Did you know that metformin is one of the most commonly prescribed medications for type 2 diabetes? Perhaps that’s because metformin has been shown to be an effective treatment for this disease.

Metformin lowers blood sugar by increasing insulin sensitivity, which means your body is better able to process and use the insulin your pancreas produces.

In this article, we take a look at how metformin works and how safe it is when combined with other medications. If you have type 2 diabetes or are at risk for developing it, keep reading to learn about the pros and cons of using metformin as part of your treatment plan.

What is metformin?

Metformin is a prescription medication used to treat type 2 diabetes. It works by lowering blood glucose (sugar) levels, and also has some other health benefits that make it a good diabetes treatment choice. Metformin is one of the most commonly prescribed diabetes medications and is available under a few different names.

How does metformin work?

Metformin works by lowering blood glucose (sugar) levels by a few different mechanisms. The first is by stimulating insulin release from the pancreas. When your blood glucose levels are high, the pancreas releases insulin to help transport the glucose out of the bloodstream and into your body’s cells where it can be used as energy. Metformin also works to increase the sensitivity of cells to insulin.

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This allows your body to process and use more of the insulin it produces. The last way metformin lowers blood glucose is by slowing down the rate at which your body absorbs carbohydrates. This is a positive for people with diabetes, as high blood sugar levels are one of the main symptoms of the disease.

How safe is it?

Metformin is generally safe to take, but there are some important considerations to keep in mind. You may want to discuss any other health conditions you have or medications you take with your doctor before starting a metformin regimen. There are some instances where people with certain health issues (such as kidney disease) can’t safely take metformin, so it’s important to understand the risks.

You may also want to talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding as there is some controversy around the safety of metformin in these cases.

Metformin also has a very small risk of causing lactic acidosis, a rare but dangerous condition that can be fatal. If you have kidney disease, your risk of lactic acidosis is even greater.

Metformin side effects range from mild to moderate, and in most cases go away once you discontinue taking the drug.

When can you expect to see results?

Metformin takes about 2-4 weeks to start working, so you can’t really tell if it’s working until then. When it does start to work, you’ll notice that your blood sugar levels are staying lower than they used to, even when you don’t have your diabetes management routine down yet.

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It’s important to keep in mind that while metformin is a great first line treatment for type 2 diabetes, it will not cure your disease. It has to be taken every day, and you have to make other changes in your diet and exercise routine in order to see long-term results.

Pros of taking Metformin

  • Metformin is one of the most widely used diabetes medications, and there have been few changes since it was first introduced in 1994. This means doctors have a lot of experience with the drug, and side effects and interactions with other medications have been well documented.
  • The majority of people who take metformin experience few to no side effects. This means you’ll likely be able to take the drug for the rest of your life without experiencing any serious negative reactions.
  • Metformin is available in both short- and long-term dosage options. This means you can take the amount that works best for you based on your lifestyle and health goals.
  • Metformin is relatively inexpensive. This may not be a major factor for people with good health insurance, but it’s definitely something to consider if you don’t have a lot of extra cash to spend on your medications.

Cons of taking Metformin


  • Metformin takes about two weeks to start working, so it may be a little stressful waiting to see if it’s working for you. When it does kick in, though, you’ll notice that your blood sugar levels are staying lower than they used to, even when you don’t have your diabetes management routine down yet.
  • It’s important to keep in mind that while metformin is a great first line treatment for type 2 diabetes, it will not cure your disease. It has to be taken every day, and you have to make other changes in your diet and exercise routine in order to see long-term results.
  • Metformin is generally safe to take, but there are some instances where people with certain health issues can’t safely take it, so it’s important to understand the risks.
  • Metformin also has a very small risk of causing lactic acidosis, a rare but dangerous condition that can be fatal. If you have kidney disease, your risk of lactic acidosis is even greater.
  • Metformin side effects range from mild to moderate, and in most cases go away once you discontinue taking the drug.
  • Metformin’s effect on your blood sugar levels only last as long as you’re taking the drug. This means that once you stop, your blood sugar levels will go back up again.
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Conclusion

Metformin is one of the most commonly prescribed diabetes medications because it works well to control blood sugar levels. It’s also a very safe drug that has few side effects. The only real downside to taking metformin is the fact that it only works while you’re taking it.

Once you stop, your blood sugar levels will go right back up again. Overall, though, metformin is an effective and safe treatment that is worth considering if you have type 2 diabetes and would like to lower your blood sugar levels.


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The wealthformyhealth.com team is composed of doctors and few students in their final year of medicine who have decided to popularize and share their knowledge.