Metformin: Do the relative merits of this drug outweigh the possible side effects?

By AuntieM234 Latest Reply 2015-02-23 22:24:24 -0600
Started 2011-05-29 21:21:32 -0500

I have been taking Metformin for about ten years now and, frankly, I haven't seen or felt any side-effects. I think some people have. It would be a shame if I had to make a change. Do any of you have first-hand knowledge and/or experience of this subject matter? I would love to hear it.

266 replies

Ganu 2015-02-23 22:24:24 -0600 Report

Hello Auntie,
A very Good Morning!!
Just would like to share my small story, when I came to know that I am Diabetic, same day Doctor suggested me to take Metformin. On same day when I took medicine, I felt panic or in right wording aggressive. Next morning again I felt same thing when I took medicine. Finally I stopped medicine, and started Diet therapy, Yoga and exercise. 5 months of disciplined life and diet, now achieved my HbA1C 5.7% from 10.3%.
I am not sure why I got panic and aggressive, due to medicine or the surprise which I came to know that time. Now a days, I don’t take stress and live happily with my family and friends.

Sven71 2013-08-22 11:27:39 -0500 Report

I am on 2000 mg a day and my intestines can't get used to it. So I am hoping for an other drug soon because this is getting in the way of living. (Finding a toilet within 2 minutes isn't always easy)

AuntieM234 2014-02-05 18:36:25 -0600 Report

Are you always taking your pills with a meal … not on an empty stomach? I take 850mg 3x/day with meal. What you're describing only happens to me when I take the pill, then forget to eat. However, some people just can't tolerate Metformin. Does your doctor know what you're going through?

aboreemor 2011-08-17 23:23:16 -0500 Report

I was taking 500 mg. twice a day because my morning BS was 130. The doctor raised it to 1000 twice a day and everything went bad. I was extremely tired, I had diarria every hour, cramps, muscle spasms, and was miserable. My doctor told me to try for three months so I did. After my last tests, I went back and told her I could not function that way. She lowered the dosage back to 500 twice a day and now I can not get my BS down under 150 each morning. Any ideas. I was on Actoplus but had evil nightmares and couldn't ever sleep. The side effects were AWFUL.

Sven71 2013-08-22 11:30:38 -0500 Report

Same thing here aboreemor, I am demanding another drug from my docter. Heard of Trajenta wich at least the nurse tells me good things about

AuntieM234 2011-08-18 01:32:18 -0500 Report

Dear Aboreemor: Its unfortunate that your Met was doubled, especially if it was done all at once. Did you change your eating habits during those months? Are you being vigilent about following a healthy meal plan?

policeofficer 2011-08-04 14:19:27 -0500 Report

I see that you spend alot of time on the PC. Are you retired?

jayabee52 2011-08-04 14:32:28 -0500 Report

to whom are you speaking? If to me, I am essentially retired. I am disabled.

policeofficer 2011-08-04 16:11:28 -0500 Report

I am sorry if you took it wrong. I hope you are feeling great.

jayabee52 2011-08-05 08:13:47 -0500 Report

Not a problem. I don't offend easily (not even if you tried).

Since it was a new start of a thread I didn't know to whom you were talking. I thought it might be me, but not certain.

I have a lot of "medical challenges" but am surviving, better than some, not as good as others.

Thanks for the kind thoughts

Blessings to you and yours


diabetes control
diabetes control 2011-08-04 12:26:23 -0500 Report

James I used it, do not recall the dosage, but no side effects. My doctor wanted to keep me on one for insurance, I took my self off in Dec, 2009, no medication since!

jayabee52 2011-08-04 12:32:59 -0500 Report

Aren't you having high BG readings? I want to say it's good not to use meds to control, but ——— at the cost of high BG numbers? IMO that's not so good.

diabetes control
diabetes control 2011-08-07 19:34:13 -0500 Report

this the comment I am upset with you about, personally I could not make it. You lose crediibiity, going forward I will just moniter, I can't have a high BG if I wanted one! Politics wins, I feel for those who are taking drugs that are hurting them!

