Metformin for Diabetes Management and Weight Loss

If you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, there is a very good chance that your doctor has prescribed you Metformin. It is one of the most common medications used in treating people with type 2 diabetes. In fact, it has been prescribed across the world more than 120 million times. So, how good is Metformin against diabetes?

The Diabetes Prevention Program or DPP has conducted a study on the prevention of type 2 diabetes. According to the findings, diabetes incidence was significantly reduced by 58% with the help of Metformin and some lifestyle interventions while placebo only got 31%. Metformin helps by decreasing blood sugar in several ways. It can reduce the glucose levels that the liver produces. At the same time, it also helps reduce the amount of sugar that the intestines absorb.

It is this particular property of the drug that has led a lot of people to think about whether Metformin would make an effective diet pill.

Metformin and weight loss

According to a study, the use of Metformin over time may lead to weight loss.

Weight loss in the group who was prescribed Metformin was successfully maintained through the combination of DPPOS and DPP period and participants have lost an average of 2.5-kg over time. In this same study, it was also established that the drug has helped significantly reduce diabetes development.

In the DPP or Diabetes Prevention Program, Metformin has helped reduce diabetes development by 31% within an average follow-up period of 2.8 years.

This study concluded based on the results that metformin helps in reducing diabetes and can help with weight loss.

Can metformin be taken by non-diabetics?

Considering how Metformin seems to have aided in weight loss, you are probably wondering whether it would make for an effective weight loss drug. However, considering how there is only limited data gathered from the research, the drug is not approved as a weight loss prescription treatment. While it may have shown to assist people in losing some extra pounds while taking the medication, there is still not enough evidence that it will be a good remedy for those who are overweight and obese looking for a prescription that will help them lose weight.

Other weight loss medications

If you are interested in Metformin due to how it decreases the amount of sugar that the intestines absorb, you might want to look into Orlistat. A known weight loss medication, it works by preventing fat absorption in the intestines. It helps reduce how much fat your body absorbs. It is also effective at keeping your weight down while keeping your overall body fat low, provided that it is taken properly in the right dosage and with the aid of a good exercise routine and proper diet. Orlistat is the generic name of the drug and some people might know it in its branded form, Xenical. Regardless of which of the two you will end up getting, they are both the same weight loss medication.

Can Metformin damage the kidneys?

According to the study mentioned above, Metformin is properly tolerated by the body even after an extended period. It does not cause any issues to the kidneys as well. However, if you already have problems with your kidney prior to taking the medication, then it can potentially cause other issues. The reason for this is because the elimination of metformin from your body is done by the kidneys. So, if you already have a problematic kidney to begin with then your body will not be able to eliminate the drug. This causes it to build up over time. Eventually, this can lead to lactic acidosis, although the condition is considered a rare occurrence.

How long before Metformin takes effect?

Metformin is a quick-acting drug. Typically, you will start seeing the results within just 48 hours from the time you started taking the medication. Depending on the dosage you are recommended,  you should experience the maximum effect of the drug within 5 days from the time that you have started your Metformin routine.  

I missed a dose, what should I do?

If you miss a Metformin dose, make sure to take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, however, then just skip the missed dose. It is not recommended to take 2 Metformin pills just to make up for a missed dose.

Can I buy Metformin without a prescription?

In the UK, you can only get access to Metformin if you have a doctor’s prescription. This is mainly due to the lactic-acidosis risk that the drug carries. If you do not have a prescription, there are a variety of online services that can assist you in securing one.

What is the cost of Metformin?

Currently, Metformin can be bought for £12.99 for 500mg tablets of 56 pieces. The 850mg tablets are currently priced at £13.99.

Are there side effects to taking Metformin?

Most people that have been taking Metformin for a long term have not experienced any side effects. Below are some of the potential side effects you might experience:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Asthenia or physical weakness
  • Flatulence or gas
  • Myalgia or muscle pain, symptoms of weakness
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar
  • Lactic acidosis (rare), abdominal pain or GI complaints
  • Low levels of vitamin B-12 in the blood