Diabetes Medications: Metformin
This series on diabetes medications covers what people with type 2 diabetes need to know about the different classes of diabetes drugs: the benefits, drawbacks and side effects. This video is all about metformin, the most commonly used diabetes medication.
I’m Ansley from Diabetes- What To Know and this is the first in a series of videos about diabetes medications. Today we’re going to talk about metformin:
Metformin is the most commonly used diabetes medication. Because studies have shown that it can cause weight loss and may decrease your risk for heart disease, it’s usually the first drug that people with diabetes (or in some cases, people with pre-diabetes) are given. Recent studies have also suggested that it may decrease your risk for some cancers. Metformin is one of the most studied drugs in the diabetes landscape and we have decades of data on the use of metformin showing that it is safe. It’s the most effective oral medicine for diabetes, as well as the safest and least expensive. It’s often combined with other medications so that you can get the benefit of both medicines in one pill.
The side effects of metformin are diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, gas and mild nausea. These symptoms aren’t common, and if they happen when you’re first starting metformin, they usually decrease over the course of the first week. It’s recommended that you take metformin with meals as it’s less likely to cause abdominal issues when you take it with food. Choosing the extended-release version of metformin may also address these symptoms. If they don’t go away, though talk to your doctor about other medication options.
Another side effect to be aware of is that metformin can affect your absorption of Vitamin B12. If you’ve been taking metformin for several years, or if you have either anemia, numbness, or pain and tingling in your hands or feet, ask your doctor to check your Vitamin B12 levels. You may need to take a simple supplement.
Last, although metformin does not affect your kidneys, your doctor will check your kidney function and may lower the dose or stop your metformin if your kidney function is decreased.
And that’s the basics of what to know about metformin—thanks for watching.
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