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METFORMIN QUESTIONS and ANSWERS

Discussion in 'Diabetes Medication and Drugs' started by landman, Oct 18, 2008.

  1. landman

    landman · Member

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    Metformin Side Effects

    Hi all,

    Just joined the site, hoping for some real world advice as I seem to get conflicting opinions from the "professionals".

    I've just gone from 2 x 500 mg tablet per day to 3, then to 4.

    Since then I've been battling with seemingly endless tiredness, terrible wind [burping] and in particular headaches and nausea.

    The nurse at the GP's surgery is trying not to place me on to insulin as I'm fairly stressed at the moment as a result of having to set up my own business following redundancy.

    Having trawled through the site I see mention of slow release metformin & the pro's & con's. But at the end of the day I'm wondering if I bite the bullet & go for the insulin, if, and it's a big if, it will make me feel better.

    What say you all?

    Thanks

    Landman
     
  2. sugarless sue

    sugarless sue · Master

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    Re: Metformin Side Effects

    Hi Landman,welcome to the forum.Can you give us some idea of what your blood sugar levels are and the things that you eat?Maybe by bringing down your sugar levels you will not need to go onto insulin and maybe even feel a bit better health -wise.
     
  3. landman

    landman · Member

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    Re: Metformin Side Effects

    Hi there,

    In the morning I tend to be around 8, perhaps a bit lower in the evenings

    Diet-wise I stick to a reasonable healthy diet, but my weakness once or twice a week is lager/red wine.

    Luckily my wife is a chef & is used to providing decent meals that err on the side of low-fat and uses virtually no sugar.
     
  4. sugarless sue

    sugarless sue · Master

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    Re: Metformin Side Effects

    Do you know what your last HBA1c was by any chance?
     
  5. landman

    landman · Member

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    Re: Metformin Side Effects

    8.6, which the nurse dismissed due to my personal circumstances. 3 months before it was 9.1
     
  6. sugarless sue

    sugarless sue · Master

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    Re: Metformin Side Effects

    There's no doubt that stress can have an effect on your blood sugars but 8.6 is high and could potentially store up trouble for you in the future.There are many and varied threads on here about diets.There are also many arguments about which is the most effective. Have a read of the 'Success stories' thread for instance and see if anything helps you to change your diet so that you can maybe lower your BS.
     
  7. landman

    landman · Member

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    Re: Metformin Side Effects

    Well thanks for all the replies so far, however I'm still no further with this matter.

    Yes I agree that the old HBA1C is still too high and that I can help that with diet, but that's not an instant cure and meantime I have to battle with these **** side effects.

    Anyone got any suggestions to alternatives?

    I'm a bit of an awkward s0d when it comes to treatment. For example I am one of the <30% that does respond to the use of Becotide to manage my asthma. For that I use Montelukast. Thinking here that if I don't respond to "the usual" in asthma treatment, then may be I need to think of what else might work other than 'the usual" i.e. Metformin.

    I have also been told by the nurse that her instructions are to clamp down on diabetics and to get more of her patients on to insulin. The story goes that the NHS is thinking ahead & trying to head off as much trouble as it can by getting as many diabetics as possible to finely control their BG levels.

    Anyone else heard this?

    Landman.
     
  8. Linda59

    Linda59 · Active Member

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    Re: Metformin Side Effects

    Hi

    I was put onto 4 metformin a day a month or so ago and 2 morning 2 evening were giving terrible headaches, on speaking to the d nurse I asked if I could split them up and she was fine so I now take 1 x 4 times a day with food or in evening a plain biscuit.. this has helped with headaches tho...they don't want me on insulin yet.

    Hope this is of some help.

    :)
     
  9. landman

    landman · Member

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    Re: Metformin Side Effects

    That sounds like a much better idea, I've had enough of perpetual headaches

    Thx

    Landman
     
  10. TeresaM

    TeresaM · Member

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    Re: Metformin Side Effects

    When I was first put on metformin I had horrid side effects and refused to take it anymore. The doctor at the hospital said I had to try... my GP was more sympathetic and convinced me to try the slow release version of it... I have had no problems at all on this, except nausea when altering the dose but that soon goes.

    My doctor at the hospital didnt seem to think there was any difference between the two though.
     
  11. brian.frankham

    brian.frankham · Newbie

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    Re: Metformin Side Effects

    I have been on insulin for nearly 18months and still have to take Metformin 850mg x 3 per day.
    Feel terrible and always tired. HbA1c is 7.3 so must be doing me some good. Just doesnt feel like it !
     
