Metformin Side Effects – Common and Rare

Metformin Sde Effects

Metformin is considered a first line anti diabetic drug that falls into a class of medications called biguanides. It is especially used in certain types of people such as those that are obese or overweight, as well as people who have normally functioning kidneys. However, Metformin side effects have made its use in other individuals (like persons with gestational diabetes) much less common.

Metformin is one of the most common of all prescribed diabetes medications. Like many other drugs like it, it works to reduce the amount of sugar the body absorbs from food while at the same time also preventing the liver from producing as much glucose. In persons with Type 2 diabetes, these processes can help promote more normal blood sugar levels in otherwise healthy people, leading to the drug’s many successes and continued use. Metformin also helps the body respond to the insulin that it is manufacturing more effectively, which is important in terms of combating insulin resistance. However, there are some serious Metformin side effects to consider, despite the drug’s continued ranking among the most frequently prescribed diabetes medications.

Most of the time, adverse reactions from taking the drug are gastrointestinal in nature. Persons may experience common Metformin side effects like abdominal cramping, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and an increase in gassiness. While many anti diabetic medications lead to gastrointestinal reactions, there are more of them attributed to Metformin, and more frequently as well. These Metformin side effects occur most frequently when people start taking the medication, and may gradually diminish over time. However, it is worth noting that some gastrointestinal Metformin side effects can be severe and very uncomfortable. This has led to some people who experience these adverse effects instead starting with lower medication doses and then gradually increasing intake.

Most Metformin side effects are mild and people tend to experience them less and less over time. Unfortunately, one rare potentially serious side effect of the medication is a risk that people taking the drug must be aware of, called lactic acidosis, can and does occur. This condition relates to the blood and tissues of the body developing low pH levels in conjunction with higher than normal levels of lactate. Although treatable through corrective measures of the underlying causes, it is worth noting that lactic acidosis is actually related to rigor mortis. The defining characteristics of lactic acidosis are quite complicated, but in short, it describes a situation in which there is more lactic acid in the blood than can be reasonably removed as a result of a drop in blood oxygen levels.

Things as benign as exercise can cause lactic acidosis and drugs are not the only or even most common cause. However, there is a distinct relationship between certain types of drugs made for blood sugar levels high enough to need control and development of the condition. Metformin side effects today are well known and most people understand them and the risk of lactic acidosis before taking the medication. What most people do not know is that Metformin actually came second to another similar drug used to bring down blood sugar levels high enough to cause symptoms, called Phenformin. Declared a health hazard in the mid 1970’s following 20 years of use, the drug was pulled and replaced by Metformin due to the incidents of lactic acidosis that occurred.

Lactic acidosis is very rare in people taking Metformin, and is estimated to affect fewer than 1 in 10,000 people using the drug. Other very rare side effects that affect a similar number of people taking the medicine include skin reactions and a reduction in the amount of B12 that the body absorbs. More commonly encountered than these Metformin side effects but still ten times less common than gastrointestinal ailments is a change in the sensation of taste, which as many as 1 in every 100 people or more experience. This change, one of the more unusual Metformin side effects, results in a metallic taste in the mouth.

Taking medications is a commonality for people who have Type 2 diabetes. But, when combined with natural diabetes treatment such as dieting, exercising and incorporating vitamins, minerals and herbal remedies, many people find that they are able to reduce the need for or reduce the dosage of certain medicines, such as Metformin. For people concerned about the risk of side effects from taking the medication, figuring out how to lower blood sugar levels naturally is one of the best options and can lead to better overall health.

Regardless of treatment type, Type 2 diabetes facts tell us that the reason why the now common condition is becoming so well managed and so much better tolerated is because of quality, regular medical care and support, combined with diligent home monitoring using testing devices and a blood sugar levels chart. Understanding the condition and how it affects each individual personally provides the most useful information for treating it. A blood sugar levels chart can show the success of both diet and exercise habits as well as medications like Metformin. But, not one of these components alone is effective without appropriate medical guidance from a supportive and knowledgeable physician.

References:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metformin
https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000391.htm
http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/27/7/1791

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