Metformin: how to stop taking it and what are its effects?

Metformin is a reliable drug for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. However, it’s also possible to cause serious side effects in some people, so it’s not always a must.

Also, in 2020, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). recommended discontinuation of prolonged-release metformin tablets by some manufacturers. That’s because they found an unacceptable level of a possible carcinogen in those drugs.

It is estimated that metformin has been prescribed to more than 120 million diabetic patients worldwide. However, it can cause adverse effects on the digestive system. For this reason, many people choose to stop taking it.

What is Metformin?

Metformin is the most common drug in the world for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Its role is to they help control blood sugar levels. It is taken orally with meals and comes in two forms: tablets and clear liquid.

This drug is also prescribed for people with prediabetes and in some cases polycystic ovaries. It is used alone or in combination with other active ingredients. It belongs to a family known as biguanides.

Metformin does not cause weight gain it is considered the most accessible medicine on the market for the treatment of diabetes. Experts agree that you can stop taking it by adopting a healthy lifestyle. However, this must always be authorized by a health professional.

How does it work?

Metformin is not a medicine to treat type 2 diabetesbut to treat the symptoms. Its fundamental action is to effectively reduce blood sugar.

This is achieved through 3 mechanisms:

  1. Decreases glucose production from the liver.
  2. Reduces the absorption of glucose from the intestine. This delays the arrival of sugar into the bloodstream.
  3. Increase sensitivity and the reception of the body’s cells to insulin. This allows you to better use glucose as an energy source.

Additionally, metformin helps with other aspects associated with type 2 diabetes, such as the following:

  • Reduces appetite. This promotes moderate weight loss.
  • Increases cholesterol WELLor HDL.
  • Reduce cholesterol Bad or LDL.
  • contributes to this lower the level of triglycerides in the blood.
Elevated cholesterol in diabetes.
Metformin has an indirect effect on blood cholesterol, which helps in the general approach to a diabetic patient.

Risks and side effects of metformin

Many of the people who consume this drug have digestive problems. A study published in the magazine Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism in 2017 points out that the most common gastrointestinal symptoms are diarrhea and flatulence.

Other common problems are:

  • Nausea and vomit.
  • abdominal cramps
  • Loss of appetite.
  • metallic taste.

In general, metformin isn’t recommended for people with a history of:

  • Liver disease.
  • Serious kidney problems.
  • Psychoactive substance use disorder.

vitamin B12 deficiency

have been detected some cases where metformin decreases the absorption of vitamin B12. This occurs only after prolonged use of the drug. In any case, the doctor must monitor the values ​​of the nutrient throughout the duration of drug consumption.


THE hypoglycemia It is a condition in which there are low blood sugar levels. It is a rare effect of metformin, but it can happen. Most commonly, this occurs when it is combined with other active ingredients or with insulin.

Lactic acidosis

Lactic acidosis is a condition that can be fatal. It has to do with the buildup of lactic acid in the blood.

This is a rare side effect of metformin, estimated to affect only 1 in 100,000 patients. This usually occurs in people who also have kidney failure.

How to stop taking metformin?

Metformin is an important part of the treatment of type 2 diabetes, but in some cases it is possible to reduce the doses or stop them. Because of this, The first thing is to consult your doctorfor it is he who has the correct criteria.

It is possible to stop taking metformin and even overcome type 2 diabetes with some lifestyle changes, as we will discuss later. In the meantime, certain criteria must be met before the drug can be tapered or discontinued:

  • Fasting or pre-meal blood sugar should be between 80 and 130 milligrams per deciliter.
  • Glycosylated hemoglobin should be less than 7%.
  • Your glucose level should be 180 milligrams per deciliter or less after eating.

If these criteria are not met, stopping metformin may be too risky. It is indicated that the doctor supervises the whole process.

Lifestyle changes

A study published in 2017 pointed out that type 2 diabetes can be controlled through dietary knowledge, attitudes and practices. This is a healthy lifestyle, based on a correct food plan.

Other 2018 survey noted that half of participants in one program achieved remission of type 2 diabetes after one year of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, the best way to stop metformin, when the criteria are met, is to form appropriate habits.

In general, the changes to be made include the following actions:

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Reduce your carbohydrate intake.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Do not smoke and do not drink alcohol.
Older adults with diabetes stop metformin from exercising.
Regular exercise is a key factor in trying to stop or reduce the dose of antidiabetic drugs.

More available options and alternatives to metformin

Sometimes it is possible to replace metformin with other drugs. This could be indicated for those cases in which there are very annoying side effects, but the patient is not able to completely stop taking antidiabetic drugs.

Possible substitutes are as follows:

  • Prandin ® or repaglinide.
  • Canagliflozin or Invokana®.
  • Dapagliflozin or Farxiga®.
  • Empagliflozin or Jardiance®.
  • Actos ® or pioglitazone.

Also there are some medicinal plants that could be used to reduce the symptoms of diabetes. Among them are bitter melon, fenugreek, apple cider vinegar, and aloe vera neem. Each of these options must have corresponding medical approval.

It goes without saying that a professional visa is required to stop taking metformin. Otherwise, not only the symptoms of diabetes may increase, but complications may also appear.

Post metformin: how to stop taking it and what are its effects? first appeared on research-school



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