TYPE 2 DIABETES - INFO ON METFORMIN
Next to insulin, metformin is the world’s most commonly prescribed medication for diabetes, especially Type 2 diabetes. The brochure that comes along with your medication, however, probably does not tell you everything you need to know.
Here is additional information for using metformin for it’s maximum effect:
1. The effects are greatest 2 to 3 hours after you take it. If you eat more carbohydrate at some meals than others, it makes sense to take your metformin just before your most carb-heavy meal of the day.
2. Take the same amount of metformin at the same time every day. If you forget a dose, don’t double up. This can cause your blood sugar levels to run too low.
3. Taking metformin at night can be helpful if you experience the dawn phenomenon… which is unusually high blood sugar levels due to a stress reaction in the hour or two before you wake up. Your kidneys will clear the drug out of your system at night, however, and you will be more likely to need to get up to pass urine.
4. The effects of this medication on your blood sugar levels build up over the course of about a week. If you stop taking it, it will be about a week before your blood sugar levels spike upward.
5. Extended release metformin (Glucophage XR) is taken in smaller doses than generic metformin. Sometimes diabetics who start a prescription for the same dosage of XR after taking generic metformin experience low blood sugars in the middle of the night.
And if you are just starting metformin, wait a week before deciding whether it’s working for you. The benefits of this medication usually kick in about the same time any short-term problem with stomach upset subsides:
- it is a derivative of the French lilac, a traditional herbal remedy for diabetes in parts of Europe
- it is usually the first drug of choice for many people with Type 2 diabetes, including children
- works by reducing the liver’s normal production of glucose, which is approximately 1 or 2 grams a day in the majority of people. These effects usually bring about lower blood sugar levels
- triglyceride levels
- the levels of other fats such as LDL (low density lipoprotein) or ‘bad’ cholesterol
- the appetite in many people
- loss of appetite
- stomach upset