Type 2 Diabetes

Metformin- An Oral Medication For Type 2 Diabetes


Metformin is an oral medication that is used to treat Type 2 diabetes. This medicine is either used alone or in conjunction with other medicines. Metformin is available under various trade names such as Fortamet, Glumetza, Glucophage and Riomet. This drug has been approved by the FDA as a type 2 diabetes treating medication.

How does it work?

Metformin may not bring down your blood sugar levels directly like insulin, but it does work in several ways to help stabilize them. Firstly, it reduces the amount of glucose absorbed by the blood. It also brings down the glucose produced by the liver. Furtheron, Metformin also increases the body's response to insulin, which in turn aids in stabilizing blood sugar levels.

Are there any other uses of Metformin?
Though Metformin is essentially a blood sugar lowering medicine, it has several off label uses as well. It is used for weight loss, polycystic ovary syndrome, and HIV lipodystrophy syndrome.

Is it safe?
Like almost every medication, Metformin too comes with its own fair share of side effects. It can cause headache, cough, muscle pain, bloating and gas. This medicine can also cause serious side effects such as seizures, vomiting, dry mouth or unconsciousness. However, these side effects are caused only if Metformin is inadequate for blood sugar control. If you experience any of these symptoms, then seeking immediate medical attention is a must.

In rare cases, this medication can cause lactic acidosis. This problem is characterized by extreme buildup of lactic acid in the blood stream. If left untreated, lactic acidosis can even lead to multiple organ failure and cardiac arrest. This problem is generally characterized by fatigue, muscle pain, shortness of breath and sudden weakness.

How to use?

Typically, this medication is supposed to be taken twice daily along with food. If you miss a dose, then take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is time for the next dose, then you may skip a particular dose altogether. Make sure that you never take a double dose to make up for a missed dose. It is important that you take this medication as per the recommendation of your health care provider.

Can I use Metformin?

This drug is meant for people suffering from type 2 diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes should strictly refrain from using it. Also, if you are suffering from kidney disease or kidney failure, then you should not use this medicine at all. Since Metformin is a prescription drug, it should only be taken under the surveillance of your health care practitioner.