When To Take Metformin Before Or After Meals? All Question Answered

In the last two decades, metformin has become the first-line drug in treating type 2 diabetes worldwide. According to studies, it is one of the safest and the most prescribed medications. But when to take metformin before or after meals?

It is prescribed to take metformin after meals. You can take the regular tablets 2 to 3 times a day with or after meals. The liquid form is prescribed 1 to 2 times a day with or after meals. In the case of extended-release tablets, the dose is once a day with the evening meal.

When your body can’t use insulin to control blood sugar (type 2 diabetes), biguanides drugs like metformin come to the rescue. These drugs reduce the glucose content you absorb from food and the liver-generated glucose in your body.

Now the body can handle the reduced amount of glucose with limited insulin.

When To Take Metformin Before Or After Meals?

When you are taking your diabetes, medication matters a lot. You can ensure the best efficiency of the medicine by taking it at the ideal time.

You can get all the information about a particular medication from the patients’ information leaflet that comes with the medicine. Makes sure you read it before use. Or ask your doctor if you have any queries related to medicine.

Your doctor will give you a special meal plan to follow during the medication period. Taking medicine according to the prescribed time is essential for its proper working and controlling of your conditions. Do regular exercise and test your sugar level as directed by your doctor.Metformin

Best Time To Take Metformin

Metformin comes in three different varieties- tablet, liquid, and extended-release. You can use Metformin liquid or standard tablets two to three times a day. It is highly recommended to take this medicine with meals to reduce the side effects such as stomach pain.

Metformin HCL and extended-release are once-a-day medications. They are available in both liquid and pill forms. Extended-release versions can be a good option if you experience adverse symptoms with standard metformin. Doctors prefer this variety of metformin with the evening meal.

Foods to Avoid While Taking Metformin

You need to avoid some foods and beverages while using metformin. If you are using metformin to treat type 2 diabetes, you must limit your alcohol consumption.

Moreover, when taking metformin, avoid the usage of high fiber foods to control glucose absorption. Ask your doctor about your food to prevent any metformin-induced digestive problems.

Can I Still Drink Alcohol When Taking Metformin?

Though it is rare, metformin and alcohol interaction can be harmful. In the medication phase, regular drinking of alcohol may have detrimental effects. Sometimes, these effects can be life-threatening.

Their combination can result in hypoglycemia – extremely low sugar level. It can also be the cause of lactic acidosis. It is rare but can have serious side effects. If there is a delay in its treatment, it can affect other organs.

Can You Take Metformin Without a Meal?

There is no problem using metformin on an empty stomach. Metformin helps maintain the amount of sugar your liver produces and lowers the risk of blood sugar falling too low. It helps your body to use insulin in a better way.

Like other diabetes drugs, it doesn’t cause weight gain, although useful in weight loss. Like any other medicine, it can have side effects. If you feel pain or discomfort in your stomach, try to use it with a meal and avoid an empty stomach intake.

If you take metformin when you have an empty stomach or do high-intensity physical activity, your blood sugar can fall too low. That’s the main reason why doctors recommend using it with a meal.

What Happens If You Miss Your Dose?

Missing a medicine dose is scary, especially if it’s a diabetic drug. Believe me, it happens with almost everyone, and there is nothing to stress out.

As soon as you recall, take the missing dosage. Skip the missing dose and resume your usual dosing regimen if the next dosage is approaching. Do not double dose to make up for the missing one.

Suppose you are missing the dose frequently. Set the alarm on your phone or tell a loved one to remind you. In the case of metformin overdosing, contact your doctor and visit an ER if it’s making you feel sick.

What Is The Benefit Of Taking Metformin At Night?

It is more beneficial to take metformin at bedtime instead of other times. At bedtime, the intake of metformin improves the control of diabetes and reduces symptoms of hypoglycemia. It is observed in diabetes type 2 patients, reducing early morning hypoglycemia.

Metformin doesn’t act immediately and lowers your blood sugar. Depending on your dosage, it may take 4 to 5 days to give you its full benefits. Maybe it doesn’t solve your problems simultaneously, but it shows its effectiveness with time.

The result of metformin may not be the same for everyone as its effects vary from person to person.

How Long Does It Take Metformin To Work?

When taking metformin before or after meals, don’t expect a quick result from it. Metformin will not instantly reduce your blood sugar. However, you will start seeing the result within 48 hours of taking medicine.

And if you want to see a noticeable change in your blood sugar level, wait for up to 4 to 5 days. The time can vary depending on your body’s insulin level. Besides, if you are an active person following a healthy diet, the wait time will be shorter.

If metformin doesn’t show any effect within the standard timeframe, your doctor may increase the dosages. Are you planning to conceive while on metformin? Talk to your doctor immediately.

How Long Does Metformin Stay In Your System?

Metformin typically stays in your system for up to 98 hours, 4 days. However, there are a few things that can impact the duration.

  • Dosages
  • Health condition
  • Metabolic rate
  • Body mass

Higher dosages will result in a prolonged stay of metformin in your system. If you are a big person with good health, a faster metabolic rate will also cut the time short.

Who Can or Can’t Take metformin

Metformin is prescribed for children aged ten years or older. So any children below ten should not take the medication.

If you have any problems listed below, ask your doctor before taking metformin.

  • Have uncontrolled diabetes
  • Have a severe infection in recent days
  • Facing a heart problem or having a heart attack in recent days
  • Experience an allergic reaction to metformin and other medicines in the past
  • Facing liver and kidney problems
  • The habit of drinking alcohol
  • Have troubles with your circulation and breathing

The doctors don’t recommend metformin to the person with the following conditions.

