5 Metformin Side Effects You Should Know About
Metformin is one of the most common drugs prescribed to diabetics. Initially it was made to treat Type 2 Diabetes. But over time, research and various studies have shown that Metformin could actually help with weight loss. Today it’s prescribed to people who aren’t even diabetic, but need help losing a few extra pounds.
With more people using this drug than ever before, news about the annoying and sometimes serious Metformin side effects has made headlines. But it is still one of the top drugs prescribed to diabetics, even with the risks involved.
If your doctor has mentioned taking Metformin for weight loss, or if you are already taking the drug to treat diabetes, there are a few things you should know.
What Exactly is Metformin and What’s it For?
Metformin is a prescription medication primarily used to treat Type 2 Diabetes. It can be used all on its own, or along with other types of medication to help regulate blood sugar levels.
The drug is often the first thing that a newly diagnosed diabetic is prescribed to start their treatment.
How Does Metformin Work?
Type 2 diabetics lose the ability to use the insulin in their bodies to offset food. That means when they eat something that contains sugar or carbs, it cannot be metabolized properly or offset by the insulin produced by their bodies. When that happens, it causes blood sugar levels to become high.
By taking Metformin, a type 2 diabetic can metabolize carbs and help their insulin levels to regulate so that their blood sugar readings fall to a lower and healthier range.
Metformin works to lower the amount of glucose production inside the liver, which lowers the amount of glucose that ends up in the bloodstream at the same time.
The medication can also help change how a diabetic’s blood cells react to insulin. It causes the cells to be more sensitive to insulin. It can cause the insulin that a type 2 diabetic produces to work much better as it also transports cells much more effectively.
Since Metformin affects how the body uses insulin, it isn’t prescribed to type 1 diabetics. With that type, the body doesn’t produce any insulin at all.
The 5 Metformin Side Effects You Should Know About
Metformin is a highly effective drug that has proven to be beneficial to people with type 2 diabetes. But it also has some brutal side effects that you should know about.
It May Cause Stomach Issues
Perhaps the most popular side effect caused by Metformin is stomach issues. But it can cause more than just one type of stomach issue. Metformin can cause a range of problems from nausea and diarrhea to gassiness and general stomach discomfort.
The reason for the gastric issues could be due to several factors. Experts have yet to be able to pinpoint the exact cause. Some have said that since Metformin is metabolized in the liver, individuals who drink excessive alcohol or those who already have issues with GERD or IBS could be at a higher risk for this uncomfortable side effect.
It Could Make You Feel Like You Have The Flu
Fatigue, achiness, brain fog, upset stomach, and fever are all common symptoms of the flu. And those who take Metformin could think that they are coming down with the flu only to find out that it’s just a side effect.
It turns out the side effect is actually a condition known as lactic acidosis. It is caused by an imbalance of acid-based levels that are in the body. The effects of this condition can cause muscle aches and pain, chills, drowsiness, pain, dizziness and fatigue. The onset is very fast for this condition and it could be fatal.
Fortunately, this side effect doesn’t occur often. It is extremely rare, and very scary. But what should you do if you suspect you have lactic acidosis? Remember that the symptoms are very severe and come on strong with no warning. And you would feel so bad that you would have no other choice but to go to the doctor at that point.
You May Experience A Metallic Taste
A common side effect that many people who take Metformin experience is the taste of metal in their mouth. No one is sure why this issue happens, but it does occur quite often.
As far as we know right now, the metallic taste isn’t a dangerous side effect of the drug, it’s just an annoying one. One idea is that the metallic taste could come from the ingredients inside the pill that could be left behind after it is taken.
It Could Cause Frequent Headaches
Metformin has been known to cause some severe headaches, which are the direct result of having low blood pressure. While the drug doesn’t usually cause hypoglycemia to occur, it has been known to do so. And hypoglycemia will cause headaches.
If you experience severe headaches often while taking Metformin, you should let your doctor know, especially if you are currently taking medication to lower your blood pressure or if you have ever been diagnosed with hypoglycemia. You may need to adjust your medication so that it doesn’t interfere with your blood pressure levels.
It May Reduce Your Appetite
As we mentioned earlier, Metformin is now being used to help some individuals lose weight. The reason why this pill is effective with weight loss is because it can actually curb your appetite so that you eat less.
Some experts say that when the body’s insulin supply doesn’t respond as it should, it can cause them to have cravings. Metformin works to stabilize insulin levels, and that can help with reducing cravings and hunger.
Should You Take Metformin for Weight Loss?
The side effects associated with Metformin range from annoying to fatal, and while the worst of it is rare, it is still something to be concerned about when taking this medication.
Type 2 diabetics depend on Metformin to help keep their blood sugar levels in check. While there are other drugs on the market that can help, many diabetics only respond well to how Metformin works.
Therefore, if they experience some of the milder and more common Metformin side effects such as nausea or G.I. issues, they will often simply deal with it because the reason they are taking the drug outweighs their discomfort from the side effects.
On the other hand, if you are prescribed Metformin for help with weight loss, and you are experiencing side effects that are making you uncomfortable, it would be in your best interest to stop the drug.
Since you are not taking Metformin to help with diabetes, the benefits of the drug do not outweigh the discomfort you are feeling. Plus, if you are trying to lose weight, you’re not going to feel like exercising if you are having stomach issues.
If you already have a stomach condition, such as IBS, Acid Reflux, GERD, or you simply have a sensitive stomach, it may be best that you don’t take Metformin for weight loss. Because G.I. side effects are so common, your current stomach issues could possibly become worse by taking the drug.
There are plenty of other drugs out there that are much more effective at assisting with weight loss than Metformin. And many of those drugs do not have the same side effects. And you can always attempt to lose a few pounds without the use of any drugs at all by changing your current diet and exercising more often.
Do You Have Questions or Concerns About Metformin?
If you are currently taking Metformin to help with diabetes, or you are considering it to assist with weight loss, it is likely that you have a few questions about the drug.
Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about Metformin side effects or any other concerns that you may have about the medication. They may be able to suggest an alternative to you if you are against taking the medication due to the possible side effects that it may cause.