Why Does First Time Consuming Metformin Make Me Feel Awful?

It has been observed that whenever metformin is prescribed to any patient for the first time. He/she complained that “Metformin makes me feel awful.” The reason behind this is that they are given the immediate release IR version of the tablet. The most common reported complaint is an upset stomach.

The sufferers of type 2 diabetes mellitus are everywhere. Many people are using metformin and are also getting satisfactory results. But several cases complain that metformin makes me awful. There is always a reason behind this complaint that needs due attention.

What possible causes are there due to which people complain that metformin makes me awful? Let’s discuss every aspect in detail. Stay tuned till the end. I hope all your queries get cleared today.

What is Metformin?

Metformin is generally used for the treatment of type two diabetes mellitus. It is administered orally and sold with the brand name Glucophage. The medicine aims to improve blood sugar levels in adults. Primarily metformin is used along with diet and exercise to fight type 2 diabetes. Sometimes it is other medications like insulin. Be careful; metformin is not for the treatment of type 1 diabetes.

metformin

Metformin Makes Me Feel Awful : Is It Real?

Yes, it is true on many occasions. Metformin causes awful effects on some people. But these effects are all mild, hence not a matter of worry. People who are associated with taking metformin for the first time get awful feelings generally. Headache, nausea, and gastric distress such as stomach pain, gas, bloating are very common among people who are starting up on metformin.

Metformin Headache

Among the different side effects caused by metformin, one common side effect is a headache. People on metformin often report that taking metformin brings them a headache. The interesting thing being observed is that most people tolerate the side effects of the drug quite well. It’s hardly the 30% of users who couldn’t manage well.

If the metformin is continuously causing headaches, then you should consult with your doctor. Your doctor will probably check the vitamin B12 levels. Individuals with a low vitamin B12 present body symptoms like nerve pain, fatigue, or dizziness.

It is expected that many people take over-the-counter painkillers along with metformin to combat headache issues. But, always get the medicine approved from your doctor before taking it, as the same medication does not produce the same effect in every user. So it is always better to ensure safety first and get discussed with the doctor.

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Why Does Metformin Cause Gastrointestinal Problems?

Metformin shows its effect on body metabolism to regulate blood glucose levels. There are several actions in the gut brought about by metformin. Metformin increases the glucose uptake in the intestine and also contributes to the production of lactate.

Due to all the mentioned effects, metformin causes gastrointestinal problems in those who start taking it for the first time. People usually complain about nausea, bloating, diarrhea, etc. The effects are mild, and the body gets used to it over time, and metformin does not cause gastrointestinal discomfort anymore.

Metformin and Upper Stomach Pain

According to studies, only 25% or 30% of metformin users complain about its side effects. These effects are usually mild and are tolerable. Usually, the ones who use it for the first time present some symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort. Those people are given an immediate-release IR version of the tablet; that’s why they are more likely to get an upset stomach. Most complaints reported are about abdominal pain, upper stomach pain, nausea, etc.

In such cases, the best solution is to use ER tablets. The ER tablets are provided with a coating. The coating around the tablet monitors the slow release of medication in the body that eventually affects the stomach much less.

Does Metformin Make You Feel Bad?

The side effects caused by metformin create slight discomfort among its users. The people on this medication complain that metformin makes them feel awful. Studies have reported that metformin also has effects on impaired brain function in some cases.

If you just have started taking medicine, give it time to get normal. Hopefully, within four or five days, the body gets used to it, and it does not produce any counter effect afterward. But, if after a long time the medicine still shows any side effects, then immediately consult with your doctor.

Side Effects of Metformin

Just like every other medicine, metformin also has some side effects. In most users, the side effects are mild. The ones who get used to it do not complain anymore. The side effects are reported mainly by those who start taking medicine for the first time. The mild effects most prominently include gastric distress. Gastric distress could occur in any form like bloating, stomach pain, gas, diarrhea, or nausea, etc.

gastric-distress-for-metformin

If you are taking metformin for the first time, then it is casual to feel sick. Metformin shows mild side effects in the individuals taking medicine for the first time. The symptoms are mild and can be tolerated easily. But, in case the condition gets severe, this could be an alarming sign, and the person should not ignore it.

