Metformin For Diabetes: Dosage, and Side Effects – Metformin is a drug used to lower blood sugar levels in diabetics. It can be used as a single drug or combined with other blood sugar-lowering drugs.
In type 2 diabetes, the insulin hormone produced by the pancreas to regulate sugar levels in the blood cannot be used by the body optimally. As a result, blood sugar levels have increased.
Metformin works by increasing the body’s effectiveness in using insulin to suppress increased blood sugar levels. Please note, however, that this drug cannot be given to people with type 1 diabetes whose pancreas organs are no longer producing insulin.
In some cases, metformin is also used to treat PCOS disease. However, the use of metformin in PCOS sufferers still needs to be studied further.
Metformin For Diabetes Dosage
As a diabetes drug, the dose of metformin is usually adjusted to the medical condition of each sufferer, kidney function, and response to treatment. The doctor may ask the sufferer to take this drug in a lower dose for starters. However, the dose will gradually be increased. The doctor will also adjust the dosage according to the blood sugar level to find the most appropriate dosage.
Take this drug regularly as recommended by the doctor, to get optimal benefits. Don’t forget to take it at the same time every day. If you are already taking other antidiabetes medications (such as chlorpropamide), follow the doctor’s advice carefully as to whether you should stop or continue the drug long before starting metformin for diabetes.
It is also important to always check your blood sugar regularly as recommended by your doctor.
Metformin For Diabetes Side Effects
Diabetes mellitus is a disease caused by high levels of sugar in the blood. The purpose of diabetes treatment through the consumption of drugs is to help lower sugar levels so as to achieve the stability of normal blood sugar levels.
Although it is among the most reliable diabetes drugs, it turns out that metformin does not always work effectively for every type 2 diabetic. One of the causes is the side effects of this drug which actually weakens the health condition of diabetes (a term for diabetics).
Although rare, lactic acidosis has the potential to be the most serious side effect of metformin. Lactic acidosis is a buildup of lactic acid in the body, which can be fatal.
Lactic acidosis occurs because metformin is able to produce large amounts of lactic acid. Lactic acid itself is a product of anaerobic metabolism (without oxygen) that will make the blood pH more acidic. If the level is very high then it can cause damage or failure of the function of various organs of the body.
Lactic acidosis as a long-term metformin side effect can cause symptoms such as:
- Muscle pain or feeling limp
- Numbness or cold feeling in the hands and feet
- Difficulty breathing
- Feeling dizzy, head spinning, tired, and very limp
- Abdominal pain, nausea accompanied by vomiting
- Slow or irregular heartbeat
Vitamin B12 deficiency
Taking metformin in the long term leads to decreased levels of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause considerable health risks because it is important to perform the DNA function, red blood cell production, and other biochemical functions in the body.
Reduced vitamin B12 in the blood can also cause megoblastic anemia where the bone marrow cannot produce red blood cells adequately. Although this type of anemia is not common, it can occur due to vitamin B12 deficiency as a side effect of the use of this diabetes drug in the long term.
Here are symptoms of metformin side effects that cause vitamin B12 deficiency:
- Skin discoloration
- Inflammation of the tongue
- Reduced body reflexes
- Feeling restless and uneasy
- Reduced smell ability
- Nerve damage
- Difficulty walking
- Peripheral nerve disorders of the body, such as tingling in the fingers, fatigue, muscle pain, and forgetfulness.
Hypoglycemia is a condition in which your blood sugar levels are lower than usual. If blood sugar drops drastically, this risks posing a danger to your health. The condition is also sometimes found as a side effect of metformin consumption in diabetics.
Side effects of long-term metformin use resulting in hypoglycemia will give rise to symptoms such as:
- Limp and tired body
- Abdominal pain
- The head feels light or drifting
- Heart rate slows or gets faster.
Other Metformin Side Effects
In addition to the long-term effects that have been mentioned, there are also side effects that can appear in a short period of time from the use of this drug. According to a report from the University of Louisiana Monroe about 30% of people complain of other side effects of metformin use, such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Decreased appetite
- Muscle pain and cramps
- Abdominal pain
- Weakened body
- Coughing and hoarseness
- Limp and sleepy
Doctors will usually prescribe metformin in low doses in the early stages of diabetes treatment to avoid these side effects.
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