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    Information about Metformin

    Metformin uses

    Metformin is used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. It is used in addition to diet and exercise to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes.

    How metformin works

    Metformin is an anti-diabetic medication (biguanide). It works by lowering glucose production in the liver, delaying sugar (glucose) absorption from intestines and increasing the body's sensitivity to insulin.

    Common side effects of metformin

    Nausea, Vomiting, Taste change, Diarrhea, Abdominal pain, Loss of appetite

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    Frequently asked questions for Metformin


    Q. Is Metformin helpful in patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)?

    Yes. Metformin is used off-label in the treatment of PCOS. It may be used along with other medicines to induce ovulation and regularize menstrual cycles. It also delays the development of type 2 diabetes if you already have prediabetes and aids in weight loss if you follow a diet and exercise program.

    Q. How does Metformin help in weight loss?

    Metformin helps in weight loss by decreasing hunger (appetite) and hence food intake. It makes the insulin already available in your body to work more effectively. This leads to decrease glucose production, increase glucose use and decreased fat deposits which further helps to lower body weight. However, it is not yet approved for weight loss, this is an off-label use.

    Q. Is Metformin useful in the treatment of infertility?

    Metformin is commonly used off-label for the treatment of infertility associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It regulates ovulation and androgen levels in the body and improves menstrual regularity and pregnancy rates and outcomes. This beneficial effect is thought to be due to improvement in insulin resistance by Metformin.

    Q. Can I take Metformin forever?

    Metformin is generally a safe and well-tolerated drug even on long-term use. However, it should be used for the duration prescribed by your doctor.

    Q. Does Metformin cause bloating?

    Yes, use of Metformin can cause bloating. To avoid these side effects, it is advised to take it after your meals.

    Q. Does Metformin help in improving your menstrual cycle (periods)?

    Yes, Metformin does improve menstrual cycle (periods) regularity in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). It is associated with insulin resistance, decreased ovulation, and high androgen levels which cause menstrual irregularities like delayed periods and scanty bleeding. Metformin helps in regularizing menstrual cycles by improving insulin sensitivity, ovulation rate, and decreasing androgen levels.

    Q. Does Metformin clear acne?

    Metformin is not indicated for clearing acne due to just any condition. It only helps in clearing acne in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) along with other problems like facial hair, abdominal obesity, and irregular menstruation.

    Q. Does Metformin cause weight gain?

    No, weight gain has not been reported with Metformin. Rather it helps in decreasing weight especially abdominal fat patients of type 2 diabetes mellitus and in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) along with other problems like facial hair, acne, and irregular menstruation.

    Q. Can I take Metformin with saxagliptin?

    Both Metformin and saxagliptin are anti diabetic drugs and can be used together. As they work by different mechanisms, they help in better control of blood sugar levels compared to either drug taken alone.

    Q. Does Metformin cause blurry vision?

    Metformin is not known to cause blurred vision. Change in vision in a patient with diabetes could be due to multiple reasons. Please consult your doctor if blurred vision occurs.

    Q. Can the use of Metformin cause vitamin B12 deficiency?

    Yes, long-term use of Metformin can cause vitamin B12 deficiency. long-term use interferes with the absorption of vitamin B12 in the stomach. If untreated, it may cause anemia and nerve problems and the patient can have tingling sensation and numbness in hands and feet, weakness, urinary problems, change in mental status and difficulty in making balance (ataxia). To avoid these problems, doctors usually suggest an intake of vitamin B12 from outside at least once every year.

    Q. How beneficial is it to take Metformin with linagliptin?

    Both Metformin and linagliptin are anti-diabetic drugs and can be used together. Their fixed dose combinations are also available and commonly advised once Metformin is unable to control blood sugar levels even after giving the maximum tolerated dose. As they work by different mechanisms, they help in better control of blood sugar levels compared to either drug taken alone.

    Q. Does Metformin use leads to anemia?

    Metformin may decrease the levels of vitamin B12 on long term use which may rarely cause a type of anemia in which blood cells are larger than normal (megaloblastic anemia). You may need to take foods rich in vitamin B12 like eggs, dairy products, and meat or a supplement from outside.

    Q. Is Metformin useful in the treatment of prediabetes?

    Metformin is seen to be useful in the management of prediabetes, a condition with blood glucose levels higher than normal but not high enough to label you as diabetic. Metformin makes the insulin already available in your body to work more effectively, decreases glucose production by liver and increases use of glucose by the muscles and lowers body weight. However, lifestyle modifications like a change in diet and exercise should be tried first as they are seen to be more effective than Metformin.

    Content on this page was last updated on 10 January, 2019, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)