and the liver. You have two kidneys, which are bean-shaped. The kidneys remove waste from your body; ensure there is balance of body fluids just to mention but a few functions. Kidneys get rid of this medication in the body. If the kidneys are not functioning as expected, you will face undesired effects. The levels of Metformin increase rapidly as the kidneys are not removing the medication; Metformin continues to accumulate. The situation exposes you to negative effect such as lactic acidosis. Furthermore, kidney problems no matter how mild they need to be evaluated by the doctor. If the doctor diagnosis you with mild kidney issues, he will start you on a small dose and check you regularly for any signs of negative effects on kidney. If he is satisfied with the function of the kidney, you will continue taking the dose, but your kidney function will be tested yearly before you continue using these pills the following year. For those with acute problems or aged 80 years, this medication is not suitable for them; if they take Metformin, they will have to deal with kidney damage.


A person with severe heart failure, this drug is not right for him/her. Still, if you are prone to heart attacks, the drug is not right for you as it exposes you to negative effects. What is the relationship between kidneys and heart? The heart pumps blood to your entire body. Heart attacks and heart failure can hinder the adequate supply of blood to the kidneys. Consequently, preventing the kidneys from getting rid of Metformin as they are supposed to; increasing the chances of getting lactic acidosis. If you have heart problems or kidney problems, before taking the drug , inform your doctor for him to take you through Metformin and kidney side effect for more clarity.


Negative Effects on Liver


Rarely, the medication triggers negative effects on liver like liver dysfunction. If you are healthy, your liver produces glucose to regulate blood sugar levels, more so at night while sleeping. The liver, for someone with diabetes type II, may have excessive blood sugar due to glucose production by the liver being out of control. This is when the physician prescribes Metformin, the drug exposes you to side effects. The drug inhibits important enzymes which signal your liver for glucose production. Thus, blood sugars decrease. Like the kidneys, liver excretes lactic acid though it converts a minimal amount of lactic acid to glucose. If the liver is not working well, lactic acid rises to dangerous levels bringing about lactic acidosis, lactic acid accumulates at a higher rate and the liver is unable to keep up with the speedy rate. The drug leads to liver problems as lactic acid accumulates to high levels. The parting shot is that liver detoxifies the blood and Metformin influences your liver positively decreasing glucose levels. On the other hand, the medication can affect how the liver functions provoking negative effects on the liver, compromising your health. Look out for liver toxicity signs like jaundice, fatigue and feeling weak while on Metformin and seek medical attention if need be.


Negative Effects with Alcohol


Are you an alcoholic and the doctor has prescribed Metformin and advised you to restrict from taking alcohol? If you have type II diabetes and on Metformin, alcohol intake has an impact symptoms of diabetes and can also prompt side effects. The drug interacts with alcohol leading to undesired effects, which can be fatal. What’s worse is that if you are a heavy drinker or drinks often, chances of unwanted effects increases. The physicians are cautious and will always recommend keeping away from alcohol intake while on this medicine.

Unwanted Effects Include

  • Hypoglycemia 
  • Lactic acidosis

As for lactic acidosis, it was elaborated in detail. Hypoglycemia is blood sugar which is extremely low and characterized by:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness

Therefore, avoid taking alcohol to avoid unwanted effects with alcohol. For addicts of alcohol, it’s difficult stopping alcohol intake immediately; you can take alcohol but in moderation. For a woman take only a single drink; as for men take only two drinks daily and follow the following guidelines:

  • Drink alcohol on a full stomach
  • If your blood sugar gets low, eat something first before taking alcohol
  • Drink a lot of water to keep your body hydrated as you take alcohol
  • Always check your blood sugar levels regularly

Remember, your doctor has the final say on alcohol consumption. He is aware of your history and an expert on alcohol and Metformin side effects, so follow what he says.


Sexual Negative Effects


Well, men are mainly the affected lot. Sexual dysfunction has been evidenced in males taking Metformin, especially above 60 years of age.


Overdose Negative Effects


At times, the patient may take an overdose of Metformin out of ignorance or by mistake exposing the patient to negative effects. It is important to follow the doctor’s prescription to avoid an overdose or an under dose. Contact your doctor in case of an overdose.


Unwanted Negative Effects of Overdose Include:


  • Lactic acidosis
  • Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)


Negative Effects in Pregnancy


Pregnancy is an awesome experience. Every woman wants a safe, healthy pregnancy that’s why you are concerned about pregnancy and Metformin. Bear in mind you used it to help in conception as you have PCOS. The good news is that you can take it during pregnancy to manage blood sugar levels. The drug is not related to birth defects or complications. Your doctor will advise you based on your medical history if are pregnant.


In Conclusion


To sum it all, you are equipped with information of Metformin side effects. It is a drug that has benefited many, although the effects are a reality, the benefits outweigh the negative effects.

Article Name
Uses Of Metformin And Its Side Effects
Metformin is available in the form of a tablet, tablet extended release or solution (liquid). As you take the drug, you will experience Metformin side effects.
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Fertility Drugs Online
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