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Metformin intollerance

Discussion in 'Diabetes Discussions' started by SlyFox, Mar 4, 2016.

  1. SlyFox

    SlyFox Type 2 · Active Member

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    I suffered with occasional IBS for 40 years before my T2 hit me.

    I suffered it on and off after T2 started and then really badly ~5 years after starting taking Metformin.

    when I mean badly I mean level 7 of the bristol stool scale (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristol_stool_scale).

    I eventually blamed Metformin for that chronic diarrhoea that I was having.

    My GP refused to take me off metformin, and only after a year of complaint changed it to MR version, which by then was too,little too late.

    The Metformin stopped on commencement of the Newcastle diet.

    The IBS stopped ~3 days later and did not return until I re-tried taking Metfromin again 2 1/2 years later. This was an unprecedented period of relief in my adult life. Metformin is metabolised to almost nothing within the body in a little over 4 days.

    Was Metformin really to blame. Probably! But not totally.

    Other facts.

    Now, if I take a 500mg tablet of MR Metformin I will (same day, or next morning) get a loose bowel movement.

    Now, if I take a 1000mg (2 tablets) of MR Metformin I will (within 3 hours) get actute diarrhoea.

    So, desperate to find out why, as Metformin is the best possible drug for me an Insulin resistant Type II diabetic, I ran a few thought experiments through my old grey matter.

    There is some background you need to know before things become clear as to what I did next and what I found out.

    Along with the historical IBS, I also used to get agonising migraines for 3 days at a time. At the worst point this was 3 days on 3 days off.

    This was eventually, self diagnosed, and self-treated by taking Liquid magnesium supplements. 2 years before onset of T2.

    I take 15 ml of Neways liquid food suppliments every day now.

    I no longer get Migraines (unless I stop the LM for a while)

    This is because my body does not absorb magnesium well within the lower intestine.

    I rationalised that absorbtion in my digestive system may be a problem across the board.

    So with that fact-let in mind, my though experiment went like this.

    What if I tinker with the way or speed metformin actually gets into my body, instead of just swallowing and hoping it works.

    Taking MR metformin did not work at all so the longer it takes the worse it is.

    So I reasoned that a faster absorption rather than the slower way with the MR version.

    I also reasoned that its likely that with MR the final absorbtion was taking place after passing from the stomach into the intestines, which is the place I have rouble with magnesium.

    So how to get the metformin sucked up by my stomach rather thatn my intestines.

    My option also seemed to take lots of smaller doses.

    • Split the pills into smaller lumps.
    • Crush the pills to powder and sprinkle on food.
    • Crush the pills to powder and put into water and drink it.

    I also wanted to start low and increase the dose to the point of good effect and no bad effect.

    I also wanted to see the results so did a high intensity period of 7+ Blood Glucose tests per day for two weeks to eget a base line.This was without metformin.

    I then wanted to see the effect of the metformin kick in.

    I continued the high intensity period of 7+ Blood Glucose tests per day for the duration. Which is ongoing.

    I started off with liquidising the metformin and taking ~ 80 mg doses.

    This became a real headache. I modified the technique to split pills.

    This was sustainable and I was dosing at ~125 mg for a total of 500 mg per day spreading the dose out into 4 doses per day. For a couple of weeks.

    The dosing in this way did not produce any diarrhoea at all, and I was getting a benefit of a generally reduced 7 day average in blood glucose. I suspect that the effect will increase over time as metformin's cumulative effect, well, accumulates.


    The results wee that I can now tolerate <= 500 mg Metformin a day without ill effects again. At least for a short while.

    Before I did this, and before I understood the mechanisms I was consigned to diet and exercise for T2 control.

    This was and is an increasingly difficult way of handling T2.

    I knew I would be forced to return to drug therapy eventually but Metformin was off the table.

    I have stopped taking metformin for other reasons but now feel I have a way back to using it again armed with what I know.

    Now you know.

    I hope this experience helps someone else.
     
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  2. Oldvatr

    Oldvatr Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I ticked the creative box in the positive sense, but it could be interpreted by some as a negative comment. So I clarify that I think you have carried out proper research here that may well benefit others suffering similar problems. Well done,
     
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  3. SlyFox

    SlyFox Type 2 · Active Member

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    Thanks for that ( love the avatar btw)

    I forgot to state that I did this before consulting my GP (because we had a bust up). When we reconciled recently and I told him about it he said that my findings were very interesting and he is still 'processing' what it means and how that might be working.

    He is a very well respected area specialist and hopefully the message will now get out there. I just wanted to bring it to a wider audience.