How Long Do Metformin Side Effects Last?

In most cases of type 2 diabetes, it is observed that metformin does not show its effects immediately. Usually, it takes four or five days to experience the full benefits of the medicine. The period may vary from person to person because the dose of the medication also has a significant role in it.

If you are taking metformin for the first time, then it is casual to feel sick. Metformin shows mild side effects in the individuals taking medicine for the first time. The symptoms are mild and can be tolerated easily. But, in case the condition gets severe, this could be an alarming sign, and the person should not ignore it.

How to Stop Metformin Side Effects?

The best way is to give your body some time to get used to the medicine. Some other practical methods that may help to minimize or to stop metformin side effects include:

  • Use of ER Extended-release metformin that will slow the release of medication in the body.
  • Try to be careful with supplements and dietary changes.
  • Remember to take metformin with the meal. With food in your stomach, there are chances that you won’t experience any problems.

Foods to Avoid While Taking Metformin

If you are taking metformin, don’t forget to check on your diet contents. You should include carbohydrates in your diet by adding fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain to your meal. Remember that you need to limit your carbohydrate intake because access to it will adversely affect your blood glucose level.

Usually, it is suggested that carbohydrates should make up 45% to 65% of your daily calories intake. In simple words, the amount should equal 225 or 325 grams of carbohydrates a day.

There are some food items that you should avoid if you are taking metformin. Those food items are:

Metformin Benefits

Metformin medication is used for the treatment of type two diabetes mellitus. It is administered orally and sold with the brand name Glucophage. The medicine aims to improve blood sugar levels in adults. Mainly metformin is used along with diet and exercise to fight type 2 diabetes. Sometimes it is other medications like insulin. Be careful; metformin is not for the treatment of type 1 diabetes.

Other benefits of metformin include; dementia prevention, improved fertility in both males and females, prostate and ovarian cancer treatment, longer life span, enhanced gut bacteria, colon cancer prevention, treatment, etc.

Prevent Dementia

People who are dealing with diabetes, usually need metformin. Some reports have shown that those who took metformin have a lower risk of dementia than those who took other medications for diabetes.

Ovarian Cancer Tratment

Metformin, the diabetes drug that has been used for years to treat high blood pressure and obesity-related complications in people with type II diabetes was found recently to have anti-tumor effects when it comes into contact with cancerous cells.

Prostate Cancer Treatment

A very recent study found that adding metformin to traditional chemotherapy inhibited cancer progression. This could mean the drug may have benefits for androgen deprivation therapies during prostate cancer treatment, but more research is needed before we know if this will work or not in humans with their condition.

Fertility Improvement

Metformin is an amazing medication that can help improve many aspects of sperm health. In addition, when incubated alongside metformin in labs it was shown to increase fertilization rates after being cryopreserved (freezing during sperm donation)!

Long Lifespan

While we have yet to determine if metformin improves lifespan in humans, it is clear that the drug increases life expectancy and delays cancer formation for those who take it. In addition, reducing blood sugar levels with its ability to increase insulin sensitivity—a factor that encourages cells into becoming more sensitive or responsive toward glucose molecules.

Signs Metformin is Working

Metformin will not reduce blood sugar levels instantly. It usually takes 48 hours to produce noticeable effects. To get maximum results, be patient and follow your doctor’s advice. To get noticeable results, you need to keep consistent for four to five days at least. After a week, get your glucose level checked. The reports will ensure that the medications are beneficial for you or not.

Final Thoughts

There are no doubt a lot of benefits of metformin. All the patients with type 2 diabetes use the medicine with insulin to maintain blood glucose levels within the normal range. Apart from its uses, it has some side effects as well. As mentioned earlier, only among the 25% of users, the side effects of metformin are reported. Once you get used to it, the medicine won’t bother you anymore.

