Metformin is a widely used medication from a class of biguanides that has been used for more than half a century. It is used to treat people with type 2 diabetes who fail to keep their blood sugar levels stable by making lifestyle changes alone. In fact, many doctors view Metformin as the front line of defense for patients with type 2 diabetes due to its safety, effectiveness, and affordability. This diabetes medication doesn’t lead to weight gain and puts minimal stress on the body organs.
How does it work?
It makes the liver release less glucose, which leads to lower blood sugar levels. What’s more, this medicine makes cells of the human body more receptive to insulin. It should be noted that metformin helps keep diabetes under control, but it doesn’t cure the disease. Most patients need to take this medication for long periods of time.
Metformin for infertility
It’s true that metformin is successfully used for treating infertility. However, it’s not a universal option as it’s effective only if infertility is caused by:
polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
One of the popular Google searches about this medication is “how to get pregnant fast on metformin”. Sadly, no one can give you the answer as taking metformin doesn’t guarantee pregnancy, even though it’s highly effective. Metformin is usually prescribed for three month period or less. If it fails to lead to pregnancy, doctors switch to other options.
Other Possible Uses
Metformin can be used to treat prediabetes, especially in patients under 60. In addition, many doctors find it a good option for diabetes type 1 to support weight loss, enhance insulin sensitivity, and protect against heart disease. Finally, it helps in the treatment of gestational diabetes.Scientists are also trying to figure out whether metformin can help in the treatment of cancer, macular degeneration, aging, and a number of neurodegenerative diseases. However, such studies will take quite a while.
How to take metformin
When to take metformin, before or after meals?As a rule, this medication is taken during meals at about the same time every day. Timing metformin is necessary to avoid side effects such as stomach upset. Still, everyone is different, and there are nuances to be aware of. Those who do not suffer from any gastric issues might take metformin before meals. Also, you should know that metformin can impede the absorption of carbs. This might be the reason why some people have gastric issues if they take this medication with high carb meals. You can try different options and choose the timing that optimally works for you.
Can metformin be crushed?
Breaking, crushing, or chewing the pills isn’t the way you are supposed to take metformin, which is stated on the label. For instance, Metformin XR is released gradually over time due to a special coating on the tablets. If you take it in a crushed form, it simply won’t be as effective. If this is not an extended-release form of the tablet, the only way you can make it easier to swallow is to split it. What about dysphagic patients who can’t swallow large pills? Non-compliance with treatment might worsen their type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, there is a liquid form of metformin that can be a viable alternative for such people.
Can you drink alcohol while taking metformin?
Some people are absolutely fine with mixing alcohol and metformin, while others aren’t. It depends on:
the patient’s medical history
the amount of alcohol
frequency of drinking
levels of physical activity and other factors
Moderation is everything for people struggling with diabetes, especially when it comes to alcohol consumption. Metformin and alcohol both lead to decreased blood sugar levels, but when used together they can overwork your system, resulting in life-threatening hypoglycemia. Hold off alcohol consumption while taking metformin if you:
don’t know your limits with alcohol
have a liver disease
Can’t stabilize your blood sugar levels
Have stomach cramps
What does metformin look like?
Both brand-name and generic forms of Metformin are available for sale. They do not necessarily look alike. For instance, Metformin 500 mg produced by Teva are 14.7 mm x 8.1 mm and can be recognized by white or off-white film-coated oval tablets with “48” on one side and “93” on the other.
Debunking the myth about hair loss linked to metformin
Can metformin cause hair loss? Some people have reported hair loss or getting their hair thinner due to long-term metformin use. However, the majority of such cases can be a result of diabetes itself rather than metformin. Here is why:
Blood vessels are damaged by excessive sugar levels, which brings about issues with transporting oxygen to different parts of the body, including hair follicles.
Patients with diabetes type 1 can also develop a condition when the immune system sees the hair follicles as a threat and attacks them. As a result, hair falls out in patches. This condition is called alopecia areata.
Moreover, insulin resistance is common among patients with diabetes type 2. A number of clinical studies show that there might be a connection between hair loss and insulin resistance.
Women with PCOS, who are often prescribed metformin, have overproduction of androgens, which can also be a cause of hair loss.
Still, there are cases when metformin is an indirect cause of hair loss. A study carried out in 2013 demonstrated that there is an increased risk of developing a deficiency of folic acid and Vitamin B-12 (cobalamin) due to long-term use of metformin. It can lead to thinning hair, hair loss, and slower hair growth. This is the reason why metformin users are recommended to add more B-12 food to their diet.