jayabee52 2011-08-08 18:38:26 -0500 Report

Sorry this upset you. I didn't know that about you that you couldn't have a high BG reading. I myself am not on diabetes meds, so was not trying to promote diabetes meds. My only concern was for your well being when I wrote that.

diabetes control
diabetes control 2011-08-12 03:42:08 -0500 Report

after all I shown you made the statement "I didn't know", I do not like politics nor do I like illusions. If there is so much resistance among the sick, amplifly that resistance for those who are well. I had a friend once and his famous saying was "just frigging incredible". The rich and the famous have the money to take care of themselves. Eating right is costly, going to the doctor is costly, buying the right equipment is costly and all that was said to make this point. AOL had a list of 113 famous people to leave and go to heaven this year and only made it past 100 years old. I wish this board well, knowing what to do and not do is not easy. So many hidden sugars and let's face it, the big money business do not care. At least, Jack in the box, Burrger King, and Mc Donalds are making some changes in their menu. Bless every one here, for myself I suffered long time ago pain and illness, so I appreciate what feeling good is worth! I do not talk out the side of my mouth or deal with trickery. "It is what it is" New drug out, lower sugar and stops where as insulin would keep going and take you through the bottom, trouble is "it might take your kidneys out" and one pill cost just about five dollars. Gezzzzz!


diabetes control
diabetes control 2011-08-04 13:18:58 -0500 Report

Your memory is bad, you are painting a picture opposite to what my discussions and meter readings implied. Rare do I have a reading near or over 200. I am blessed to not have do look at every penny and nickel of what I eat, I have made changes to steering away from the no-no! My case might be special because I took charge and bought my sugar down the natural way immediately, still there was damage. Good luck!

jayabee52 2011-08-04 13:32:23 -0500 Report

Glad I remembered incorrectly! I am intrigued by what you mean by "bought my sugar down the natural way immediately", particularly "natural way immediately". I am intrigued and curious.

diabetes control
diabetes control 2011-08-05 08:21:25 -0500 Report

this has been a fruitful trip, one thing I have learnt, you have to be careful playing around with herbs if you are on medication. I am evaluating three products that drop sugar, infact two of them elevate sugar before it drops. BE CAREFUL!!!

diabetes control
diabetes control 2011-08-05 10:35:10 -0500 Report

it depends on what your condition is and what medications you are on. Good for me I started attacking as soon as I found my problem, and plus the events over a short span of time led me to see stuff that I would have never uncovered. Nothing will be said by those up top, they probably do not know!

diabetes control
diabetes control 2011-08-04 16:12:13 -0500 Report

Did some research with product status with the FDA, my particular product (looking at three) that I like the best should not be combined with insulin. My hospital stay show me I can tolerate insulin, Steriods were used to bring my swelling down, and Mama Cass watched over me on her shift like I was her child. Another product I am evaluating implied it would bring sugar down but had no effect on cancer. What is good for one person might not be good for another. Getting well and staying well is certainly complicated!

diabetes control
diabetes control 2011-08-04 14:10:29 -0500 Report

The natural way, cut starches, cut carbs, take the chroium and cinnanon, juiced veggies, stirred fried onion and bell peppers, and exercised for three to four hours every day! That was a hard pace to hold, I stopped and watch every thing climb back up. I was 25 pounds lighter than I am at this current moment. Now the eating every thing that is not nailed down is going away, but not exercising yet but getting plenty of rest.

diabetes control
diabetes control 2011-08-04 12:55:33 -0500 Report

my high reading was medical induced (di-latin and steroid), I do not take my supplements on regular basis, my numbers are always good, and if they could not be contolled I would go on medication. I sit between 94 and 109 and that is where I want to be! Medication if that is the only solution works to keep sugar under control but there are side effects. Weigh the pluses and minus and for most that is highway to staying well.

