Metformin side effects

Trudie Ann
By Trudie Ann Latest Reply 2014-03-22 11:27:13 -0500
Started 2014-03-14 00:20:00 -0500

I have been on Metformin now for several years. The only side effect I have noticed up until now, is when it starts bringing my blood glucose levels down it causes gas, ( which is embarrassing). But lately I have been having some abnormally really bad head aches and other things. I was wondering what if any side effects or problems anyone else has had on Metformin.

56 replies

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-22 10:24:46 -0500 Report

I still haven't heard back from the endo with an appointment. I sure hope my doctor does send in the referral. If I don't hear anything next week, I will call back and see whats going on.

llleclair22 2014-03-21 23:25:12 -0500 Report

Hi Trudie, I was on Metformin, Actos & Glyburide for 10 years, all of sudden I started getting side affects and they took me off all 3 and gave me Janumet which I have been on for 3 years now and no side affects. Janumet is a combination of 2 diabetic medications. No heartburn or gas problems so far. If my sugars go up, they have me take Prandin on occasion. I was also on Gabapentin which did give me heartburn, gas, gained 40 pounds and sugar levels went up. Got off of that also and everything went back to the way it was suppose to.
Good Luck with everything and hope you can get into see a Endocrinologist. Mine was a life saver.

Chopstix 2014-03-21 20:15:18 -0500 Report

Has anyone tried apple cider vinegar? Yes acv! It not only helps with your blood pressure and blood sugar but is also good for gas, heartburn. That is one of the things I use it for…

jayabee52 2014-03-22 11:27:13 -0500 Report

Chopstix the acid in tha ACV can weaken the enamel of your teeth, so rinse your mouth out well each time the ACV is consumed.

Thruster Flyer
Thruster Flyer 2014-03-19 07:23:48 -0500 Report

Hi Trudie Ann, having the same side effects ( gas or pressure in the gastro tract giving me no end of trouble ). The headache's are not to bad and I'm able to put them aside. The wife understands why I absent myself quite often and go outside away from the people that are present when I've encountered a gas attack.
It does bring the sugar level down reasonably quickly.
Having someone who understand your problem (and mine ) will help with the embarrassing situation and assist in the privy moments to avoid emberrasment


Leslie S
Leslie S 2014-03-17 17:35:56 -0500 Report

I was on metformin for over a year. The side effects never got better. I finally went to an endocrinologist and he put me on victoza. No side effects!! Love it.

RainSoul 2014-03-17 07:55:01 -0500 Report

I got some pretty bad headaches when it was too high a dose at once … Check in with your doc.

GabbyPA 2014-03-16 11:13:43 -0500 Report

I have not heard of metformin causing head aches. The typical side effects are gastric in nature and usually go away after a week or so of taking it. Have you asked your doctor or pharmacist about that?

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-17 01:51:08 -0500 Report

Thank you Gabby. Yes I have. My doctor seems to think the head aches may not be related but doesn't offer any suggestions. All he did was increase my gabapentin. I went to a ear, nose, and throat specialist and he said nothing was wrong there. I am trying to find an allergist semi close that is either in my network or is reasonable cost. These head aches are seriously debilitating. I have also thought about a neurologist, maybe. Yes I am also have some gastric/intestinal problems also, I have been on Metformin for over 5 years and not only do I still have these problems but they seem to be getting a lot worse. I just wish I could find a diabetic specialist any where semi-close. My co-pay is higher for specialist so I believe if I had a diabetic specialist that could figure out who I need to see and how far away they are and refer me it would be great. (I'm sorry for venting, I get so frustrated that my doctor won't make suggestions, and my insurance says there is no diabetic doctor in network within 150 miles, "which is the max. distance they search"). Any and all suggestions are appreciated.

Sly Kitty
Sly Kitty 2014-03-16 08:48:49 -0500 Report

BTW never had that gas problem that so many here have mentioned. I too took it at night, but that didn't help me with the nausea as my doctor thought that was going to make the big difference. I had no pancreas issues prior to taking the Metformin and the day I started taking it started shaking and was so sick I could barely function and that went on for the nearly two years I took it. Now that I am on insulin I have none of those symptoms. To me I felt like I was swallowing poison everyday.

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-16 09:42:45 -0500 Report

Sly Kitty, I hate that some medicines cause us so much trouble with side effects. I am glad to hear you are feeling better with the change to insulin.

