A popular oral drug for dealing with Type 2 diabetes. Metformin (trademark name Glucophage, Glucophage XR, Glumetza, Riomet) belongs to a class of drugs called biguanides that helps lower blood glucose levels by improving the way the body manages insulin; particularly, by avoiding the liver from making excess glucose and by making muscle and fat cells more conscious offered insulin.
Metformin Effects on Body
Metformin not just reduces blood glucose levels, which in the long term reduces the risk of diabetic complications, but it also lowers blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels and does not cause weight gain the way insulin and some other oral blood-glucose-lowering drugs do. Obese, high cholesterol, and high triglyceride levels all increase the risk of developing heart disease, the leading cause of death in individuals with Type 2 diabetes. Another benefit of metformin is that it does not cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) when it is the only diabetes medication taken. Metformin is usually taken 2 to 3 times a day, with meals. The extended-release formula (Glucophage XR) is taken as soon as a day, with the evening meal.
The most common side effects of metformin are nausea and diarrhea, which usually disappear with time. A more serious side effect is a rare however potentially fatal condition called lactic acidosis, where alarmingly high levels of lactic acid develop in the bloodstream. Lactic acidosis is more than likely to occur in people with kidney disease, liver disease, or congestive heart failure, or in those who drink alcohol regularly. (If you have more than 4 alcoholic drinks a week, metformin might not be the best medication for you.) Regrettably, numerous physicians neglect these contraindications (conditions that make a particular treatment inadvisable) and prescribe metformin to people at increased risk for lactic acidosis. The early symptoms of lactic acidosis consist of uncommon tiredness, queasiness, vomiting, anorexia nervosa, muscle pain, and breathing problems. If you experience any of these symptoms while taking metformin, be sure to call your doctor simultaneously. Metformin therapy must be stopped at least 48 hours prior to surgery and resumed only when you are consuming generally again.
Metformin altered the landscape of diabetes treatment when the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized it for marketing in 1994. At the time, there were just two other types of medicine available in the United States for dealing with Type 2 diabetes: insulin and sulfonlyureas, a class of oral drugs that lowers blood glucose by promoting the pancreas to produce more insulin. Because metformin was approved in the United States, a number of other classes of diabetes medications have actually pertained to the market that lower blood sugar levels through a range of mechanisms. These include alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, which slow the absorption of carb in the small intestine, triggering a slower increase in blood sugar level after meals; thiazolidinediones, which boost insulin level of sensitivity; meglitinides, which promote fast insulin secretion from the pancreas after meals by a different mechanism than that of older sulfonylureas; GLP-1 agonists, which delay stomach emptying and promote insulin secretion; DPP-4 inhibitors, which enhance insulin secretion and hold-up stomach clearing; amylin analogs, which sluggish stomach emptying, reduce glucagon, and reduce cravings; and SGLT2 inhibitors, which block the reabsorption of glucose by the kidneys. Because these medicines have different mechanisms of action, doctors often integrate various classes of medications for a more effective blood-glucose-lowering result.
Also read: Metformin and Diarrhea
Because metformin is typically recommended together with other diabetes drugs, some manufacturers have actually begun combining two drugs in a single pill for easier therapy. Glucovance, a single-pill combination of metformin and the sulfonylurea glyburide, appeared in 1999. In 2002, the FDA approved a mix dose of metformin and the sulfonylurea glipizide, called Metaglip, along with a combination tablet of metformin and rosiglitazone (a thiazolidinedione) called Avandamet. In 2005, the FDA authorized Actoplus Met, a combination dose of metformin and the thiazolidinedione pioglitazone. Anyone taking one of these pills should be alert to the symptoms of lactic acidosis.