How to reduce metformin side effects

How to reduce metformin side effects

What is metformin?

Metformin is a prescription medicine that comes both as an oral tablet and as an oral solution/syrup

Metformin oral tablet comes as: immediate-release and extended-release metformin.

  • Immediate-release tablets: These tablets have a fast onset of action by going into the system and start acting. They usually have a low plasma protein binding.
Plasma protein bound drugs are not available for action, as a result they are long acting
  • Extended-release tablets: These are pills with slow onset of action that are being released gradually overtime. They have a high plasma protein binding.

Immediate-release metformin is available with the brand name; Glucophage. While the Extended-release metformin is available under the brand names; Glucophage XR, fortamet, and Glumetza.

How does METFORMIN work?

Metformin belongs to the class of drugs that are known as biguanides. It works by:

  • Reducing the amount of glucose(sugar) made by the liver during glycogenolysis (process of breakdown of glycogen)
  • Decrease the amount of glucose absorbed by the body
  • Increase the sensitivity of the body to insulin.

Insulin is a hormone that is involved in the regulation of blood sugar level. It plays the major role of lowering blood glucose level when at a high level above the normal blood glucose level which is usually less than 140mg/dL

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What happens if you take metformin without food?

It is of utmost importance to take metformin with meal, though metformin does not stimulate the secretion of insulin but may cause hypoglycaemia if it is taken without food. Its rate of causing hypoglycaemia is low compared to other antidiabetic drugs, but increases when taken in combination with other antidiabetic drugs.

Also it should be taken with food to avoid or reduce stomach or bowel related side effects that may result from not eating.

Immediate-release metformin is taken two or three times daily and should normally be taken with breakfast and dinner. While the Extended-release is usually taken once daily and should normally be taken at night with dinner

Metformin Dosage, dosage for type 2 diabetes

  • Child dosage (ages 10-17 years)
    • Immediate-release tablets
      • Daily dosage:500mg twice daily
      • Maximum dosage: 2000mg daily
  • Adult dosage (ages 18-79 years)
    • Immediate-release tablets
      • Daily dosage:500mg twice daily, or 850mg once daily
      • Maximum dosage: 2,550mg daily
    • Extended-release tablets
      • Daily dosage:500mg once daily; Fortamet:500mg-1000mg once daily.
      • Maximum dosage:2,000mg daily.

How to reduce metformin side effects

  1. Take metformin with meal: when metformin is taken without meal, it increases your chance of becoming hypoglycaemic and experience some other side effects. Avoid taking the drug on an empty stomach.
  2. Switch from Immediate-release (IR) metformin to Extended-release (ER) metformin: if you are already using the Immediate-release metformin and you are experiencing some of this side effects, it’s ok to switch from the Immediate-release metformin to the Extended-release metformin due to its slow onset of action and because the Extended-release metformin is coated it’s long acting and is gradually released in the body, therefore the side effects are reduced totally.
  3. Avoid changes in your diet and supplement: avoid sudden changes in your diet and supplements. Your diet decision may influence how the metformin exert its effect.

Do you have any question for us? Feel free to ask in the comment section below and we will be glad to answer your questions.

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Published by healthpharma

The creator of Amphy Motivation, Amphysite, a student pharmacist, writer, online entrepreneur, blogger and motivator

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