Marytea 2011-08-03 08:25:23 -0500 Report

I take 2 500mg of metformin daily. I have been on it since May 2011. I had a horrible time with it initially. Extreme fatigue and misery. However, I have adjusted to it and now seem side-effect free. You take care, my friend.

lisaloo2429 2011-11-14 10:33:05 -0600 Report

I was the same way, but it was more of stomach issues w/it. So I was told by my dr to take it once a day until my body becomes accustomed to it which took a few weeks. Now I take 500mg 2x's a day as well.

storminlori 2011-11-14 09:14:50 -0600 Report

I started taking metformin just about 1 year ago and have love 20 pounds by just cutting back on the amount of food I eat. Is this normal?

lisaloo2429 2011-11-14 09:36:36 -0600 Report

Metformin is given also for weight loss for extremely obese (per my dr) so yes it's very normal to lose weight on it. Good job on the weight loss. I bet you are feeling better w/the extra pounds off.

storminlori 2011-11-14 10:06:46 -0600 Report

I am feeling much better, but have a long way to go. When I couldn't find anything about weight loss, I started wondering if something else is wrong. thank you for your quick reply.

papidad 2011-08-03 17:15:17 -0500 Report

I am hoping that my fiancee can find the stamina and mental toughness to make it through this first month of taking the medication. I know it is difficult personally, i take blood pressure meds and they have side effects with them. Plus when i went through rehab at TIRR for adjustment to wheelchair mobility plus all types of meds to make my body function. Man that was an adjustment. LOL :)

AuntieM234 2011-08-03 18:13:44 -0500 Report

Pap: Lets hope YOU have the stamina to get both of you through it. Let's face it, it isn't going to be easy. While trying to assist your fiancee in adjusting, your love will be tested like never before. You are such a gentle man … you deserve the best!
;-) Mara

papidad 2011-08-03 18:36:59 -0500 Report

You are right my stamina is already being tested. I listen to spiritual tapes everyday that give me the blessings from God, his strength, his courage, his integrity and all that he is. Plus i have my own experience with pain,denial,confusion, and other aspects of change of lifestyle. I am also a member of 12th step programs with plenty of pain related issues there that i had to overcome and deal with. Most of all now I have an adopted loving family right here. LOL :)

papidad 2011-08-02 11:57:28 -0500 Report

Thanks for your comment. My fiancee is still suffering with headaches and tiredness

AuntieM234 2011-08-02 12:20:13 -0500 Report

Hello papidad: And you think the headaches and tiredness are side effects from the Metformin? What does your fiancee think? Headaches and tiredness can be caused simply from having D. Maybe it is the Met, maybe not. Its difficult to say with our disease, because it brings with it so many awful symptoms. ;-) Mara

papidad 2011-08-02 12:49:52 -0500 Report

I am not sure, she has a doctor's appointment this week. So i will know more once that is done. Thanks for your rapid reply. LOL!!!!;)

Brynne 2011-08-04 14:46:05 -0500 Report

Hi papidad, Brynne here. I had headaches before I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, since I've been on the medication, I haven't had any headaches. Maybe she should ask her doctor about high b/p?

AuntieM234 2011-08-02 19:03:15 -0500 Report

You're welcome! Will she allow you to go to the Dr appt. with her? Its usually encouraged that a Diabetic's support group be included in the educational aspects of their treatmnt plan. I don't see any reason for the Dr to object to you accomanying her to the appt. She is Blessed to have you in her life and taking such a serious interest in her well-being. You're definitely a keeper! ;-) Mara

papidad 2011-08-02 20:34:19 -0500 Report

Thank you for such a sweet encouraging reply. I will check to see if I can go with her. You know God has truly been with me, giving me patience to deal with her anxiety, tolerance to deal with her stubbornness, and endurance to be by her side no matter what. I understand the denial process, I went through it when i lost the use of my lower body. If you did not know i am confined to a wheelchair. Gunshot to the back in 1978. LOL :)

AuntieM234 2011-08-03 08:16:16 -0500 Report

You're welcome! Btw, do you mind telling me your name? No, I didn't know about the wheelchair. Shooting someone in the back is the epitomy of cowardess. Hopefully she will always be willing to have you accompany her. As her fiancee, it is imperative that you be kept in the loop! Good luck and God Bless you! ;-) Mara

