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  #1   ^
Old Tue, Sep-16-08, 06:58
mairi0336 mairi0336 is offline
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Posts: 6
 
Plan: General healthy lifestyle
Stats: 220/174/155 Female 5'8"
BF:
Progress:
Default Concerns about long-term effects of Metformin

Hi! I have some concerns about taking Metformin long-term. I was diagnosed about four months ago as being extremely diabetic (Type 2), and my doctor prescribed me Metformin (1,000 mg 2x daily). At first, I had some severe digestive upsets. Now, my stomach seems to tolerate the drug better, but I have a constant low-key queasy feeling that never goes away. Just the smell of the pills (have you ever smelled a Metformin pill?!) is enough to make me not even want to look at food. At least it's helping me lose weight, lol. My appetite has diminished to the point where I have to remind myself that I have to eat.

Before starting Metformin, I had an iron stomach. I could eat absolutely anything, and had a great appetite. It was very rare for me to even get indigestion or heartburn. Since I've started taking Metformin, I don't feel like eating much of anything, and I get nauseous and tired if I eat very much.

My doctor tells me that I may have to stay on Metformin permanently, even with the dramatic and healthy lifestyle change that I have made. He says that my diabetes may not be controllable with diet and exercise alone (though I sure am trying to prove to him that it is possible - I've lost nearly 50 pounds so far). I am worried about the long-term effects of Metformin, though. Are there negative side effects besides the stomach upset to watch for? My doctor insists that it is safe, and I trust him (he's been our family doctor for years), but I always like to hear from people who have experienced the drug first-hand.

Has anyone else who has taken this medication (or knows someone who has) had a similar experience? Do people who have experienced the stomach upset and queasiness notice that it goes away after a while? And what are the long-term dangers (if any)?

Any help or comments are appreciated!
Mairi
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  #2   ^
Old Tue, Sep-16-08, 08:17
Miss843 Miss843 is offline
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Posts: 12
 
Plan: Atkins
Stats: 330/275/199 Female 5'4
BF:
Progress: 42%
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I have been on Metformin for about four months now. I'm only on 500 mg per day and at first I did have diarrhea, upset stomach and headache but those symptoms subsided after a few weeks. The doctor's said that is perfectly safe and I have yet to come across any articles or anything online saying that there is any long term danger.
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  #3   ^
Old Wed, Sep-17-08, 18:54
itsyvonne itsyvonne is offline
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Posts: 3
 
Plan: Protein Power
Stats: 184/183.4/160 Female 68.5"
BF:
Progress: 2%
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500mg versus 2,000mg a day sounds like a big difference...so I'm not surprised that side effects could be worse at the higher dosage. Have you asked your doctor if your dosage could be reduced?
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  #4   ^
Old Wed, Sep-17-08, 19:57
Jodi42 Jodi42 is offline
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Posts: 7
 
Plan: Tate
Stats: 329/257/160 Female 5'6"
BF:
Progress: 43%
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I am also on Metformin for diabetes. When my doctor first put me on it, he said it can be hard on your liver, but then again you could probably say that about most medicines. He has me going in for once yearly blood tests to make sure my liver is doing ok, in addition to my quarterly A1c.

I will say that my doctor is very conservative, so take it for what you will. He didn't like my first A1c result that was in the low range for diabetics(6.2). From what I understand that is a good number, so who knows. As a side note, my last A1c after going LC was 5.7. Yippee!
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  #5   ^
Old Thu, Sep-18-08, 06:35
mairi0336 mairi0336 is offline
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Posts: 6
 
Plan: General healthy lifestyle
Stats: 220/174/155 Female 5'8"
BF:
Progress:
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Jodi, way to go with the A1c! The effects of this drug (especially when combined with a healthy lifestyle) can be dramatic.

Yeah, Metformin is wonderful stuff, I will say that for it. Since I have been taking it, my blood sugar stays pretty consistently in my target range (it stayed around 300-400 before I started the medicine and lifestyle change), and I have noticed several other benefits as well, such as an improvement in my monthly cycle.

I don't think that I can reduce the dosage, yet, though. I have tried going to 500 mg 2x a day, and my sugar jumped up into the low-to-mid 200s, despite my attempts to control it with diet and exercise. Sigh. Maybe when I lose some more weight, I will be able to reduce the medication. (My goal is to eventually get off of it entirely, though I don't know if that's possible, lol.)

One thing that I have noticed is that I have to take a B complex supplement (and an additional B12 tablet, just to be on the safe side), or I end up with a pronounced B deficiency. I have heard that Metformin causes B deficiencies, and I can definitely attest to this. Before I found about that, I wasn't taking anything more than a regular multivitamin, and I had headaches, tiredness, and some of the classic symptoms of deficiency. When I started taking the B vitamins, that disappeared. I don't know if that happens to everyone or not. But I have a lot more energy now that I've been taking more vitamins!

Metformin seems to be a complex medicine that affects a lot of the body's systems. But I guess that the benefits far outweigh the risks. I would much rather have to put up with some negative effects than have my blood sugar get so dangerously high again. I guess you just have to take the good with the bad, eh?

