Stopping Metformin: When Is It OK?
Recall of metformin extended release
In May 2020, the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)recommended that some makers of metformin extended release remove some of their tablets from the U.S. market. This is because an unacceptable level of a probable carcinogen (cancer-causing agent) was found in some extended-release metformin tablets. If you currently take this drug, call a healthcare professional. They’ll advise whether you should continue to take your medication or if you need a new prescription.
The most common medication for treating diabetes is metformin. It can help control high blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. It’s available in tablet form (Glumetza) or a clear liquid (Riomets) you take by mouth with meals.
It is possible to stop taking the drug if you are taking it to treat type 2 diabetes. Keeping up a moderate weight and exercising. can be ways to manage your condition.
If lifestyle changes are helping to manage your diabetes, you should still talk with a doctor or healthcare professional before stopping taking the drug.
It is possible to stop taking metformin if you read this.
Metformin doesn’t treat the underlying cause of diabetes. It treats the symptoms of diabetes by
- Your body makes a lot of sugar, decreasing your production.
- “Your gut’s absorption of glucose is decreasing.”
- improving your insulin sensitivity in peripheral tissues, increasing your tissue uptake and use of glucose
Metformin helps with a number of things. These include:
- lowering lipids, resulting in a decrease in your blood triglyceride levels
- decreasing your “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol
- increasing your “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
- possibly lowering your appetite, which may result in modest weight loss
Learn more about LDL versus HDL cholesterol here.
Doctors usually consider the medication to be safe and effective for type 2 diabetes.
But due to possible risks and side effects, metformin isn’t safe for everyone. It may not be suitable for people who have a history of:
- The disease of the bile duct.
- There are severe issues with the kidneys.
- There are certain heart problems.
If you’re currently taking metformin and have had some unpleasant side effects, you might be looking for alternative treatment options.
Most common side effects
- There is a lot of diarrhea.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- The gasses are flatulence.
- Lack of energy is weakness.
- The abdominal area is very tender.
- There is a throbbing head.
Other side effects
In some people, metformin leads to poor absorption of vitamin B12. That can lead to a vitamin B12 deficiency, though this only occurs after long-term medication use.
“Losing appetite is a possibility if you take metformin, which could cause a small amount of weight loss. Taking this medication won’t lead to weight gain.”
There are a few other side effects.
It’s extremely rare, but metformin can cause a life threatening condition called lactic acidosis. People with lactic acidosis have a buildup of lactic acid in their blood and shouldn’t take metformin. This condition is very dangerous and often fatal.
Lactic acidosis is
If you take metformin with other diabetes drugs or insulin, there’s an increased risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.
But metformin does not cause hypoglycemia when taken alone.
It is important to monitor your blood sugar regularly so that your doctor can adjust your dose based on your levels.
Metformin can be an important part of an effective diabetes treatment plan. But lowering your dose of metformin or stopping it altogether can be safe if your diabetes is in remission.
If you want to stop taking diabetes medication, you should talk to a doctor.
Everyone who has diabetes can benefit from changing certain lifestyle habits, even those who take medications.
Keeping a moderate weight, eating a healthy diet, and exercising are the best ways to lower your blood sugar. If you can change your lifestyle, you may be able to stop taking drugs for diabetes.
A1C blood test is used to measure remission. This test is used to determine your average blood sugar levels. You need to meet certain criteria before you can stop taking diabetes medication.
- Your A1C is less than 6.5% for 6 months or more.
- Your morning blood sugar is under 130.
- Your blood sugar level is not always the same after a meal.
“If you don’t meet the criteria, you shouldn’t stop taking the drug. You should keep in mind that the criteria can change based on your age, health and other factors. It is important to talk with a doctor before changing your plan.”
Metformin may help prevent long-term health problems from type 2 diabetes. If a doctor thinks you can manage your blood sugar without it, you may be able to stop taking it.
You may be able to successfully lower and manage your blood sugar without medication
- Keeping up a moderate weight.
- lowering your intake of calories.
- Smoking tobacco in any form is not acceptable.
- drinking less or not at all.
It is important to get support. A registered dietitian, personal trainer, or peer group can help you stick with your healthy habits.
Visit the American Diabetes Association for online and local support in your community.
Metformin is a drug used for the treatment of diabetes. If you successfully manage your diabetes, it is possible to stop taking the drug.
If you change your lifestyle and diet, you can manage your blood sugar levels.