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Metformin - Before, After or With food?

Discussion in 'Diabetes Discussions' started by Patch, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. Patch

    Patch Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    When is the best time to take Metformin? I was told originally to take it after food. I'm on 3x500mg a day. When I told my doctor that I don't eat breakfast, he said take one in the morning on an empty stomach anyway.

    I've recently started taking my metformin half way through my meals. This seems to stop the nasty side effects that you get with metformin, but I *think* it's reducing the effectiveness of the drug.

    Now I've read that taking it an hour or two BEFORE eating is the best way to take the drug. The same source (lost in my browser history now.... :( ) said that taking it with food can decrease the effectiveness of Metformin. (Mt Dad is also on Met - it was HIS doctor that recomended taking it WITH food. Mine recomended taking it AFTER food).

    Anyone got any experience of this? What it would mean is that I would have approx. 1000mg in my system (1 met when I wake up, and 1 before lunch) before I've eaten anything. I eat lunch at around 12:00 (lo-carb, of course!).
     
  2. tubolard

    tubolard · Well-Known Member

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    The advice on the packet is to take it with food to reduce the side effects, having said that I take my breakfast and evening meal metformin anything up to an hour before I actually eat. I say this with particular pleasure - I no longer take a lunchtime metformin - but when I did, it was with the first bite.

    I can't say that I've noticed any difference in readings no matter when I take the metformin, but have to say that I thought that food would interfere with absorption of the metformin - so have always taken it either very early in the meal or before eating.

    Regards, Tubs.
     
  3. samcogle

    samcogle · Well-Known Member

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    Hi, I am new here and I have to say I just followed the instructions and take one after my evening meal. I don't appear to have had any side-effects apart from a weird gurggling stomach and bad wind (although my kids say that's nothing new) :)
     
  4. Jay3109

    Jay3109 · Well-Known Member

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    I take my Glucophage (slow release) metformin in the morning and I too don't eat breakfast or lunch. As this form of metformin doesn't have the same nasty side effects as the ordinary sort I suspect it doesn't really matter but I believe that most people are told to take it with food. But I have also read that food can delay or reduce drug effectiveness (not just metformin). I guess you just have to weigh up the options - if you're prepared to put up with the nastiness for a more effective result, don't take it with food. If you can't tolerate the nastiness and are prepared to sacrifice a point or two on your next blood test then munch away...
     
  5. revkdj

    revkdj · Newbie

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    Hi,

    I was diagnsed as type 2 last June and put on one Metformin (500mg) per day initially. I had terrible side effects including two days of incontinence (on top of nasty symptoms of the diabetes itself). This settled down, but the dosage was increased to 2 tablets a day - one in the evening and one in the morning.
    I follow the instructions and take it during my meal. This has meant that my habit skipping breakfast has ended and I now usually have porridge with choopped up fruit or berrys in it. This has meant my weight stablilised and I have bags of energy for quite a demanding job.
    My Hba1c at diagnosis was 18. My last two results have been 6.2 and 6.4 (not bad considering I have not lost any significant weight and am still 117kgs, even though I am excerising too).
    Basically, Metformin absortion rate is not reduced by eating. It is a slow release drug and thus it's effect is accumulitive. The reason to eat with Metformin is to help the abortion so that the side effects are minimalised. As your body gets accustomed to it you may not need to have to with food all the time, but if you never have it with food, you can expect some more frequent trips to the lav!
    What I have found is that if I eat a lot of spicy food then I tend to have a more regular bowel movement, which was not the case previously.
    So my advice would be to watch what you eat, have breakfast, lunch and evening meal, and take the Metformin during the meal.
     
  6. vfr-ray1

    vfr-ray1 · Newbie

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    Recently diagnosed with Type 2 (12th Jan) and now take 3 (500mg) metformin tablets per day, my doctor did say that he planned to increase the dose gradually to avoid the side affects, so I started with one per day.
    I take one in morning and two with main meal. Usually the first tablet in the morning is taken after breakfast, the two tablets are also taken after my meal. If I don't have breakfast I take my 1st tablet after my first meal.
    I did notice that taking a tablet before a meal gave me terrible indigestion.
     
  7. jacks

    jacks · Newbie

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    I now take slow release metformin which doesn't give you the runs like the ordinary stuff does, you can take this on an empty stomach, so it might be better for you; Glucophage SR. Jacks :D
     
  8. stevebee

    stevebee Type 2 · Newbie

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    Yep I have been through this as well, as I do not get the side effects mentioned in the above posts, although the runs occasionally but I think it comes back to diet. I have tried taking the tablet before after meal or not related to eating and it makes no difference to the sugar levels short or long term. What I have found is more important is eating consistantly with a breafast lunch and dinner and then taking the tablets at the same time of day - hope this helps
     
  9. JAD337

    JAD337 · Member

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    Hi

    I was diagnosed with Type 2 in Jan 2004 and went on to one gliclazide a day. Two years later my control went haywire, my gliclazide was quadrupled and eventually 2 Metformin a day were added.
    I always used to take mine at the end of a meal, but have recently switched to taking it during the meal (mainly because I sometimes forgot to take it after). I've not noticed any differences with my BS readings. I've only ever suffered mild side effects.