If you feel any prolonged discomfort, then do not ignore it and consult with your doctor. In individuals having a heart failure history, or vitamin B12 deficiency, any issues in their kidney function, metformin may cause life-threatening conditions. To ensure maximum safety, always give your doctor a detailed and complete history of your health profile so that he can prescribe the best medicine for you according to your case.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What happens if you take metformin and don’t need it?

The consequences could even lead to death if someone not in need takes metformin. The medicine could cause a life-threatening condition which is known as lactic acidosis. Those who encounter lactic acidosis have lactic acid buildup in their blood, and metformin can drag them to death. In other cases, it may only show mild side effects most commonly associated with the gastrointestinal tract.

Does metformin make you feel weird?

Metformin in some individuals might affect brain functions. Usually, the medicine shows its side effects in those who are taking it for the first time. Usually, the reported complaints are concerned with the gastrointestinal tract like nausea, diarrhea, bloating, etc. According to current research, metformin has led to impaired brain functions in some cases.

Is it normal to feel sick on metformin?

If you are taking metformin for the first time, then it is casual to feel sick. Metformin shows mild side effects in the individuals taking medicine for the first time. The symptoms are mild and can be tolerated easily. But, in case the condition gets severe, this could be an alarming sign, and the person should not ignore it.

How long does it take for your body to adjust to metformin?

In most cases of type 2 diabetes, it is observed that metformin does not show its effects immediately. Usually, it takes four or five days to experience the full benefits of the medicine. The time may vary from person to person because the dose of the medication also has a significant role in it.

Will nausea from metformin go away?

Yes, over time, nausea from metformin will go away. Your body will take time to get used to the medicine. All the effects will go away over time. Only in the ones who just started taking metformin, mild side effects are reported. Once the body gets used to it, the medicine won’t bother you anymore.

How do you know metformin is working?

To get noticeable results, you need to keep consistent for four to five days at least. Metformin will not reduce blood sugar levels instantly. It usually takes 48 hours to produce noticeable effects. To get maximum results, just be patient and follow your doctor’s advice.

Can metformin make you gain weight?

In some cases, metformin has been shown to reduce weight. However, metformin has no effects on its users’ weight. The benefits of metformin include that it does not cause weight gain or weight loss among its users. But, exceptions are always there, and more often, reduced weight cases have been reported.

What is the average weight loss with metformin?

Metformin has no prominent effect on body weight. After one year of continuous use of the drug, it is stated that only 6-pound weight loss is observed. All those patients who take metformin with high insulin levels should keep in mind that it will not contribute as a weight loss solution for them.

What happens when metformin doesn’t work?

If the metformin no longer works for you, you should consult with your doctor. Your doctor will add another medicine to your treatment plan. The secondary options may vary from person to person. Sometimes the doctor prescribes oral medications, while in some cases, non-insulin injectables may also be given.

Can I stop taking metformin when my sugar goes back to normal?

You cannot take this decision without discussing it with your doctor. If your doctor thinks that you can maintain your blood sugar level within the standard limit, then he may allow you to stop taking metformin anymore. To achieve this level, you need to improve your lifestyle accordingly. You need to focus more on healthy practices like exercises, maintaining the body, controlling weight, etc.

Dr. Omair Ansar, MBBS, MSc

Dr. Omair is a skilled medical doctor with a degree in Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from Baqai Medical University. In 2018, he completed a Master of Science degree in Healthcare Management with distinction from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, UK. With 9 years of clinical and non-clinical experience, Dr. Omair has gained hands-on experience and extensive knowledge in the medical field. He is currently working in a multinational healthcare organization in Saudi Arabia where his primary responsibility is to train doctors, pharmacists, and nurses about the most updated clinical guidelines as well as conduct case discussions with various specialties to ensure patient safety and satisfaction. Dr. Omair is also an exceptional medical reviewer with expertise in the field of healthcare, pharmaceutical, food and nutrition as well as medical insurance. He has years of experience in writing and reviewing medical articles.

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