Glucophage, also known as metformin, is a medication commonly prescribed to manage type 2 diabetes.
While generally well-tolerated, it can cause side effects in some individuals.
Common side effects include gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal discomfort.
Rarely, it may lead to lactic acidosis, a serious condition. Other less common side effects include vitamin B12 deficiency and metallic taste in the mouth.
Patients should monitor for these effects and consult a healthcare professional if they occur.
Metformin's popularity in the early 2000s surged as it became one of the most widely prescribed medications for managing type 2 diabetes.
Several factors contributed to its widespread use and recognition.
1. Efficacy: Metformin has consistently demonstrated its effectiveness in lowering blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
It is often a first-line treatment due to its reliable results.
2. Safety Profile: Compared to some other diabetes medications, Metformin has a relatively favorable safety profile.
It is less likely to cause hypoglycemia (dangerously low blood sugar levels) when used as a monotherapy.
3. Weight-Neutral or Weight-Loss Effect: Many people with type 2 diabetes struggle with weight management.
Metformin is known for its potential to either maintain weight or even contribute to modest weight loss, which appealed to both patients and healthcare providers.
4. Low Cost: Metformin is available as a generic medication, making it affordable for a broad range of patients and healthcare systems.
5. Research and Guidelines: Numerous clinical studies supported its use, and it featured prominently in diabetes treatment guidelines, solidifying its status as a go-to medication.
6. Cardiovascular Benefits: Emerging research suggested potential cardiovascular benefits, further enhancing its reputation.
7. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Metformin also gained popularity for treating PCOS, a common hormonal disorder in women, adding to its versatility.
For your information, there
are two main types of glucophage:
- glucophage with normal acting period -
- and glucophage with extended acting period (otherwise called Glucophage xr).
Clinical trials have shown that the second type of glucophage is much more well-tolerated by the patients.
In addition, only few of the glucophage side effects were observed in those patients, who were undergoing a treatment with the second type of glucophage.
Furthermore, side effects experienced by the patients were quite different. And of course, none of the subjects reported all the probable side effects.
Common Glucophage side effects include gastrointestinal issues, such as nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort.
These symptoms can be uncomfortable but often improve over time as the body adjusts to the medication.
Metformin can also lead to vitamin B12 deficiency, which may result in symptoms like anemia, fatigue, and neuropathy.
Regular monitoring of vitamin B12 levels is advisable for long-term users.
Serious but rare side effects of Glucophage include lactic acidosis, a potentially life-threatening condition characterized by symptoms like muscle weakness, trouble breathing, and an irregular heartbeat.
It's crucial to seek immediate medical attention if any of these symptoms occur.
Additionally, some individuals may experience a metallic taste in their mouth, changes in taste perception, or mild skin rashes.
It's important to note that not everyone will experience these side effects, and many individuals with diabetes benefit greatly from metformin with minimal issues.
Patients should always consult their healthcare provider, report any side effects promptly, and follow the prescribed dosage to ensure safe and effective use of Glucophage.
Ultimately, the decision to use metformin should be based on a thorough discussion between the patient and their healthcare team, weighing the potential benefits and risks.
Gastrointestinal side effects are among the most common issues associated with Glucophage (metformin) use.
They typically occur early in treatment and often resolve as the body adapts.
These side effects can include:
1. Nausea: Nausea is a common early side effect of metformin. To reduce it:
2. Diarrhea: Diarrhea can occur, but it's often temporary. To manage it:
If it will persist, should discuss with your caring doctor to stop glucophage and start other available alternatives.
Keep in mind that although 50% of patients reported diarrhea, other factors or drugs could influence.
3. Abdominal Discomfort: Some people experience a feeling of fullness or mild abdominal discomfort.
Strategies to alleviate this discomfort include:
4. Flatulence: Increased gas production and flatulence can be managed with these steps:
5. Vomiting: While rare, vomiting can occur. If you experience this side effect, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
There may be need to adjust your treatment plan as soon as possible.
It's essential to communicate openly with your caring doctor about any gastrointestinal side effects you experience.
He/she will offer guidance and may consider alternative medications or formulations if necessary.
Additionally, consider these general tips to minimize gastrointestinal issues while on metformin:
General weakness and headaches are less common side effects of Glucophage (metformin), but they can occur.
I. General Weakness:
1. Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can contribute to headaches, so ensure you're drinking enough water throughout the day.
2. Maintain Consistent Blood Sugar Levels: Follow your prescribed treatment plan diligently to avoid fluctuations in blood glucose, which can trigger headaches.
3. Manage Stress: Stress is a common headache trigger, so stress-reduction techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga may help.
4. Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers can help alleviate headaches. However, consult your healthcare provider before taking any additional medications, as they can provide guidance on safety and potential interactions with metformin.
If weakness or headaches persist or worsen, it's crucial to discuss them with your healthcare provider.
They can assess whether these symptoms are related to metformin or may indicate other underlying issues.
Adjustments to the treatment plan or alternative medications may be considered to manage side effects effectively.
There are certain side effects potentially dangerous for your health. That’s why you should be aware of them:
1. Lactic Acidosis:
It occurs when there's an excessive buildup of lactic acid in the bloodstream. This can happen if metformin is not effectively cleared from the body, often due to kidney problems or other medical conditions.
I. Use metformin under the supervision of a healthcare provider who can monitor kidney function.
II. Inform your healthcare provider if you have kidney problems, liver disease, heart issues, or if you plan to undergo surgery or any procedure requiring contrast dye, as metformin may need to be temporarily discontinued.
III. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption, which can increase the risk of lactic acidosis.
IV. Report any symptoms of lactic acidosis immediately to your healthcare provider for prompt intervention.
2. Vitamin B12 Deficiency:
3. Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar):
Be vigilant about monitoring blood sugar levels, especially if you're taking other diabetes medications in addition to metformin.
4. Allergic Reactions:
Written by Dr.Albana Greca Sejdini, Md, MMedSc
Medically reviewed by Dr.Ruden Cakoni, MD, Endocrinologist
Last reviewed 9/23/2023