    One other questions though, I read with interest the potential dangers of lactic acidosis from use of Metformin and the warnings about this were linked it to excessive alcohol consumption or binge drinking. Whilst I don't do either of those things, I do enjoy a glass of wine with a meal and an occasional beer or spirit drink. Some brands of Metformin don't seem to warn against drinking alcohol whilst others state quite categorically that you shouldn't drink alcohol whilst taking this medication. Anybody else had any experiences or thoughts on this matter, or does drinking with a meal reduce any such risk?
     
  10. samcogle

    samcogle · Well-Known Member

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    Hi, I too am curious about this as well. I haven't had a drink since I was diagnosed at beginning of January and would love the odd glass of wine with a meal but my metformin does say definitely no alcohol :cry:
     
  11. catherinecherub

    catherinecherub · Guest

    Hi sam,
    Have a read of the thread "Wine?" on the general chat. It tells you there about wine and the fact that it lowers your blood sugars. Obviously you cannot over indulge but it is one of the pleasures some of us still enjoy.
    Catherine.
     
  12. Dennis

    Dennis Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi JAD and Sam,

    Unfortunately the med manufacturers have to put this warning to cover themselves because some people interpret "an occasional drink" to mean a couple of bottles of wine, or that an occasional binge must be ok. An odd glass of wine or spirits will do you no harm and is actually recommended by many clinicians because it can help to lower blood sugar and red wine is an anti-oxidant. I would definitely steer clear of beer, lager or cider because these all contain high amounts of sugar.
     
  13. samcogle

    samcogle · Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, I will give it a read. I am off out on the town tomorrow and would love to be able to have a drink just so I don't feel left out. It wouldn't usually bother me too much but it's that 'I can't have it so I really want it' feeling. :)
     
  14. Glitterbear

    Glitterbear · Newbie

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    When I was first diagnosed type 2 about two years ago I was treated by diet for the first year then was put on Metformin. At first I had one tablet three times a day and though I started with them gradually the side effects were awful. It seemed that my stomach was like a wasing machine on 'spin cycle'. Loads of gurgling and cramping and nausea. I took them with food. Then after a year the doctor said take two tablets twice a day also with food. So I always make sure that I dont take them on an empty stomach as the flatulence and rushing to the toilet is awful otherwise. :oops: :oops: I find I dont have the bad symptoms I used to. It seems that not taking any in the middle of the day has helped things improve. I take two with breakfast and two with my evening meal. Sometimes for no apparent reason that I can think of I get a day when the symptoms come back and I have to dash to the loo. I call it 'Metformin 's revenge' I am very lucky in that my best friend takes Metformin as she has insulin resistance due to PCOS and we support each other on our 'off' days. You definitely need a sense of humour in dealing with it. :lol: :lol:
     
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  15. Trinkwasser

    Trinkwasser · Well-Known Member

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    Lactic acidosis is very rare but they warn against it anyway. Most people I know on Metformin have no problem with occasional drinking, but likely if you drank a lot there would be interractions as both met and alcohol will tend to reduce liver production of glucose.

    Many people find metformin is a long term medication and it doesn't make much difference to BG numbers when they take it, usually with meals and without too many carbs at the same time is the least noisy.

    However some people do see a local effect, probably due to carb blocking as well as the liver slowing properties, so if you do then playing with the timing might be useful.
     
  16. samcogle

    samcogle · Well-Known Member

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    I was told to take metformin after food and have to say the wind is awful. I have a little flag on my desk at work and when it is upright people know to stay away. i have explained to everyone it's the tablets but I don't think they believe me. I also get that gurggling :)
     
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  17. Worthamfalls

    Worthamfalls Type 2 · Member

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  18. Kentoldlady1

    Kentoldlady1 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I have been taking these since june this year. I now do 18:6IF and so usually take them on an empty stomach in the morning. I have been very lucky and had no problems at all. I think its really down to what your tummy can tolerate.
     
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  19. malancy

    malancy Type 2 · Member

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    I take Glucophage SR (slow release metformin) mid-breakfast as this suits me better than with an evening meal. I find that taking it with food is more agreeable to my stomach than than taking it afterwards.
     
  20. Bill_burgess

    Bill_burgess · Newbie

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    I take mine after breakfast and have had no problems
     
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