General Practice 2022

Metformin: what it is for, how to take it and side effects

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Metformin: what it is for, how to take it and side effects
Metformin: what it is for, how to take it and side effects

Metformin is an oral hypoglycemic drug indicated mainly for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, as it works by reducing blood sugar levels to levels closer to normal, and can be used alone or in combination with other antidiabetic drugs oral.

This drug can also be used for the treatment of type 1 diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, and in some cases of obesity, and should always be used with medical advice, in doses and for the duration of treatment established by the doctor.

Metformin can be found in pharmacies or drugstores, in the form of 500 mg, 750 mg or 850 mg or 1000 mg tablets, under the trade name Glifage, or under the generic name metformin hydrochloride, sold by prescription doctor.

What is it for

Metformin helps reduce blood sugar levels and is indicated for the treatment of:

  • Type 2 diabetes;
  • Insulin resistance;
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome.

Treatment with metformin can be done with the use of other medicines for diabetes, as directed by the doctor.

Metformin helps to reduce insulin resistance as it is a substance capable of improving insulin sensitivity, responsible for transporting glucose to all tissues of the body. In addition, metformin helps in vascular protection, reducing atherosclerotic lesions, that is, the accumulation of fat in the arteries, and improving blood fat values.

Metformin makes you lose weight?

In clinical studies, metformin was associated with body weight stabilization or slight weight loss. However, this medication should not be used for this purpose unless directed to do so by your doctor, as it may cause side effects.

How to take it

Metformin tablets should be taken orally, during or after a meal, starting treatment with small doses that can be gradually increased by the doctor, which allows to reduce the occurrence of gastrointestinal side effects.

The tablets should be taken with breakfast, in case of a single daily dose, with breakfast and dinner, if taken twice a day, and with breakfast, lunch and dinner, in case take it three times a day.

Metformin doses vary depending on the condition being treated and include:

1. Type 2 diabetes

For adults with type 2 diabetes who are not insulin dependent, metformin can be used alone or in combination with other antidiabetic drugs such as sulfonylureas. The recommended starting dose is 500 mg twice a day or 1 tablet of 850 mg once a day and, if necessary, this dose can be increased by the doctor, according to the blood glucose test values.

2. Type 1 diabetes

For adults with type 1 diabetes who are insulin dependent, metformin and insulin can be used in combination to achieve better glycemic control. The recommended starting dose of metformin is 500 mg or 850 mg 2 to 3 times a day, while the insulin dose should be adjusted based on blood glucose levels.

3. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

The dose of metformin is usually 1,000 to 1,500 mg per day, divided into 2 or 3 doses. Treatment should be started at a low dose and may be gradually increased by the doctor each week until the desired dose is reached. In some cases, it may be necessary to use 1 tablet of 850 mg, 2 to 3 times a day. For the presentation of 1000 mg, it is recommended to use 1 to 2 tablets a day.

Possible side effects

The most common side effects that can occur during metformin treatment are digestive problems such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, loss of appetite or changes in taste.

Who should not use

Metformin should not be used by people who are allergic to metformin hydrochloride or the other ingredients in the formula, have liver or kidney problems, have uncontrolled diabetes, have severe hyperglycemia or ketoacidosis.

Furthermore, metformin should also not be used by people who are dehydrated, have serious infections, are undergoing treatment for heart conditions, have recently had a heart attack, have severe circulatory problems or breathing difficulties, drink alcohol to excess, have undergone major elective surgery or examination using iodine-containing contrast media.

Metformin should also not be used by pregnant or lactating women or children under 10 years of age without medical advice.

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