Sly Kitty
Sly Kitty 2014-03-16 08:36:24 -0500 Report

Metformin caused my pancreatitis issues and the reason my doctor took me off of it and put me on insulin. I know many people who do fine on Metformin, but I am so glad I didn't have to take it anymore. It made me very sick, nauseous and shaky. My doctor didn't believe me until all the tests came back from the gastrologist and I was diagnosed with pancreatitis. I took Metformin for about a year. You need to tell your doctor you need to get off it. I had many side effects immediately starting on it and they never got better.

jigsaw 2014-03-16 15:52:31 -0500 Report

I had pancreas issues while taking Metformin also. The doctors were not able to determine the cause. It remains a mystery, however, I suspect that it was not a coincidence due to the timing. You can see the details in my rather long reply to Trudie Ann below.

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-16 09:48:32 -0500 Report

Thank you Kitty, I've been on it more than 5 years. I do believe it is causing other problems than gas now. I do hope my doctor can figure it out, it seems like trying to find a needle in a hay stack. You almost need a magnet or exray vision for that. I hope he can find out what else is going on.

Sly Kitty
Sly Kitty 2014-03-18 05:56:19 -0500 Report

There are alternatives to Metformin and I hope your doctor finds one that works for you. Best Wishes.

kevEchan 2014-03-15 16:42:51 -0500 Report

Did you ever hear of the concept, "Crop Dusting"? My wife shared it with me: you gradually release gas from room to room, leaving little clue of "who is at fault". LOL

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-15 21:35:10 -0500 Report

That's funny. Yes I am a country girl so I have heard of crop dusting. Share cropping, and a lot of other old country terms. Thank you for a good laugh.

Carla48 2014-03-15 07:16:14 -0500 Report

Oh, Trudie…in my house hubby and I call the condition 'Metformin's Revenge'…He takes the max of 2500mg a day, I take 2000mg with glimepiride, and 24 units of insulin, and we have the occassional horrid diarrhea, with the gas! We joke about getting stock in Lysol since we use so much air spray!

jigsaw 2014-03-15 11:31:35 -0500 Report

It's jet propulsion that we must watch out for! The symptoms are obvious; When you are sitting down and suddenly with no effort whatsoever, your body flies upwards right off the chair, and into the ceiling, then it's time to have a discussion with your doc. In the worst case scenario, you could find yourself zipping around in midair, sounding like a motorboat! LOL!

I know it's a serious matter, but sometimes i feel an urge to break the tension with a bit of humor, hopefully in good taste.

Did I bring a vision into view for you?

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-15 21:40:50 -0500 Report

I used to dream I could fly but not with jet propulsion. To bad you can't bottle it and fuel your car with it like that corn squeezing stuff. It would boost your cars energy and also be cheaper that petrol gas. You would probably get some weird looks from other drivers due to the smell. LOL. Thanks jigsaw.

jigsaw 2014-03-16 08:08:31 -0500 Report

Weird looks for sure, especially if the car backfired! Lord help anyone behind that vehicle!

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-15 10:16:34 -0500 Report

I am the only one that is diabetic, so I have to run from the room when it happens. ( out of courtesy to him , altough I have been known to blame it on the dog LOL)

jigsaw 2014-03-16 06:50:11 -0500 Report

Don't be surprised if your dog knows who your blaming, and tries to get even! My dog does!!! I was sitting with a room filled with guests, when my dog suddenly came over, and sat down very close to me. Wouldn't you know it, she cut the cheese! It was very loud. The room suddenly became silent as everyone sat with anticipation! There I was with a sheepish grin on my face pointing at the dog.
I really don't think anybody believed me, but I'm sure the dog got a kick out of it as she began to wag her tail fanning the breeze!!!

msann 2014-03-14 14:44:24 -0500 Report


Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-14 14:57:14 -0500 Report

msann, Thank You. I am glad to hear about the extended Metformin helping your husband. I have heard other people saying the extended has helped them also. I am going to ask my doctor again if I can get him to let me try it. He usually says since what I'm taking does a pretty good job he doesn't see why I should change. I hope I can get him to at least let me try it.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-03-14 12:53:20 -0500 Report

It does cause gas. However, I am also lactose intolerant so I get it from dairy products. I also have acid reflux. My doctor game me medication for the acid reflux which I can buy over the counter. I also take my metformin with food. Now I don't have a problem with the metformin.