  12. cugila

    cugila · Master

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    Re: Metformin Side Effects


    Hi Brian.
    Welcome to the forum. If you have any questions then just ask away.

    Whilst your HbA1c may be an improvement for you and that is admirable, it is stll high and needs looking at. It works out that your average Bg levels would be around 8.7 mmol/l. Maybe your diet could do with a little tweaking here and there / Insulin dose adjusted ? Both would help in the drive to lower your levels.

    If there is no room for adjustments then I think you should discuss this with your GP in case there is some underlying cause, not necessarily Diabetes related.
     
  13. brian.frankham

    brian.frankham · Newbie

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    Re: Metformin Side Effects

    Find your comments about my 7.3 Hba1c mystifying. My Diabetic consultant considers it to be excellent! My morning test is around 6 lunch around 4 dinner around 5.5 and bedtime around 7.5.
     
  14. cugila

    cugila · Master

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    Re: Metformin Side Effects

    Hi Brian.

    I find your 'Consultant's' comment mystifying too ? My Consultant would be horrified ! That number (7.3) is well above the recommended targets which I am sure he would be aware of. If it was an improvement over previous, I can understand that comment, however it is certainly not ideal. Have a look around the site and note the HbA1c's posted by many on here. I am not criticising you but do feel that honesty about numbers from professionals should be the norm at all times.

    When you give your test results are they 2 hrs after your meals ?
     
  15. osbornet

    osbornet · Member

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    Re: Metformin Side Effects

    Hi all, i've been taking Metformin for just 3 weeks (1st week 1 a day, 2 a day since and have to up it to 3 a day now) and, fromreading the comments on here it looks as though i got away lightly!

    Had a very mild headache for the first 2 days and a mild dose of Diarrhea (bet thats spelt wrongly!) on the 2nd day and once since.

    Better to be lucky than good i guess! :wink:
     
  16. ham79

    ham79 · Well-Known Member

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    Re: Metformin Side Effects

    When I was on metformin it badly affected my stomach to the point where I couldn't be far away from a toilet for very wrong I found it very horrible good luck
     
  17. Kastrian

    Kastrian · Well-Known Member

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    Re: Metformin Side Effects

    Doc put me on 2 x 500g Metformin today so fingers crossed for no side effects and will help bring my BG and weight down
     
  18. FordPrefect

    FordPrefect · Well-Known Member

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    Re: Metformin Side Effects

    There are options between metformin and insulin! Yes you do need to get your HBA1C down quite a bit, and I know there are some awful effects on your stomach from metformin but the slow release ones should help out a lot. Its also possible to put onto mulitple different types of tablets such as pioglitazone is another one I am on at the moment as well as metformin, but there are several others that can be used. There are also some newer drugs for type 2's such as as byetta and Victoza that are injected. The advantage of these is that they also often help you to lose weight as well. A comination such as this is known as double or triple therapy. Yes its a pain having multiple meds but insulin is worse. With insulin you really have to manage your Blood sugar levels in a far more active way than what you do with most oral meds/byetta/victoza and diet alone. It sounds like you have dont have a set schedule or lifestyle atm it will be a lot more difficult with insulin. I am no expert on insulin as so far I havent found myself on it and its far far far better than amputation, blindness and all the other big sticks that you have to worry about with uncontrolled diabetes; but if you can get your condition under control without insulin then your life is going to be easier.

    If the only options being presented are metformin or insulin then you need to be reffered to a specialist called a diabetologist or endocrinologist
     
  19. bolders

    bolders · Guest

    Re: Metformin Side Effects

    I,ve been taking the stuff for about a year now, (2550mg a day), and unfortunately find that more often than not the biggest problem is excessive wind! Be warned! Lol.
     
  20. nmc

    nmc Type 2 · Member

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    Metformin : How long before side effects start ?

    Hi,

    I found out I have high blood sugar earlier this week and my Doctor prescribed me with Metformin, I had the hospital blood test today so am awaiting results which will be ready for me at my next appointment with him on Tuesday.

    So far I have only took one tablet of the 2 x 500mg per day which I have been prescribed, I'll take the second one this evening with my dinner.

    Can anyone tell me based on their own experience when the side effects will start if they are going to happen ? I know due to the half life of the drug it takes approximately three days to accumulate the full steady 'dosage' in my system.

    Also how long does it take for Metformin to make a difference to the blood sugar readings ? This is a little confusing as I have read people saying that it can take up to three weeks before it makes any difference - is this right ?

    Right now I don't know if I'm Type 1 or 2 but I guess I'll find out soon enough.

    Thanks

    Neil
     
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