By edwinseow | July 3, 2008
I realised that there are quite a substantial interest in readers trying to find out more information on Metformin for diabetes and prediabetes so I shall write an article on this.
What is Metformin?
Metformin is one of the most common oral anti-diabetic drug / medication. It falls under the drug class called Biguanides. Metformin is normally prescribed by the doctor for people with Type 2 Diabetes and sometimes to people with Prediabetes or Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT) as well.
Its main purpose is to help to control the amount of glucose (sugar) levels in your blood.
My Metformin Tablet -Dosage 500mg (photo from pohheng)
Metformin could be used by itself or with other medication and sometimes together with insulin. It is in tablet form and normally available in dosages of 500mg, 850mg or 1000mg.
As Metformin is meant to slowly release medicine in the body, the tablet or pill should be taken whole. Do not chew, crush or break the tablet or pill as it will release too much medicine at once.
When and how often do you need to take Metformin?
If you are advised by your doctor to take Metformin once a day, you should take it after the largest meal but you have to be consistent i.e. if you take at dinner time, do so everyday around the same timing.
Some Type 2 diabetics are required to take Metformin up to 3 times a day (no more than 2000mg per day) so it will be wise to space out the timing evenly throughout like 7am, 1pm and 7pm so as to achieve optimal results and avoid stomach problems.
P.S. Do not start or stop Metformin by yourself. Always follow your prescription. Do not increase or decrease the amount. Always ask your doctor or seek professional advice.
What are the common side effects of Metformin?
Some of the common side effects of Metformin are
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Metallic taste
In extremely rare case, Metformin might cause Lactic Acidosis which could be fatal in 50% of the people who developed it. It usually occurs to people with Kidney problems.
Do people with Prediabetes Need Metformin?
Seriously it depends. Some doctors may be very eager to reverse your condition so they prescribe it to you. Sometimes it also depends on whether other methods of controlling your blood glucose (sugar) levels work, if it don’t, Metformin may be required.
Note : If you have kidney, liver and heart problems, do highlight to your doctor before taking Metformin.
As for my case, my doctor actually prescribed to me 500mg Metformin to be taken right after dinner everyday but I suffered from giddiness (read more). Saw another doctor advised me to stop and reverse my prediabetes by changes to my lifestyle like low GI diet and increase in exercising. Currently I am doing fine without Metformin and latest HbA1c is 6.1, down from 7.0.
My Prescription - 1 tablet Every Night (photo from pohheng)
Other Frequently Asked Questions FAQs on Metformin
Will Metformin cause Hypoglycemia?
It is unlikely that you will be suffering from Hypoglycemia because Metformin does not increase the amount of insulin in your blood but it does happen. Therefore, you must be able to recognise the symptoms of Hypoglycemia and what to do to treat it.
What should I do if I missed a dose?
Take a dose as soon as you remember it but be sure you have some food. Skip the forgotten dose and proceed to the next dose if the time is near. Do not attempt to make up your dosage by taking more than prescribe dosage.
Do you still need to exercise and take care of my diet if I take Metformin?
Yes of course. Metformin is part of an overall Blood Glucose Control which includes eating healthily, exercising regularly and weight loss programme.
If you find this article useful and would like more of it, you can leave your email at the top left hand corner of this page. Do feel free to leave your comments or forward to anyone who can benefit from it.