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-14 13:03:23 -0500 Report

I also take it with food, and I'm don't have any problems with dairy products. I am glad to hear that you no longer have the problem. I have to admit that mine isn't quite as bad as it used to be. It was really bad for a long time. I do still have the problem though and I have to be careful to not take it when in public.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-03-14 13:27:50 -0500 Report

My doctor told me to only take it at night, so I take it between 6 and 8 pm. Ironically, I just came back in the house was talking to my neighbor and asked her about it. She said she has the same problem but her doctor told her to take it at night. Gas is gone by morning.

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-14 15:05:51 -0500 Report

Thank you Just Joyce. I have to take 4 a day. I after each meal and I after a snack. I used to have to take 2 after each meal which was 6 so at least that is better. I am looking forward to spring again this year and the local farmers market opening back up. Last year while I had excess to lots of fresh produce at reasonable prices I didn't have to take it as much. Also like I told msann I am going to try again to try and get my doctor to let me try the extended Metformin and see if it will help alleviate some of the problem.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-03-14 21:19:46 -0500 Report

Our Farmers Market opens in 2 weeks. I am going to be making a lot more jewelry. Been lazy all Winter.

The man who use to repair our furnace was on 6 a day also. He said he always had bouts of dizziness. I told him to tell his doctor to do another A1C test because dizziness is a sign his BG could be low. He said his doctor never listened to him and the day he got his appt. his doctor was on vacation. The doctor covering had the test done for him. Turned out his A1C was down to 5.5 and the dosage of Metformin was no longer needed. The doctor also did some test to find out why he had lost so much weight in 6 months. Turned out he had cancer and died 6 months later. Doctors have got to listen to patients. Many of us know our body's and there are times changes need to be made. I hope you get your doctor to listen to you. good luck.

jigsaw 2014-03-15 11:53:29 -0500 Report

Now that's a scary story!
Meanwhile, I wish I was near your Farmers Market, so I could purchase some of your handmade jewelry for my wife. Bet you do beautiful work!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-03-15 19:59:25 -0500 Report

We try jigsaw. We use semi precious gemstones, wood, taqua nuts, coconut shell, paper, clay, glass, and for beaded jewerly for men we use stainless steel nuts and bolts. We bought some Sea Urchin spines and I have not done a thing with them yet. Went to a bead show today. We have specific wholesalers we buy from. I love the farmers market. The sage sausage on a roll is to die for, as is the pit beef.

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-14 22:22:05 -0500 Report

Thank you Just Joyce, I agree that our doctors do at least need to listen to us. They may know a lot about medicine but every ones body reacts different, not only that but as we age and take a medicine for any long period of time our body changes and our meds, may need to change also. Sorry to hear about the man you knew. Like you said we do know our bodies, although at times I may have been wrong, I can usually tell whats wrong. Even if I can't tell what it is I can tell something is wrong. We all only want what is truly best for us.

jigsaw 2014-03-14 09:26:37 -0500 Report

It took about a year or two, before I started to experience some side effects from Metformin. I actually had no negative side effects during the first year. Eventually, I started hearing some fairly loud grumbling sounds coming from my stomach. Some really bad acid indigestion followed, along with a gradual increase of constipation. The worst cramps that I have ever experienced, joined in on the bandwagon along with bloating. Thought I was going to have to go to the hospital! The constipation and cramps were so painful, that I could barely walk. There is actually more, and if your still curious let me know.

Bottom line, within a week after discontinuing Metformin, I was fine. Everything is back to normal, and I'm feeling good and it's been more than a year with no reoccurences.!

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-14 09:58:17 -0500 Report

Are you keeping your levels down by diet and exercise or are you on a different medication? I have been having a lot of these problems now for a little while, plus some others. I would be interested to what others you have had. I keep telling my doctor about it but it seems all he does is increase my meds. He has increased my Gabapentin 3 times which has in turn increased my problems.

jigsaw 2014-03-14 11:01:14 -0500 Report

Initially, none of my doctors felt that my experience was caused by Metformin. Approximately 6 or 7 different doctors that I had seen over a 6 month period of time, had different explanations, as possibilities. All of them felt it was not the Metformin causing my issues!

