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Can You Just Stop Taking Metformin?

Discussion in 'Metformin/Biguanides' started by glucose kid, Sep 2, 2016.

  1. glucose kid

    glucose kid Type 2 · Active Member

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    A simple question can you just stop taking Metformin or should you reduce it slowly.

    A friend of mine, no its not me, has recently been diagnosed Type 2, (219 mg/dl 12.2 mmol/L) and was stuck straight onto Metfornin with very little guidance. He has been taking it for the last 4 weeks, but in that time has been doing some research and decided to following Micheal Mosley's 'The 8 week Blood Sugar Diet' with great results. So he would like to stop the Metformin and control his diabetes through Diet and exercise. Any help or advice gratefully received. I have now but him onto this forum.
     
  2. urbanracer

    urbanracer Type 1 · Moderator
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    Hi @glucose kid , I think the standard advice from forum members would always be to consult your doctor before stopping medication.
     
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    #2 urbanracer, Sep 2, 2016 at 4:31 PM
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2016
  3. bulkbiker

    bulkbiker Type 2 · Master

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    Although not all of us follow the standard advice....
     
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  4. bulkbiker

    bulkbiker Type 2 · Master

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    To elaborate...I was diagnosed Oct 2015.. immediately given metformin. Reacted very badly to it so stopped after 3 weeks. Went back for HbA1c in December and at appointment with Diabetes Nurse was told I had done extremely well to reduce my blood sugar from 70 to 45 in such a short time. I then told her that I had stopped the meds after 3 weeks and done LCHF diet only since. She nearly fell off her chair. It's up to your friend.. he has diabetes not his doctor or nurse..
    And yes I did try the Slow release version .... for me the change was from daily diarrhoea to constipation with explosive diarrhoea.
     
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  5. urbanracer

    urbanracer Type 1 · Moderator
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  6. bulkbiker

    bulkbiker Type 2 · Master

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    I guess that makes me a very naughty boy...
     
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  7. Enclave

    Enclave Type 2 (in remission!) · Well-Known Member
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    I came off of Metformin .. it was with the guidance of my DBN .. It was reduced gradually and I had extra blood tests during this time.
    Please tell your friend not to just stop taking any medication without talking to his DSN or Dr first.
     
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  8. britishpub

    britishpub Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    You should follow the standard advice to consult your medical bods first.....

    However, I stopped taking Metformin (3x500mg) after my first 3 month test, when it had dropped from 88 to 32.

    I stopped it all in one go, and had no effects but without telling my GP.

    I did cancel the repeat prescription, so someone should have noticed.

    My HbA1c has since fallen to 22.

    My DN thought that my 22 result was too low, and suggested I reduce my Metformin dose, and was surprised when I told her I hadn't been taking any for 9 months.


    As for your friend.

    If I was being asked the same question as you, I would advise (other than consult your GP) to wait until you have seen a significant improvement in your BG before taking the step to try and rely on Diet alone. The cost of failure is too great.
     
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    #8 britishpub, Sep 2, 2016 at 5:51 PM
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2016
  9. Mbaker

    Mbaker Type 2 (in remission!) · Well-Known Member

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    As Metformin's primary job is to assist insulin to get glucose into the cells and out of the blood stream, I would have thought doing the Blood Sugar Diet would make Metformin redundant. You state "great results" presumably his readings are in the mid single figures. My opinion is that it hinges on the evidence, so if for example he is getting fasting readings of say 6.0 - 6.5 regularly and minimal spikes below say 8.0 then if it were me I would remove Metformin; above these figures I would stick with it. My surgery allows me to have a phone consultation with the diabetic nurse quickly, so this would not hurt if available. I have read the Blood Sugar Diet and take my hat off to those who can do this religiously, my concern was energy levels.
     
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  10. walnut_face

    walnut_face Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    First time I have read that, its too small out of the box, says do not take if you are on a VLCD of less that 1000 cals day.

