I am a type 2 diabetic and after 12 years of controlling my sugars with diet and exercise it seems they are now rising. My last A1C was 7.7 My doctor has prescribed Metformin. I have never taken the drug before so what should I expect in terms of side effects and what should it do for me?
First of all, you should know that the fact that you now need medication to control your blood glucose does not mean that you have “failed” in any way. It is the nature of type 2 diabetes that the body tends to need more help over time. There are a lot of good things about metformin. It is very effective. People can typically lower their A1C by approximately 1% by taking metformin. It is very safe. It has little to no risk of causing hypoglycemia. It does not cause weight gain as some other diabetes treatments can. There is even some evidence that metformin decreases the risk of certain types of cancer, though this has not been firmly established. All that, and you can get it for $4 per month! For these reasons, metformin is always the first medicine we reach for in type 2 diabetes unless the individual has a specific contraindication, a reason that they cannot take it. Contraindications to metformin include kidney disease, cirrhosis, and unstable heart failure. Metformin can cause side effects. Diarrhea is the most common one. Side effects are less likely when metformin is taken with food. Starting at a low dose and increasing the dose slowly can also help.