I have been on numerous different oral meds during 13 out of the twenty wears that I've had diabetes. I experienced mild to very uncomfortable side effects with most. I was taken off two medications by my endo, because he decided they were not safe, and I agreed.

It was determined, and as far as I'm concerned, that Metformin caused the problems that I described above. My endo now agrees. There is one problem that I experienced, that I cannot pin the cause down to for sure. It was discovered inadvertently that I have cysts on my pancreas, approximately 4 or 5 years ago. I have had three endoscopies and biopsies done by top specialists at Duke Hospital, with no cancer determined so far. Absolutely no discomfort in anyway , and if it was not picked up by a scan initially, I would not have known.

The doctor at Duke said that there were signs of past existing inflamation in my pancreas that could typically cause cysts. Strangely again, I never felt any pain or discomfort. No problems currently, other then mentioned, and no further explanations beyond that they simply don't know.

Since I was on Metformin when the cysts were discovered, it remains a possibility as the cause. Some of these oral diabetes medications can cause inflammation, and so I have my suspicions.

I am currently taking insulin even though my pancreas still produces it. A mutual agreement with my endo after many attempts at trying to convince him. My bg is very well controlled, no side effects experienced, and I feel the best ever!

I hope you find some satisfaction in your quest for solutions.

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-14 13:16:30 -0500 Report

Thank you so much Jigsaw. I agree that medicines, probably all medicines, have some side effects, which I am sure varies with different people. I just haven't been able to get satisfactory answers from my MD, so I was hoping to find some answers from other people on DC that have had the same problem. From some of the things I have read up on Metformin seems that in most cases it is the lesser of most (evils) diabetic medicines. I am glad to hear that you and your doctor have mutual agreements and have found a solution for your control. I think it is awesome that you are feeling so much better, that is what I am searching for.

jigsaw 2014-03-14 19:39:17 -0500 Report

Just to make sure there is no confusion, I know based on factual medical reports that Metformin is one of the safest diabetes medications available. Yes, I had bad reactions to it, but I know others personally that are doing quite well with it. It is also one of the oldest and most prescribed diabetes medications available. It's certainly worth while to explore all avenues and possibilities concerning its use. It's wise to know and weigh all the pros and cons along with your personal experience. At least, that's how I feel about it

jigsaw 2014-03-14 16:32:16 -0500 Report

I did go on the extended release Met, and not only was it as effective as the regular met, but it was easier to tolerate also.

jayabee52 2014-03-14 00:58:04 -0500 Report

Howdy Trudy

When I was on Met, I had some extremely foul smelling gas. It was like I crawled up inside myself and DIED!

I was working in a hospital at that time for an agency as a Certified Nurse Aide and I was told not to return until I had my problem solved. Fortunately I didn't have another shift in that hospital for 2 wks and by that time my problem somehow dissipated.

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-14 01:19:32 -0500 Report

Jayabee have you had any other noticeable side effects? I'm glad to hear your problem dissipated. Although mine never has, it has been over 5 years and every time my metformin starts working on lowering my blood sugar it happens. It doesn't matter if it is only a little high or a lot, it always happens. I'm retired, have been since before I was diagnosed and put on Metformin. I am an active member of the local vol. fire dept. ladies auxiliary. If I am going to a meeting or somewhere important, I either take my Met. long enough before I go, or after I leave so I don't gas everyone out.

jayabee52 2014-03-14 01:50:25 -0500 Report

No noted side effects, I think I remember looking it up on the net and discovered that it might be caused by lactose intolerance. but I don't remember drinking much in the way of milk at the time. So it is a mystery

I remember being member of a VFD in south central Nebraska for about 2 yrs. I really loved it!

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-14 10:00:40 -0500 Report

I enjoy it also. I wish more people would get involved or at least pay their dues. We have the most considerate fire dept. They even help outside our area if needed and never refused to put out a fire.

Donnamama 2014-03-15 22:37:56 -0500 Report

I had to go on insulin shots along with my metformin 1000 twice a day.cause last july started having lots of high readings. Now im having some lows.

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-15 22:45:02 -0500 Report

Donnamama, So far I don't take insulin. Just metformin. I am glad to hear that your readings are now lower. Mine does pretty good. I do have highs sometimes, and lows at times but they seem to average each other out so my lab work always turns out good. I just feel like something is changing and I don't know what.