Metformin side effects


Metformin side effects :
a look at Purpose, Interactions and Warnings

Metformin is used alone or with other medications, including insulin, to treat type 2 (noninsulin-dependent) diabetes. Metformin 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 substance that controls the amount of glucose in the blood. Metformin is not used to treat type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes.

Special Warning about Metformin side effects

According to The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP),"Metformin may rarely cause a serious, life-threatening condition called lactic acidosis. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had a heart attack; stroke; high blood pressure; diabetic ketoacidosis ( blood sugar that is high enough to cause severe symptoms and requires emergency medical treatment) or coma; surgery to remove part of your small intestine; anemia (not enough red blood cells), or heart, kidney, lung, or liver disease.Tell your doctor if you have recently had any of the following conditions, or if you develop them during treatment: serious infection; severe diarrhea, vomiting, or fever; or if you drink much less fluid than usual for any reason. You may have to stop taking metformin until you recover.If you are having surgery, including dental surgery, any x-ray procedure in which dye is injected, or any major medical procedure, tell the doctor that you are taking metformin. You may need to stop taking metformin before the procedure and wait 48 hours to restart treatment. Your doctor will tell you exactly when you should stop taking metformin and when you should start taking it again."

Metformin side effects and interactions

Drinking alcohol may cause very low blood sugar. Discuss this with your health care team. Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This especially includes nonprescription medicines such as aspirin, and medicines for appetite control, asthma, colds, cough, hay fever, or sinus problems. Other family members need to learn how to prevent Metformin side effects or help with side effects if they occur. Counseling on birth control and pregnancy may be needed because of the problems that can occur in pregnancy for patients with diabetes. If you travel, carry a recent prescription and your medical history. Be prepared for an emergency as you would normally. Make allowances for changing time zones, but keep your meal times as close as possible to your usual meal times. There may be a time when you need emergency help for a problem caused by your diabetes. You need to be prepared for these emergencies. It is a good idea to wear a medical identification (I.D.) bracelet or neck chain at all times. Also, carry an I.D. card in your wallet or purse that says that you have diabetes and a list of all of your medicines. Have a glucagon kit available in case severe low blood sugar occurs. Check and replace any expired kits regularly. Keep some kind of quick-acting sugar handy to treat low blood sugar. If you are scheduled to have surgery or medical tests that involve x-rays, you should tell your doctor that you are taking metformin . Your doctor will instruct you to stop taking metformin until at least 2 days after the surgery or medical tests. During this time, if your blood sugar cannot be controlled by diet and exercise, you may be advised to take insulin.

Metformin side effects from an overdose, under certain conditions, can cause lactic acidosis. Symptoms of lactic acidosis are severe and quick to appear and usually occur when other health problems not related to the medicine are present and are very severe, such as a heart attack or kidney failure. Symptoms include diarrhea, fast and shallow breathing, severe muscle pain or cramping, unusual sleepiness, and unusual tiredness or weakness.

If symptoms of lactic acidosis occur, you should check your blood sugar and get immediate emergency medical help. Also, tell your doctor if severe vomiting occurs.

Too much metformin also can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) when it is used under certain conditions. Symptoms of low blood sugar must be treated before they lead to unconsciousness (passing out). Different people may feel different symptoms of low blood sugar. It is important that you learn which symptoms of low blood sugar you usually have so that you can treat it quickly and call someone on your health care team right away when you need advice.

Symptoms of low blood sugar can include: anxious feeling, behavior change similar to being drunk, blurred vision, cold sweats, confusion, cool pale skin, difficulty in concentrating, drowsiness, excessive hunger, fast heartbeat, headache, nausea, nervousness, nightmares, restless sleep, shakiness, slurred speech, and unusual tiredness or weakness.

Observed Metformin side effects

Along with its needed effects, there may be unwanted Metformin side effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if the following side effect occurs:

Rarely Observed

Lactic acidosis (quick and severe), including diarrhea, fast shallow breathing, muscle pain or cramping, unusual sleepiness, unusual tiredness or weakness.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if the following Metformin side effect occurs:

Rarely Observed

Low blood sugar (mild), including anxious feeling, behavior change similar to being drunk, blurred vision, cold sweats, confusion, cool pale skin, difficulty in concentrating, drowsiness, excessive hunger, fast heartbeat, headache, nausea, nervousness, nightmares, restless sleep, shakiness, slurred speech.

Other Metformin side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

More Commonly Observed

Loss of appetite; metallic taste in mouth; passing of gas; stomachache; vomiting; weight loss.

Other Metformin side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

Sources : The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and the United States Pharmacopeia (USP)


There are alternatives to enduring Metformin side effects.
More information here.


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