    Not being able to take metformin for T2's is almost the next worst thing than getting T2 in the first place. If anyone has had this happen to them and they can't take other drugs for any other medical reason, it at least offers hope of a solution.
     
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  4. bulkbiker

    bulkbiker Type 2 · Oracle

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    Not sure I agree with your "not being able to take metformin for T2's" statement. It gave me the shits constantly for three weeks (both regular and SR) so stopped it and changed diet. Bloods now in "normal" range and no meds.
     
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  5. ickihun

    ickihun Type 2 · Master

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    I once asked a pharmacist about splitting a tablet and he said it automatically makes the 2 halves weaker. Less affective.
    I think it would help me.
    I am going to ask for metformin again as canagliflozin caused me physical problems as well as the noted side affects.
    I'd rather suffer metformin than the diuretic side affects. (Thrush)
    Mind u I could split my canagliflozin and see if I can tolerate less. I'll think about it.
    I lost 12lb on canagliflozin but now back on since stopping. However I lost 2 stone on metformin and again added it once withdrew.
    I'd rather have metformin. Much steadier bgs on it too. I think less pressure on the kidneys but more risk of vitb12 deficiency.
    Thank you for your findings. :)
     
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  6. ickihun

    ickihun Type 2 · Master

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    Also this same technique is being used to treat nut allergies. Very fascinating findings.
     
  7. Pinkorchid

    Pinkorchid Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi Sorry you are having such problems with the Metformin.
    I had really bad indigestion and bloating but never diarrhoea with the standard one so I was put onto the slow release version I am fine with 500mg twice a day but now I am on one 1000mg tablet twice a day...and the tablets are huge... I am getting the indigestion and bloating again I see the nurse next Monday so will tell her I want to reduce the dose I don't want to stop it altogether as it does have protective properties for the heart etc
     
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  8. SlyFox

    SlyFox Type 2 · Active Member

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    I agree with you that a diet only approach if practical and lasting is a much better way to go. the goal is low (near normal) glucose levels. Not everyone can keep that up ( I am having trouble with it) and you yourself may one day slip into a period where drug assistance is once gain needed or desirable. I genuinely hope that it is not.

    You bad reaction to meetformin was ~ 5 years faster than mine. I developed it over a truly miserable year.

    Its entirely up to you if you do, but I hoped that it might suggest that given your description of your problem that it is potentially a way to try taking metformin again. If the shits return soon doing it this way then very little is lost in the trial and something worthwhile to gain by trying because the other well documented benefits of metfromin accrue with that little victory.

    Whatever you decide to do with this information. Stay well and I appreciate the feedback
     
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  9. SlyFox

    SlyFox Type 2 · Active Member

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    The weakened effect was in fact what I was after as well as the strength of dose was worrying me. 1000 mg is way too much. I was advise to take that every morning by GP's all over the country !

    I think that increasing it up to ~ 500 in small even weakened doses made it easier on my system to settle down with it and still grab some glucose lowering benefit.

    I really don't know. Try it out. Its a safe drug, so see what works for you. Taking less of it is safer still.
     
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  10. SlyFox

    SlyFox Type 2 · Active Member

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    BTW: I asked my GP about this;


    On the NHS it appears that is not an option, for me....
     
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  11. ickihun

    ickihun Type 2 · Master

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    A private prescription to wean back onto 500mg tablets wouldnt be very expensive. It has to be used within 28 days of opening.
    I'll mention it when I see consultant next time. Thanks.
     
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  12. Oldvatr

    Oldvatr Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Metfartin does precious little for the bgl it seems. However, it does seem to add stability, and there are other health benefits from it (cure for constipation comes to mind immediately) in terms of CV health. Having had sevee thrush myself I agree that Metformin is less troublesome than the Gliptins. You mention weight gain after stopping meds - are you using an LC diet, if so then I am surprised if you gain weight just from losing the meds, since neither of them is considered a weight reducer in the first place ( notwithstanding the waste disposal side effects of them!)

    As regards the B12 issue, there is only one study I can find that links a deficiency to Metformin. I think you are probably more at risk of deficiency when following an LC diet. There are supplements one can take if necessary, but beware, B12 is one of the Vit B family that one can overdo..
     
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  13. ickihun

    ickihun Type 2 · Master

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    Sorry I should have mentioned I'm on insulin for my insulin resistance. Hence I can take less when on a tablet too. Canagliflozin I've stopped. Lchf diet isn't enough for my 13yr old diagnosis. ( I believe I've had symptoms for nearly 40yrs).
    I've only been on none-pregnancy insulin for a year. Off metformin for nearly year and a half. (2 pregnancies on insulin then insulin and metformin).
    I've been lchf all the way through this time of insulin taking.
     
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