Kathae 2011-07-13 23:22:59 -0500 Report

Metformin is supposed to be tolerated well by most people. But with me if there is the slightest chance of a side effect its going to be me. If I had all the money I have wasted on medicines over the years, I would be rich. Anything from pain medications to antibiotics even some blood pressure meds. I either have an allergic reaction or I just get sick. I just have a lousy immune system.

jayabee52 2011-07-13 23:43:11 -0500 Report

My bride "Jem" was very much like that when she was alive. When asked in the ER what meds she was allergic to, she would tell them: "It would be easier to tell you what meds I was NOT allergic to."

So I know a bit of what that is like. Her immune system was not just lousy, because she had Lupis (SLE) among other things, her immune system would attack her vital organs. But what she lacked in health, she made up for in spirit, kindness and humor. She was a true Gem of a lady.

Kathae 2011-07-13 23:56:01 -0500 Report

I am so sorry for your loss, but you certainly have nice memories from the sound of it a wonderful lady.

jayabee52 2011-07-14 00:02:20 -0500 Report

Extremely positive memories. She renewed my faith in women after I had such a bad experience with my ex divorcing me out of a 25 year marriage.

Kathae 2011-07-13 20:04:55 -0500 Report

I am also on metformin and I have been nauseous for weeks now, I finally decided to look up side effects, and sure enough nausea is one of them. If there is even a 1% chance of side effects I will get them. Can't get to see my doctor until 20th of August, can anyone give me an alternative to metformin so I can have a chance to look up side effects before I go to the doctor?

MiLyn 2011-08-02 12:02:12 -0500 Report


AuntieM234 2011-08-02 12:12:19 -0500 Report

Actos and Metformin are different types of Diabetes medication. Also are you not aware that Actos and Avandia are at the center of a class action lawsuit, wherein people are contending they've had heart attacks and strokes as a result of taking the meds? I wouldn't recommend them until that issue has been resolved. ;-) Mara

jayabee52 2011-07-13 21:09:51 -0500 Report

When I had my kidneys shutdown I was on Metformin, and I was throwing up when my kidneys shut down. I had no problems before that.

I pray it is not happening for you that way (kidney problems). I ended up in the ICU for 2 weeks and a regular room for 1 week. Nothing was said at the time but I was switched from metformin to NPH insulin which I was taking until about 6 mo ago. (Now I control my BG numbers by simply what I eat.)

The only other oral medication for diabetes I took was glipizide, but I took that in combination with Met. so really don't remember much about that.

MiLyn 2011-08-02 12:03:38 -0500 Report

I take met and glipizide plus 2 different insulins and still have very high sugars.

AuntieM234 2011-08-03 22:27:47 -0500 Report

Are you sticking to a diet plan and getting a reasonable amount of exercise? I think you need to discuss this with your Dr. If you are doing what you're supposed to do, in my opinion you shouldn't have to be taking that much meds. Have you attended a class to learn how to live with Diabetes. Something just doesn't sound right to me about this. ;-) Mara

AuntieM234 2011-07-13 20:53:13 -0500 Report

Hello Kathae and thanks for your response. Are you always taking the metformin with food? Are you actually throwing up or just queasy? Because if you are actually throwing up, August 20th is too long to wait to see a doctor. I don't know any other drugs I could recommend to you. Besides Metformin, Actos is the only other oral medication I've taken. I no longer take Actos, though and I can't recommend it, because Actos and Avandia have a class action suit being developed against them. The suit may have already been filed. I'm not sure, I've only seen TV ads asking anyone who has had heart attacks or strokes, or anyone whose loved one died of either while taking one or both of the drugs to get in touch with the law firm. I know that doesn't automatically make the medications guilty, but I can't recemmend either until it is resolved. I hope you get the information you need.;-) Mara

Kathae 2011-07-13 22:38:12 -0500 Report

Yes I always take it with food, after breakfast and after dinner. I was just constantly nauseous, making it impossible for me to eat much. My doctor just raised the dosage from 850 mg to 1000 mg. Before the 1000 I was just nauseous in the morning, then it was all day. I had my blood sugar down to just eating right, and I am not much overweight, but then something happened where it shot back up again. This is a bummer! I not only have to check the sugars I eat, but the salt as well. Luckily I like veggies and fruit, but some fruits have more sugar than others. I get kind of sick of watching everything I eat.

