Metformin for weight loss – Why you should take Metformin (glucophage) for weight loss

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Metformin is an oral medication which is marketed under the trade name Glucophage. If you are a patient of diabetes or if any of your family member is attacked by diabetes, you might know the name of the medication “Metformin” because doctors generally prescribe metformin to patients who are suffering from diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes. Really, Metformin for weight loss works?

How metformin helps to control type 2 diabetes?

Metformin keeps your diabetes at an optimum level by controlling the sugar levels in the blood stream of patients. Sometimes, doctors suggest using metformin along with insulin or other medication.

But do you know that besides curing type 2 diabetes metformin can also help to lose weight?

In a study, it has been seen that metformin may cause weight loss by reducing your craving for food. But it is not a magic elixir to lose your extra weight so quickly rather it works very slowly to lose weight. How much time one may need to lose significant amount of weight by taking this pill actually vary from person to person. In several studies, it has been seen that it took two or more years to lose only 4-7 pounds. But if you maintain some healthy habits beneficial for losing weight during taking this drug, there is a higher chance to lose significant amount of weight as you desire. Moreover, in most of the cases any weight loss one has may only last as long as one takes the medication or any homemade recipe. After that, your body starts to accumulate fat again. That means if you stop taking metformin, there’s a great chance to get back your original weight

How should I take metformin to lose weight?

Take the drug metformin just as prescribed by your doctor. Do not forget to follow all directions on your prescription label. Occasionally, your doctor may change your dose of taking metformin so that he may become sure whether you are getting the best results or not. Do not take this medicine more or less in amount and do not also take for longer or shorter time ignoring the recommendation of your doctor.

3 Rules to take metformin to lose weight

  1. Take metformin after taking a meal, unless your doctor recommends you otherwise. Some forms of metformin are suggested to take only once daily with the evening meal. It is always better to follow the instructions of your doctor.
  2. Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow it whole.
  3. Doctor may recommend you to take extra vitamin B12 while taking metformin. Take only the amount of vitamin B12 that your doctor has recommended.

Be careful of your blood sugar level during metformin intake

During taking metformin, check the level of your blood sugar very often as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can be experienced by everyone, especially the patients of diabetes. So, do not forget to check your blood sugar during times of stress, illness, surgery or medical emergency, travel, vigorous exercise, or if you drink alcohol or skip meals. These things can lower your glucose levels and you may need to change the dosage of metformin intake.

Symptoms of hypoglycemia include headache, hunger, sweating, confusion, irritability, dizziness, or feeling shaky. That’s why it is safe to keep always a source of sugar such as- fruit juice, hard candy, crackers, raisins, and non-diet soda. At the severe level of hypoglycemia you may not eat or drink, take a glucagon injection in that case. Your doctor can recommend a glucagon emergency injection kit for safety at severe stage.

Metformin dosage information

  1. Dose for Diabetes Type 2 patients (adult):

Instant release:

Primary dose: Taking 500 mg metformin tablet orally twice per day or 850 mg tablet orally once per day

Titration of dose: Increase in 500 mg as weekly increments or 850 mg every 2 weeks as tolerated

Dose maintenance: Taking 2000 mg  metformin tablet daily

Maximum dose: 2550 mg everyday

Tip: Take in divided doses 2 to 3 times every day with meals. Titrate gradually to lessen gastrointestinal side effects. Typically, significant responses are not observed with doses less than 1500 mg/day.

Extended-release:

Primary dose: Taking 500 to 1000 mg metformin tablet orally once a day

Titration of dose: Increase the dose in 500 mg as weekly increments as tolerated

Dose maintenance: Take 2000 mg metformin tablet daily

Maximum dose: Maximum dose of taking metformin is 2500 mg daily

Tip: If glycemic control is not realized with taking metformin once per day administration of an extended-release product, consider dividing doses. If you need higher doses, you may switch to immediate-release product.

Use:  In order to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus as an assistant to diet and exercise.

  1. Usual Pediatric Dose for Diabetes Type 2 (10 years or older)

Instant release:

Primary dose:  Taking 500 mg metformin tablet orally twice a day

Titration of dose: Increase in 500 mg as weekly increments as tolerated

Dose maintenance: Taking 2000 mg metformin pills daily

Maximum dose: Maximum dose of taking metformin pills is -2000 mg daily

Tips: It is better to take in divided doses 2 to 3 times per day with meals. Titrate slowly to lessen gastrointestinal side effects.

Use: To develop glycemic control in children with type 2 diabetes mellitus as an adjunct to diet and exercise.

Other drugs that can affect metformin

If you are taking other drugs, share it with your doctor as metformin interacts with other drugs, such as-

  • Furosemide
  • Digoxin
  • Phenytoin
  • Diet pills or medicines to treat asthma, colds or allergies
  • A diuretic or “water pill”
  • Birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy
  • Heart or blood pressure medication
  • Steroid medicine (prednisone, dexamethasone, and others)
  • Thyroid medicine (synthroid and others).
  • Niacin (Advicor, Niaspan, Niacor, Simcor, Slo-Niacin, and others)
  • Phenothiazines (Compazine and others)

12 Precautions against metformin

You must not take metformin if you have the following problems and you must make your doctor aware about these problems:

  1. Liver disease
  2. Diabetic ketoacidosis
  3. Severe kidney disease
  4. Heart disease
  5. A recent heart attack
  6. Being pregnant or planning to take a baby
  7. Breastfeeding
  8. Taking chlorpropamide
  9. If you have to do any type of x-ray or CT scan using a dye that is injected into your veins, you must need to temporarily stop taking metformin.
  10. If you are more than 80 years old and have not recently checked up your kidney condition
  11. Children less than 10 years old should not be given this drug.
  12. Store the metformin pills at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.

9 side-effects of metformin intake

Although metformin is considered as a safe medication, some people experience the following side effects after taking metformin, if you feel any one of them either meet your doctor or stop taking it.

  1. Numb or cold feeling in your arms and legs
  2. Muscle pain or weakness
  3. Dizziness
  4. Feeling light-headed, tired, or very weak
  5. Trouble breathing
  6. tomach pain
  7. Nausea with vomiting
  8. Slow or uneven pulse rate.
  9. Diarrhea

Common FAQs about Metformin

  1. What will happen if I miss a dose?

Answer-

  • Try to take the missed dose as soon as you remember (do not forget to take the medicine with food).
  • Avoid the missed dose if it is almost time to take the next scheduled dose.
  • Do not take extra tablets to make up the missed dose.
  1. What will happen if I overdose?

  • You may feel uncomfortable by taking overdoses as taking overdoses of metformin may cause lactic acidosis. In that case, seek emergency medical help or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222
  1. What should be avoided while taking metformin?

  • Avoid taking alcohol because while metformin increases your blood sugar level, alcohol lowers blood sugar and may increase the risk of lactic acidosis.

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