    So it seems you friend should not take them, (according to the info posted by @urbanracer) BUT he/she should consult their HCP first and explain they are following a VLC Diet
     
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  11. sally and james

    sally and james Family member · Well-Known Member

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    I've just googled metformin withdrawal and, while there are blood curdling warnings about going blind and having your feet cut off, actually, what they are saying is, "You must keep your blood sugars down", other wise these things will/may happen. Metformin does not appear (according to my researches) to be one of those drugs (like steroids), where it is essential that you come off very, very slowly. Some people, on some forums, have reported feeling unwell when they gave it up, but others have felt much better.
    The absolutely vital and essential thing is to keep blood sugars right down and to know, through testing, that they ARE right down. Unless your friend tests, he/she is playing with fire. There's no rule agains re-starting a drug, if giving it up has proved unwise.
    Sally
     
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  12. glucose kid

    glucose kid Type 2 · Active Member

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    Thanks to everyone who has responded. Very helpful and I will pass this information on and let him make his decision.
     
  13. daisyduck

    daisyduck Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I was put on a small dose of Metformin . 500mg. and I persevered for 11 weeks. I felt sick, had headaches very unpredictable bowels and generally felt unwell. One day I had just got to the point of taking my daily dose and stopped and dropped it in the bin. I haven't taken one since.Over a few days I felt so much better and still do.
    I follow the LCHF diet and have bought my own meter and test strips so I can work out which foods are OK for me. I've reduced my HbAc1 to 48 and when I told the DN I'd stopped taking Metformin she just shrugged and said I was doing well without it. She did offer the slow release version but was OK when I said I'd rather not.
    Has your friend got a meter ? That has been the biggest help to me.
     
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  14. glucose kid

    glucose kid Type 2 · Active Member

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    I told him it was very important to have a monitor so he's getting one. Thanks for your response.
     
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  15. Indy51

    Indy51 Type 2 · Expert

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    Personally I stopped 1x500mg Metformin SR immediately after an endoscopy that showed it was giving me bleeding gastritis - the only effect was my gastritis pain stopped and my iron levels recovered with injections :D

    That said, if I could tolerate metformin I would probably take it - not just for the BG benefits but because it shows benefits as an anti-cancer and anti-CVD treatment. There is a whole raft of metformin research currently ongoing in many areas of metabolic medicine, so for the people who can tolerate it (as opposed to the rest of us who have all sorts of GI issues from it), they're probably the lucky ones.
     
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  16. NoCrbs4Me

    NoCrbs4Me I reversed my Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    When I was advised by a doctor to stop taking metformin he didn't advise tapering off.
     
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  17. Lynnzhealth

    Lynnzhealth Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I have to confess, I did the same thing after being diagnosed in March 2017 and was put on Metformin. I didn't like it so I stopped after about 2 or 3 wks. I started the LCHF eating style and have reduced my A1C to the 'normal' range. This past week my Diabetic Educator said I'm an inspiration to my Health Care Team, even though she was very skeptical at first. I've lowered my bad cholesterol and raised my good cholesterol. Weight is way down and I feel much better than I have in years. I want to be in control of my own health and not go on every pill they think I need. I refused the statins, too. I'm controlling this by diet and exercise and so far it's working very well.
     
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  18. bulkbiker

    bulkbiker Type 2 · Master

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    Bloody brilliant!.. very well done indeed. I think taking control of our own health is the way forward.
     
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  19. Art Of Flowers

    Art Of Flowers I reversed my Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I stopped taking Metformin as it was causing me memory problems and neuropathy as well as diarrhoea. A low carb diet is much more effective in lowering blood sugars and doesn't have all the bad side effects you get with Metformin.
     
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  20. jwd1

    jwd1 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Followed the NHS rules, went from diet control, to 1x 500 gms Metformin to 3 x500 Metformin over a five year period, last year questioned why when taking this medication my HbA1C had gone up to 66. Told type 2 was a progressive disease and probably would be on 4 x 500 gms Metformin within another year.
    I didn't like the sound of all this, found out about LCHF through a local group (Skipton) and this website, decided to experiment with LCHF, HbA1C down to 56 and then 49 in Dec 2017. Saw DBN having dropped 2 x 500 tablets down to one in October, she was OK with it, particularly as no more diaorrhoea and retinal eye scan had improved from background retinopathy to clear :) .Expect to have lower results in the Spring and drop meds completely. So far so good.
     
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