Metformin is an oral diabetes medication that can be used alone or with other drugs to manage type 2 diabetes. The benefits of metformin are numerous and continue to grow with new research. It is generally safe, has few side effects and also has some positive benefits on your heart health.
To get a metformin prescription you need to see your doctor and present the evidence of your diagnosis along with any other medications you’re currently taking. Your doctor will need to have complete confidence in the safety of prescribing metformin for you and only you before writing the prescription.
If your doctor isn’t sold on the idea, here are some convincing points on why they should prescribe metformin for you as soon as possible.
What is Metformin and How Does It Help with Diabetes?
Metformin is a drug that’s been used to treat type 2 diabetes for nearly 50 years. It slows the process of sugar being produced in the liver and puts the brakes on your body’s ability to absorb sugar from foods.
When someone has diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin to break down sugar in the blood. That’s why diabetics have to manage their blood sugar levels carefully.
Metformin is one of several treatment options for type 2 diabetes. Others include insulin injections, certain diet plans, and a new experimental therapy made by combining a drug called liraglutide with a device that’s implanted under the skin.
It Helps to Lower Your A1C
Your A1C is a long-term average of your blood glucose levels. It’s a good indicator of how well you are managing your diabetes and is the test doctors will use to determine if your diabetes is under control.
When you start taking metformin, your A1C will likely drop right away. This is an important benefit of taking the drug because it shows that your diabetes is getting under control.
The most important benefit of a lower A1C is that it reduces your risk of diabetic complications.
Your A1C is also used to determine if you qualify for certain programs and benefits.
It Can Help to Lose Weight
Another great benefit of taking metformin is that it can help you to lose weight. This is particularly true for people who are overweight and have not been able to lose weight with diet and exercise alone.
Metformin has been linked to weight loss in several studies, with varying results of between 2 to 5 pounds. Some experts suspect that the amount of weight loss varies depending on the person and their metabolism.
Taking metformin may make your blood sugar levels go too low. This can cause a variety of symptoms, including feeling weak, lightheaded, or dizzy. When this happens, you should eat or drink something that contains sugar right away.
Metformin is also known to decrease your appetite, so you may experience less of a desire to snack or overeat. However, if you’re currently trying to lose weight and taking metformin, you should closely monitor your blood sugar levels while taking this medication.
It Can Reduce Cholesterol Levels
The benefits of taking metformin extend beyond diabetes management. Metformin has been shown to help reduce cholesterol levels for some people who are taking it for their diabetes.
Metformin is not currently approved for lowering cholesterol, but doctors have been prescribing it off-label for some time, including for those with type 2 diabetes.
Although more research is needed to fully understand how metformin helps with cholesterol levels, some studies have found that it may lower cholesterol by decreasing the amount of certain hormones that are produced in the body.
This is important because having high cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. And treating high cholesterol with medications can increase your risk of developing certain side effects, including muscle weakness, and especially when combined with metformin. Taking metformin along with a statin drug, like atorvastatin (Lipitor), can reduce the risk of these side effects.
Increase Breathing Comfort While Sleeping
Some people with diabetes experience what’s called nocturnal hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar levels during the night. This can cause you to wake up in a panic, sweating, and feeling like you can’t catch your breath. Taking a single tablet of metformin about an hour before bed can reduce the risk of this happening.
Metformin is believed to reduce your risk of nocturnal hypoglycemia by making your body absorb sugar more slowly throughout the day. This can help you avoid a sudden drop in blood sugar levels when you fall asleep.
Taking metformin to lower your risk of nocturnal hypoglycemia is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But it’s one of the off-label uses of this drug that has been studied in clinical trials.
Why You Shouldn’t Wait for the Prescription
By now you should be convinced that the benefits of taking metformin outweigh any risks.
But before you go and buy a bunch of metformin off the internet, you need to remember that you need to get a prescription.
Although all of the benefits listed above sound great, they are not enough to get your doctor to prescribe metformin. They first need evidence that you have diabetes.
You will most likely first be tested for diabetes with a blood test that measures your blood glucose levels. If the test results show that your blood glucose levels are high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor will then prescribe metformin.
If you are struggling with type 2 diabetes and would like your doctor to prescribe metformin, make sure to bring evidence of your diagnosis with you to the visit. You also need to bring any other medications that you are currently taking.
If you have diabetes and your doctor hasn’t prescribed metformin for you yet, it’s time to bring up the subject. Metformin is an effective treatment for type 2 diabetes and can help you manage your condition.
Metformin can help to lower your blood sugar levels, which can help to reduce your risk of developing long-term complications of diabetes. And if you already have type 2 diabetes, taking metformin can help you to better manage your condition.
It’s important to remember that metformin will only work if you’re taking it. You need to be persistent and consistent with taking this medication in order for it to work for you. And don’t forget to bring up the topic with your doctor.