Brynne 2011-08-04 14:57:16 -0500 Report

Hi Kathae, I was having problems with the medformin, my dr. lowered the dosage to 500mg's 1x per day, untill I felt better, which only took a couple of days being on 500mg, then we increased it gradually back up to 1000mg x2. Maybe you should go on a lower dosage than even 850mg, and eventually work it back up to where you need it. I hope it works for you.

Kathae 2011-07-13 22:33:50 -0500 Report

My kidneys were shutting down, but I got back on track afer visiting a renal specialist. A couple of things I had to eliminate was salt and aspirin, and lower my blood pressure medication. I cut out both salt and aspirin and my blood pressure meds were lowered for me, after my last renal panel I was back to normal.

AuntieM234 2011-07-14 14:48:18 -0500 Report

The Renal specialist didn't take you off Metformin? But he did have you lower your blood pressure med? Interesting. ;-) Mara

Kathae 2011-07-14 21:16:33 -0500 Report

Yes, and I stupidly didn't ask him what the relationship was. He wants me to lower on BP med until I am off it completely. Getting rid of the salt has helped keep my BP stable, so I am doing pretty well at that. I haven't seen my primary care Doctor since, but I am going in Aug. so we will discuss that at that time.

AuntieM234 2011-07-15 14:23:20 -0500 Report

That's good that you will be going in to see your PCD soon. Does he have you go in for labs before you see him? I hope you are doing well on all fronts! Thanks for your participation here! ;-) Mara

AuntieM234 2011-07-16 05:03:38 -0500 Report

Thanks for the response. I hope your labs are great! Please be sure to check back in with us, as I will be anxious to see how well you are doing. ;-) Mara

jayabee52 2011-07-13 23:05:34 -0500 Report

I was not so fortunate. I was oblivious to the problems I was causing myself.
I almost died on my bedroom floor for 5 days and nights in a semi-comatose state.
I had to go on dialysis for the rest of my life (or so I thought at first). I eventually did come off of dialysis after 10 months, but now some 5 yrs later am facing dialysis again because my renal numbers are bad again. And that will probably be for the rest of my life, if I don't get a transplant.

donna62M 2011-06-17 06:59:13 -0500 Report

I was taken off metformin when it put me in lacticacidosis(I think that is how you spell it).

Then a couple of years later i developed areaction to my other oral drugs for my diabeties and are now on novo mix 30 before b"fast and tea…

After this last bout of asthma though I think they want to start me on shots four times a day…not looking forward to that.

But saying all that…while I could take it it workedwell for me

Kathae 2011-07-13 20:57:06 -0500 Report

Thanks, I will check it out. I also have asthma and thyroid disease, these are all autoimmune diseases, and I certainly have a lousy immune system. I have my asthma under control though.

AuntieM234 2011-06-17 07:09:36 -0500 Report

Hey donna62M! I'm so sorry you are having difficulties with meds. I hope your asthma improves, or at least dissipates in frequency. Thanks for your input. It is sincerely appreciated. ;-) Mara

donna62M 2011-06-17 07:19:13 -0500 Report

if I lived in a bubble right now I'd befine…no cold ,flus, etc…maybe I will have to be like the Japaness and start wearing a mask wherever I go…HA HA HA

purple1900 2011-06-17 01:05:21 -0500 Report

after being on metformin for six months I was taken off of it today because I am breaking out in hives from it. The doctor started me on glipizide and the first time I took it today my sugar dropped to around 50

AuntieM234 2011-06-17 06:20:50 -0500 Report

Thanks, purple1900, for your input. Its always great when one finds a medicine that works well! ;-) Mara

purple1900 2011-06-17 10:57:13 -0500 Report

that is the first time my sugar has gotten below 70 and I have to say it scared me. I felt like I was going to pass out. I had a fan blowing on me and was still pouring in sweat. My boyfriend was a great help for me