Mairi
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  #6   ^
Old Sun, Sep-21-08, 16:39
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y0u y0u is offline
Just Dirty!
Posts: 11,401
 
Plan: It's a secret..shhh
Stats: 240/240/175 Female 5'7
BF:Beef Flavored?
Progress: 0%
Location: In the 5th Dimension!
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I have been on Janumet for 3 months now, it is a combination of metformin and sitagliptin. At first I definitly felt queezy and got diarreah and did not want to eat at all. You are suppose to eat it with food. So I tried this, made myself eat it with a meal and i felt a LOT better, now i am fine with my 2,000mg dose. Good luck and I hope we all can get off any Meds were currently on. My doc told me I have to take this for 2 years.
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  #7   ^
Old Mon, Sep-22-08, 07:02
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DrH DrH is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 2,185
 
Plan: Atkins (Strict Induction)
Stats: 183/120/115 Female 5'7.5"
BF:21.6%
Progress: 93%
Location: Jupiter, FL
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Are you taking the extended release version? I have heard it is much easier on the tummy. I, too, take 2,000 mg a day and I have no problems with tummy upset; however, I take the ER version. Good luck!
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  #8   ^
Old Tue, Sep-23-08, 06:08
mairi0336 mairi0336 is offline
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Posts: 6
 
Plan: General healthy lifestyle
Stats: 220/174/155 Female 5'8"
BF:
Progress:
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No, I'm not taking the ER version, though I may try it. I'll ask my doctor about it at my next appointment (in a few weeks). I have noticed some improvement after switching to eating several small meals a day instead of three normal-sized ones. The quality of the food that I eat seems to make a difference too - fresh and "healthy" foods don't upset my stomach as much as processed foods do. (And I alway take the meds with food, of course.)

Extra B complex and folic acid supplements also seem to help, perhaps because they are so important for good digestive health. I have also been eating more yogurt, for the beneficial bacteria.

Thanks so much for all of the help and support!

Mairi
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  #9   ^
Old Tue, Sep-23-08, 14:12
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cyberus cyberus is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 262
 
Plan: none
Stats: 000/000/000 Male 76
BF:
Progress:
Location: Holland, Michigan
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I can personally vouch for the difference when switching from regular metformin (aka metfarting aka metpoopin) to the extended release making a world of difference. I had the harsh end of the side effect scale, gas cramps and diarrhea for weeks before I had someone recommend the ER to me and switched.
BTW the 500mg ER is on the Walmart $4 a month list but not any stronger dose.
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  #10   ^
Old Wed, Sep-24-08, 13:39
mairi0336 mairi0336 is offline
New Member
Posts: 6
 
Plan: General healthy lifestyle
Stats: 220/174/155 Female 5'8"
BF:
Progress:
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Argh. I wish that they had the 1,000 mg available at that price. (I always get my prescriptions from Wal-Mart.) I have heard that the 1,000 mg ER is expensive--I've not checked for myself though. Maybe I could get the 500's and just take 2 of them. =D
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  #11   ^
Old Sat, Jul-28-12, 07:25
Cslagenhop Cslagenhop is offline
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Plan: <110 carbs/day
Stats: 315/255/220 Male 76in
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Default Metformin is the best

Metformin is a very safe drug. It probably should be added to the water for everyone. If you eat it with excess carbohydrates, it causes gas/bloating, but if you are eating a low carb diet it usually has very few of those side effects. One potential concern people sometimes are given is long term fatty liver. One pharmacist told me it caused this. I researched it and talked to my diabetologist about it and found out that fatty liver is a result of diabetes/metabolic syndrome and carb intake. It co-exists with metformin use because alot of diabetic/obese people have fatty liver. The mechanism of metformin is causing you to be more sensitive to your own insulin. It works well if you have some pancreatic function left. If you have severe diabetes with no function left, it doesn't help much and you need insulin. Metformin lowers hypertension, raises the good cholesterold, curbs carb craving and improves glucose control. You should start at 500mg and titrate up to 2000 mg over months. It can be taken in a single dose all with dinner, even the non-extended release.
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  #12   ^
Old Sat, Jul-28-12, 09:32
Nancy LC's Avatar
Nancy LC Nancy LC is offline
Experimenter
Posts: 45,269
 
Plan: Paleo 99.5%
Stats: 210/170/160 Female 67.5"
BF:
Progress: 80%
Location: San Diego, CA
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Metformin might actually help you avoid cancer: http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...20625152308.htm

If you've been suffering from Type 2 diabetes for a while you could have some burned out beta cells. Uncontrolled high blood sugar tends to kill them. But then they usually put you on insulin.
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  #13   ^
Old Sat, Jul-28-12, 11:41
MizKitty's Avatar
MizKitty MizKitty is offline
95% Sugar Free!
Posts: 7,010
 
Plan: Very high fat LC/HCG
Stats: 310/155.4/159 Female 67 inches
BF:
Progress: 102%
Location: Missouri
Default

Metformin is a very safe effective drug. I've taken it for many years, but do have trouble with the regular, and need to take the extended release.
Are you familiar with Jenny Ruhl's Diabetes 101 blog? She has many informative articles about metformin there.

Here ya go, I entered a search on her site and looks like it's pulled just about all her metformin articles on one page:
http://diabetesupdate.blogspot.com/search?q=metformin
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  #14   ^
Old Sat, Jul-28-12, 17:50
Rosebud's Avatar
Rosebud Rosebud is offline
Forum Moderator
Posts: 23,510
 
Plan: Atkins
Stats: 235/135/135 Female 5'4
BF:
Progress: 100%
Location: Brisbane, Australia
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Just popping in here to mention that this is a 4 year old thread, and the OP has not been here since 2008.
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