  • The person with stage 4 or 5 kidney disease
  • Prediabetes patients over the age of 60
  • Patients with type 1 diabetes
  • People experiencing diabetic ketoacidosis

Make sure to discuss your concerns about metformin with your doctor. Let your doctor decide whether to take it or not.

Metformin For Diabetes

Metformin is among the most effective medicine used in type 2 diabetes treatment. At the time of diagnosis, it is the preferred treatment recommended by most doctors. If kidney function is monitored, it can be used throughout the life of a type 2 diabetes patient.

In type 2 diabetes patients, it works by reducing the excess production of glucose by the liver. As a result, it reduces the liver and muscles’ insulin resistance and improves their sensitivity to it. Doctors recommend taking metformin with meals as it appears to increase its absorption.

For type 2 diabetes, metformin maintains the level of blood sugar, especially when combined with exercise and a healthy diet.

What Is Metformin Used For Other Than Diabetes

Doctors prescribe metformin for other reasons too. However, losing weight and balancing the keto diet are the most reasons metformin is used for.

Metformin For Weight Loss

According to studies, metformin plays a vital role in the weight loss journey of many people. The reason behind the weight loss benefit of this medicine is not clear. One theory behind its appetite is that it reduces the appetite and prompts you to eat less.

Although metformin is found to be helpful in weight loss, it is not counted as a quick-fix solution. Generally, weight loss due to metformin occurs gradually in one or two years. The weight loss ratio due to metformin varies from person to person.

After seven years, the average amount of weight loss due to metformin is seven pounds. In addition to the intake of metformin, if you don’t follow healthy habits, you may not get its advantage.

During exercise, metformin boosts the calories you may burn through exercise. If you adopt a healthy diet and exercise routine during medication, you will have a faster weight loss. You will likely not have all the benefits if you don’t exercise daily.

There is a possibility that weight loss lasts as long as you take medicine. When you stop taking the metformin dosage, there are chances that you will come back to your original weight.

Pro Tips: What to Know Before You Lose Weight With Metformin

Metformin and Keto

Are you willing to start a low carbohydrate or keto diet with metformin? If you are eager to adopt a keto diet and have type 2 diabetes, it is good to go for it. These changes in your diet plan can reverse the changes and improve your blood sugar level control.

Start your keto diet after having complete information about metformin and your diet plan. Once you start your low carbohydrate diet, maybe your doctor will advise you to lower your diabetes medications.

When you lower your carbohydrate intake in the keto diet, it will automatically reduce your medication demand. It can be dangerous if you continue to take the same diet before the no-carb diet.

If you want to adjust your medications, you must test your sugar level since starting your diet. For this, I would recommend you to take the assistance of a doctor or an expert nutritionist. In the treatment of diabetes with diet, there is no risk of low blood glucose levels.

When To Take Metformin Before Or After Meals For Weight Loss

You can’t use metformin as a magic diet pill as it works slowly. The ratio of weight loss in metformin varies from person to person. It’s one of the unique benefits if it can’t help you in weight loss; it also doesn’t become the cause of your weight gain.

If you are prediabetes or type 2 diabetes patient or the one suffering from obesity, then metformin can be the best option. When to take metformin before or after meals will not be an issue in weight loss.  Through metformin, you can manage your weight and lower the risk of developing diabetes.

Doctors can prescribe metformin for weight loss even if you don’t have diabetes or its symptoms. If a person does regular exercise and adopts a healthy diet in addition to metformin, then the chances of weight loss improve.

FAQs

How Long Before a Meal Should You Take Metformin?

There is no specific time for taking metformin. You can take it any time you want or as prescribed by your doctor. But there are some conditions for its work the best. When taking it before a meal, take it at least one hour before or after a meal. You can take it at the start or during the meal.

When Should I Take My Diabetes Medicine Before or After Meals?

If you have side effects from using metformin, try to take it with a meal. When you use it with a meal, it reduces its side effects. It will become more beneficial if you use it at bedtime. Its use at night reduces the chances of hypoglycemia and improves your control of diabetes.

Can Metformin be Taken on an Empty Stomach?

There is no issue in using metformin on an empty stomach. But it may not suit some people, and they feel pain in the stomach. It is better to use it with a meal to reduce their symptoms in such cases. Taking metformin on an empty stomach can result in low sugar levels and hypoglycemia.

Why is Metformin Taken After Food?

Metformin may show some side effects in the first few weeks of medication. Doctors recommend taking it after a meal as it proves to be beneficial in reducing the symptoms of bowel’s side effects.

End Words

In conclusion, no doubt, in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, it is the most effective oral medicine prescribed by doctors. Like other diabetes medicines, it doesn’t result in side effects and weight gain. It is beneficial from a health point of view, but it is also cost-effective.

So when to take metformin before or after meals should not be an issue for you now. Take the medication according to the doctor’s prescription with meals, and you should see the results.

Suppose you want to take maximum benefits, some foods to avoid while taking metformin. A healthy diet plan and regular exercise work best for weight loss. Metformin boosts the number of calories burn the person who exercises daily.

SM Kamal Hasan

SM Kamal Hasan

Dr. SM Kamal Hasan, MBBS(Medicine), Rangpur Medical College and Hospital Rangpur- Dinajpur Highway, Cantt, Near Central Jail, Rangpur 5400, Bangladesh

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