Audbabbitt 2011-08-03 14:40:15 -0500 Report

You may be correct! I have recently stopped taking one of the medications (stopped on my own) and have not had any low readings since. What is T1 or T2?

jayabee52 2011-08-03 22:19:37 -0500 Report

T 1 = "type 1" diabetes, used to be called "juvenile or childhood onset" diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes (not entirely accurate)
T 2 = "type 2" diabetes used to be called "adult onset" diabetes. Usually is
controlled by oral medications, and sometimes by insulin, or other injectable
medications. Some people can control it by what they eat and with

Audbabbitt 2011-08-04 12:14:01 -0500 Report

He merely says Type 2. It's not a problem really. I should have realized the T stood for Type and the 2 it goes without saying. Thanks for the question.

jayabee52 2011-08-04 12:24:33 -0500 Report

Well we here at DC (and other diabetes sites) can be guilty of slinging around Diabetic Lingo thinking that people can understand it. I try to be aware of it, but sometimes I forget too and sling the lingo.

I had been told by a friend here on DC that I use parentheses to explain too much, that I don't need to. But I'd rather explain too much than have someone going away scratching their head wondering what I meant and was afraid to ask thinking it would be deemed a "stupid question." (yeah I know "C" too much explaining! LQTM!)

AuntieM234 2011-08-04 18:31:34 -0500 Report

I'm with you on too much explaining. I may be guilty of that as well, but on this site, I think over-explaining is infinitely better than misunderstanding. I'm sure you agree that its somewhat difficult (in some situations) to write a response that won't be taken the wrong way. Face to face is much easier, but we work with that which is available to us. ;-) Mara PS: What is LQTM, please?

jayabee52 2011-08-04 12:35:03 -0500 Report

That's good! I tell folks that IMO the only foolish or stupid question here is a SINCERE question which is NOT asked!

AuntieM234 2011-06-17 18:18:30 -0500 Report

God Bless You! And God Bless your boyfriend for being there and being helpful! Wow, I just am still amazed you were that low! Thanks, again. ;-) Mara

purple1900 2011-06-17 18:47:04 -0500 Report

it was scary cause I came home from the doctor and took the pill with food and took a nap and woke up that low I was diagnosed in January when I went to the ER for the stomach flu. They thought it was my apendix and when they did all their blood work it was diabetes

AuntieM234 2011-06-17 19:29:25 -0500 Report

Well, at least they caught it before they cut you open! Its a good thing that they always perform the CBC test, to confirm!

purple1900 2011-06-17 19:38:56 -0500 Report

I feel very blessed with the medical care I receive. I am a veteran and I am also on social security at the age of 36. I have the option of using medicare with copays or going to the Veterans hospital for free. My prime care doctor always makes herself available to me and has called me at home after visits to other doctors to see how I am doing. I was in the ER two weeks ago with an abcessed cyst and she called the next week to see how I was doing and when I saw her yesterday she referred me to a surgeon to have the cyst removed because she doesn't like the way it feels. I am able to call and speak with the nurse if I have a question and usually have a call back within 24 hours

AuntieM234 2011-06-17 21:37:29 -0500 Report

That's great! I know what you mean about receiving good medical care. I feel Blessed to be able to have the medical care I do. I have easy access to my PCP via email, and he always gets right back to me. Just this past weekend I developed a problem and I didn't want to go to the ER. I went online to make an appointment with my Dr, but it was showing he didn't have any openings until the 20th of the month. I decided to email my Dr, which I did at 5:25 AM. Before 8AM the same morning my Dr responded to my email, telling me to go right in to see him! What a relief, I don't actually go to the Dr very often, but I always know when its really important. It turned out that I have an infection, so I have these big horse-like antibiotic pills to take 4xday for ten days. I am truly grateful for my health care. I just wish everyone could be as fortunate as we are in that regard! Thanks, again, for your input! ;-) Mara

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