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Is Metformin damaging your quality of life, or killing you?

Discussion in 'Greetings and Introductions' started by alicia kerr, May 16, 2018.

  1. Hotpepper20000

    Hotpepper20000 · Well-Known Member

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    I’m not sure that metformin has made much of a difference with my BG levels. But I know combined with low carb and high fat it has relieved many of my PCOS symptoms.
    My understanding is that here Canada doctors do prescribe it for women with PCOS with out a type 2 diagnosis.
     
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  2. Brunneria

    Brunneria Other · Moderator
    Staff Member

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    Absolute agreement.

    I have noticed when we get threads about Metformin, it is usually people who have had bad experiences of the drug who are the most vocal. Which might give the impression that most people have problems with it. I do not think this is the case.

    I have also noticed that posters have started making statements such as 'Metformin won't affect your blood glucose'.
    This is incorrect, and when I see this stated, I have started giving some accurate information on the effectiveness of the drug. Many people worldwide find it invaluble to control their type 2, and it would be tragic if those people's health was negatively affected by a vocal minority who get contraindications from Metformin.

    Regarding the effectiveness of Metformin in lowering blood glucose.
    This meta study
    http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/35/2/446
    showed
    A total of 35 trials were identified for the main analysis and 7 for the dose-comparison analysis. Metformin monotherapy lowered HbA1c by 1.12% (95% CI 0.92–1.32; I2 = 80%) versus placebo, metformin added to oral therapy lowered HbA1c by 0.95% (0.77–1.13; I2 = 77%) versus placebo added to oral therapy
    monotherapy is when only one drug is used

    In case anyone is wondering, the 1.12% figure mentioned is the % shown at the top of the arc (image below) equates to approx 11 mmol/mol (as used in UK HbA1c results).

    As a real life example, that means someones HbA1c would lower from 70 to 59 mmol/mol on the chart below
    Another way of looking at it, is to understand that those same people would see each of their home finger prick tests drop by an average of 1.5mmol/l
    (depending on dose and individual physiology, of course)
    [​IMG]

    I am not going to pretend that Metformin doesn't cause contraindications, some of which are very unpleasant. No drug suits everyone. And no one should continue to take a drug that disagrees with them. However I don't feel it is approriate to state that Metformin in ineffective at lowering blood glucose, when the trials exist proving otherwise.

    Regarding Metformin causing B12 deficiency.
    Yes, it is proven that long term (months or years) of Metformin use may cause progressive B12 deficiency in some, but not all patients.
    https://www.bmj.com/content/340/bmj.c2181
    Since Metformin acts to reduce B12 absorption in the gut, it is possible to supplement with sublingual B12 or have supplements by injection on prescription.
    The quoted study suggests that all patients prescribed Metformin longterm should be given periodic tests for B12 deficiency.
    Anyone not offered these tests can ask for them from their doctor.
    This seems very sensible, and I would encourage anyone to supplement with B12 if they feel concerned.
    It is always going to be up to the patient, and their doctor, to weigh up the risks and benefits of any drug treatment, and make informed decisions. Once again, I personally prefer that those decisions are based on evidence from scientific studies. Then I use personal experience of taking the drug to decide whether it will suit me personally.
     
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    #22 Brunneria, May 16, 2018 at 4:46 PM
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  3. Resurgam

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

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    What annoyed me was that despite my problems no notice was taken - as far as the NHS is concerned I am a naughty non compliant patient, not someone who went through a terrible experience trying to take the tablets.
     
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  4. Alexandra100

    Alexandra100 Other · Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely infuriating, I agree. But Metformin is not the only drug to cause patients problems, and you are, alas, not the only patient to have your valid concerns and theories about your symptoms ignored. Whenever I am prescribed a new (to me) drug, before taking it I READ the leaflet enclosed, particularly nowadays to check if it may be expected to raise my bg. Then I check on the internet, because some leaflets are less informative than others. For Metformin, it was my choice to request it from my GP, having first read the recommendations in Dr Bernstein's "Diabetes Solution" and Jenny Ruhl's "Your Diabetes Questions Answered".

    I find that much of the time health professionals are ill / mis - informed. It absolutely is not safe to follow their suggestions without question. When I have to disagree and even refuse a drug, as I have done quite recently, I think it is important to remain polite and pleasant and try to save their face as much as possible. Luckily I have a female GP who seems to have remarkably little ego, and a young male one who has come to think of me as a bit of a laugh, with my "wild" ideas. I think he appreciates me as light relief in his boring day, and most fortunately is willing to indulge me by granting at least some of my requests.

    I am pragmatic. I have got my Glucophage XR. I have changed from Apixaban (which can raise bg) to Dabigatran (which as far as I can find out doesn't). If my doctors think I'm nuts, I can live with that!
     
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  5. ickihun

    ickihun Type 2 · Master

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    I'm intolerant of all other diabetes meds. Why I'm on insulin. Metformin possible side effects were confused with IBS symptoms so I will be try back on it on Monday. Wish me luck?
    Ps. I've had to double my insulin units in metformin's absence. :(
     
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  6. Paul_Harris

    Paul_Harris Type 2 · Newbie

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    I used to take metformin at the rate of 2 x 500mg three times a day, but now thankfully I'm no longer taking any meds for diabetes, but still keep a good check on my glucose levels because I also have got COPD & when I get a chest infection it does affect my glucose levels. If I was having problems with meds I have words with my GP & get them changed. Thankfully I have not got any problems my diabetes.
     
  7. Freema

    Freema Type 2 · Expert

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    the year I took metformin it only had an effect on my sleep quality by making me have to pee every second hour during my sleep, that was so annoying that I ended up eating the whole dose in the morning instead of taking it twice a day, and maybe also had an effect on my kidneys by raising my blood pressure. I´ve never had raised blood pressure before unless I was extremely ill
     
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  8. Freema

    Freema Type 2 · Expert

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    here in Denmark, we can ourselves report side effects of medication, I wonder if there might be such an online medical side effect site where the patients themselves can report the side effects they have endured in Great Brittain too ?
     
  9. Resurgam

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

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    When it is not clear which of two medications - or if it was both of them acting together, it can't be reported, according the the nurse I saw.
     
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