Meds-free Experiment

By Wishn4Fishn Latest Reply 2010-04-07 10:41:25 -0500
Started 2010-04-02 12:38:56 -0500

I'm conducting a personal experiment, if I asked the doc he'd probably not recommend what I'm doing.

I was only diagnosed 7mon. ago but after the initial difficulties in adjusting diet and life, things are in line (fasting BS avg. went from 200+ down to 90). That 90 is while taking 1000mg Metformin 2X/day. The nagging question in the back of my head, "how much of this is the constant watching what I eat, weight loss, exercising, i.e. everything I am doing to get this in check and how much of it is the beauty of modern science?" So as an experiment, I've temporarily stopped taking the MF just to see. It's been a week and my fasting avg. has gone up to ~100 so a gain of about 10.

How long do I need to be off of the MF to be able to make an honest assessment? Is a week long enough to know? Fasting BS of ~100 is higher than I would like but I'm basing that on doing everything (meds, diet and exercise) possible to get my BS in-order, is 100 good enough to seriously consider trying to be free of any medication, maintaining with diet and exercise alone? I am making assumptions that over time my body will will build up a tolerance to MF or change and I'll require more/stronger med's. Do the negatives of approx. 10 points higher now out weigh the advantages of being med free long term? Will not taking anything now mean that I can hopefully delay taking stronger meds later in life (really want to avoid using anything stronger than MF for as long as possible)?

I don't see me doing this for much longer than another week. Hopefully after that I'll know how much science is adding to the maintaining my BS. Than in a Dec I can talk to the doc about long term advantages/disadvantages of trying to go med free or if it's even worth it.

8 replies

Wishn4Fishn 2010-04-07 10:41:25 -0500 Report

If anyone cares. I'm calling it quits after 10days (not looking forward to what's going to happen in the next hour or so when that 1st dose of MF starts circulating). After what I thought was an average dinner, my post meal reading last night was 200+. Well above anything I've seen in a long time. I would have lived with a 10-20 point up swing and kept going but not 50+. At least now I have some idea how much the MF is helping which was the point.

Thanks KD for your feedback and advice on the "pre-existing" issue. But with going back on the meds guess that becomes a mute point.

kdroberts 2010-04-02 12:55:16 -0500 Report

You probably want to give it about a month for the metformin to completely leave your system and your body get back to it's baseline.

I think you are a little misguided in a couple of areas. Your body won't build up a tolerance to metformin, it will work in the same way regardless of how long you take it. You are right that your body will change over time and the effect that metformin has on you may not be enough. Your average fasting of 100 is not bad and no one can really say long term if 100 will be horrible compared to 90. However, you are really only getting a small piece of the puzzle with your fasting readings. What are your post meal numbers and A1c like? Do you know how big of a change you average after eating? Do you know what happens to your blood sugar when you exercise. Those will give you a fuller picture of how your control is since after eating is almost universally when diabetics have their highest readings.

On the medication side of things. There isn't a stronger/weaker divide. Each medication will do something different and it may work better or not so well for you. There are none that are stronger than others.

There is nothing wrong with managing diabetes with diet and exercise and there is nothing wrong with taking meds or insulin. They are are just tools to get the job done. You may find that you can do very well with no meds but you have to remember that whatever you are doing will have to be done long term and will probably get harder over time. Most insulin resistant people would be able to make enough changes to be med free but if the lifestyle they need to keep up is so strict and difficult (maybe cost and time), they may not be able to do it for very long. If you can get a good balance of no meds, diet, exercise and good blood sugar control which can be kept up long term then you are on a winner. If not, you will need some sort of help.

Wishn4Fishn 2010-04-02 16:15:10 -0500 Report

Thanks for the feedback.

A month to clear the MF? Guess I'll have a decision to make in a week or so.
Good to know that I won't build a tolerance to MF.

"Misguided", well probably, I know enough to know that there is a lot more I don't know. I can't go to the doc until Dec. Well, I could but since I was uninsured when diagnosed (gotten insurance since then and that's when I discovered the wonderful thing called "a pre-existing condition") I'm still paying for the initial visits. So for now (unless things take a turn for the worse) I get to figure everything out my own. That's why I here with you nice folks!

When I did see the doc he just wanted me to track my fasting and get post-dinner for 2 weeks before seeing him again. So I just keep track of fasting daily although I did start to check post-dinner once a week a couple of months ago (126 for the last 2 mon) but I don't check before eating. My initial A1c was 9.1 and down to 5.7 3months later. That was late Dec. and my fasting is ~20 lower now. No idea really how exercise affects my readings. Fasting readings still seem to fall into a range I think is normal compared to the resent avg. wether I work out in the AM, PM or not at all (take 1 day a week off).

Medications (making assumptions), MF seems to be the "starter" med and that if it doesn't work then you get up'd to something else. Also appears that insulin and/or additional meds seem to be the normal progression. Guess my hope is that if I've caught this early enough and I keep working hard at it, I can keep the body working at the staus quo for a long long time. Putting off the additional meds and insulin for as long as possible. Might be back to that "misguided" thing again. ;-)

kdroberts 2010-04-02 20:19:13 -0500 Report

OK, now you have a pre-existing condition I'm assuming you have a 12 month exclusion for diabetes? If so, and you can manage it without any medications for 6 months, you may be able to go back to the insurance company and say you don't have diabetes any more. In reality you still do but there is a defined meaning to pre-existing condition, being diagnosed, receiving medical treatment or advice for a condition. If you do not see a doctor and do not take medications you may be able to go back and challenge the insurance company and get the pre-existing clause removed. It definitely works that way if you are picking up insurance, I am not sure about what happens when you already have insurance and are in the exclusion phase.

Metformin is often a starter med, or a sulfonylurea like glyburide, but recently insulin, byetta, januvia, actos and avandia are being prescribed more and more as first line treatments. All depends on where your problem lies really since they all work on different areas of the body to reduce blood sugar. After a month off metformin you will have some data to look at where the metformin was not helping you at all. Whatever you are doing, keep it up because you are on the right track.

Wishn4Fishn 2010-04-02 22:50:28 -0500 Report

Interesting! Had no idea that I could challenge the pre-existing clause. Thanks! Gonna sick the HR lady on that on Monday morning!

kdroberts 2010-04-04 09:53:06 -0500 Report

Yes, like I said I know it works that way when you apply for a group insurance plan, not sure how it works when you have been excluded and then the 6 month period passes. It's a HIPAA law and there is a department at health and human services that will help you with HIPAA rules and violations. 6 months with no diagnosis, medical advice or treatment and you do not have a pre-existing condition! That's a reason where being able to manage with diet and exercise alone can be very handy because diet and exercise are not considered medical treatments. You got to find the rules and see if you can use them to your advantage.

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