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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
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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 Prefer not to say · 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 · Member

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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.
     
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  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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  10. moleman

    moleman Type 2 · Member

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    Hi Alicia,
    I couldn't tolerate Metformin either. One a day was ok, but two, no way. I couldn't move too far from a loo. My nurse put me on one, Gliclazide a day and I git my life back. Had 2 hypo's but ate 5 glucose pills and was sorted 5-10 mins later. Good luck.
     
  11. NewTD2

    NewTD2 Type 2 (in remission!) · Well-Known Member

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    Can you please tell us more about Amaryl?
     
  12. Guzzler

    Guzzler Type 2 · Expert

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    It is Glimepiride, a sulfonylurea.
     
  13. NewTD2

    NewTD2 Type 2 (in remission!) · Well-Known Member

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    Oh OK thanks
     
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  14. AdamJames

    AdamJames Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the balanced perspective. I "remember reading somewhere" about the reduction of 1%, which is significant, but I'd forgotten where I'd read it.

    I'm very likely to be re-starting Metformin soon, but hopefully only temporarily. It's good to know what adverse side-effects to look out for as well the possible benefits. I figure that so long as one gets one's kidney function checked every now and then, and is aware of issues like the B12 absorption reduction, then it has to be worth a go.

    It certainly has to be worth giving it a go if you've already made huge diet and lifestyle changes and are still struggling to keep levels low, which is the position I'm finding myself in now.

    Perversely, my blood sugar levels have increased since I started doing a lot of walking at weekends, which my records show (and for once I made an accurate long while out this weekend) results in over-eating. It's like my body is desperate to maintain 100kg of weight. The less I eat and the more I walk at the weekend, the more ravenous I get in the day or two afterwards, and I always stop feeling ravenous just after I get back up to 100kg! It's like the crash-diet-then-regain-the-weight-and-then-some scenario but played out over 4 days rather than months! So I'm hoping that Metformin will give me that advantage that some people also report: reduction in appetite and assistance with weight loss.
     
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  15. eddie1968

    eddie1968 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I had 90% of my colon removed years ago and the practice nurse put me on Metformin. Diarrhoea and vomiting was extensive and was hospitalised. My Colorectal Surgeon was very annoyed with this as it is contradicted for GI surgery/disease. I’m under a consultant diabetologist who has written to my GP stating I am not suitable for oral meds or a GLP-1 agonist. Only insulin for me. Anyone who has serious GI issues should not take Metformin in my opinion.
     
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  16. h884

    h884 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    eddie1968 your story very familiar to mine. I was tried on about 5/6 drugs before I started on insulin. I did query this at the outset, however when it came to the final pill I asked to be referred to the local Diabetic Clinic.
     
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  17. ickihun

    ickihun Type 2 · Master

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    On early diagnosis I had lower blood pressure on higher bgs and excellent bgs gave me higher blood pressure and had to have BP tablets. First pregnancy was when I took my first BP tablet. Never before.
    Looking forward to less BP tablets after bariatric op. Awaiting bariatric team to make a start with plans for me now. Everything else has been tick boxed.
     
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  18. ickihun

    ickihun Type 2 · Master

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    Metformin's side affects somehow softened my tummy fat which in turn allowed my ovaries space to move/breathe. Hence ovulate and give me 2 gorgeous little boys.
    I'm sure my 10yr old could benefit too but no referral as yet.
    I'm working on it.
     
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  19. Freema

    Freema Type 2 · Expert

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    Well an interesting point maybe my better blood control was what raise my blood pressure , well I dont know about that .

    I am happy to hear that your operation is soon to be , hope you are feeling well dear
     
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    #39 Freema, May 25, 2018 at 10:00 PM
    Last edited: May 26, 2018
  20. Contralto

    Contralto Type 2 · Expert

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    Thank you for the two studies. The second I can print and use every time I wonder whether my B12 levels are low
     
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