How Does Metformin Work in a Diabetic Body?

Medication forms an important part of managing diabetes. Depending on the type and severity of diabetes, your doctor may prescribe a particular type and dose of a particular drug. There are numerous types of drugs available in the market which claim to enable the patients to effectively manage blood glucose levels and thereby, diabetes.

In this article, we shall analyze more about the drug Metformin and how the drug works towards reducing the high levels of blood glucose in the body of a diabetes patient. So, come and join in for the article “How Does Metformin Work in a Diabetic Body?”

Table of Contents

What is Metformin?

Metformin is a type of medicine that is helpful in the treatment of diabetes as it is known to control and stabilize the blood glucose levels of a diabetic patient. It is known to be particularly helpful in the treatment of type 2 diabetes but can also be used in the treatment of type 1 diabetes.

There are various brands of medicines that are said to contain metformin. A few common ones include the following:

  • Glumetza
  • Glucophage
  • Glucophage XR
  • Riomet
  • Sukkarto SR

Benefits of Using Metformin

The drug is known to help the diabetes patient to better manage diabetes due to the following benefits it offers:

  • It helps in reducing the total amount of glucose that is released by the liver of the human body.This, in turn, leads to the overall reduction of blood glucose which is essential for diabetes management.
  • Another way in which the blood glucose is reduced is that Metformin acts in such a way that the amount of glucose that is otherwise extracted from the food we eat is reduced.
  • The drug is known to improve the way and extent the body of the diabetes patient responds to the hormone, insulin.
  • In a few patients, Metformin also reduces the appetite thereby helping the patient to lose weight. Losing weight forms an important part of managing type 2 diabetes.
  • Besides, the diabetes patients who take metformin on a regular basis experience a decrease in the total level of cholesterol as well as triglycerides in their bodies.

How Does Metformin Work?

As we know the hormone insulin is responsible for maintaining an appropriate level of glucose in the blood. The cells in our body extract the excess sugar or glucose from the blood. However, if you suffer from type 2 diabetes, the different cells of your body, particularly that of the liver, fat, muscle, etc. becomes resistant to the action of insulin. Hence, the glucose is not removed from the blood giving rise to the blood glucose levels.

How Does Metformin Work

When a patient takes in Metformin, it works towards lowering the blood glucose level. It does so in a number of ways such as:

  • Our liver is also responsible for the production of glucose. Metformin reduces the release of glucose by the liver, thereby reducing the overall production of glucose in the blood.
  • Increasing the response of the muscle cells towards insulin, the main hormone. Thus, these cells are able to remove glucose from the blood.
  • If you take Metformin directly after eating food, the rise in the blood glucose is reduced as Metformin slows down the process of glucose absorption from the intestines.

How Long Does It Take for Metformin to Work?

Metformin is known to be acting quickly on your body. Normally, it takes just a couple of days to start functioning and you will see and feel a few changes. In order to function completely, the drug may take somewhere around four to five days.

However, the duration and rate of working of the drug also depend on the dosage of the medicine that you are taking. Normally the full effect of the medicine can be experienced once the patient starts taking at least 1500 milligrams of the drug in a day. Usually, however, in order to avoid any kind of side-effects, doctors prescribe the patients start with a small dose.

Glucophage tablets are normally taken a couple of times in a day just before or after meals.

Risks or Side Effects of Taking Metformin

If you are taking the drug for the effective management of diabetes, you should be aware of the risks and side effects which the drug might cause. Following are the associated risks:

  • As mentioned above, the drug causes the blood glucose levels in the body to decrease. However, there is a risk that when you combine Metformin with any other drug, diet, or exercise, it might lead to hypoglycemia or extremely low levels of blood glucose. You need to consult your doctor before taking the dosage of Metformin to control diabetes and ensure that hypoglycemia is avoided.
  • Not only does the medicine reduces the overall appetite of the patient, it is known to cause an upset stomach where the patient experiences loose stools.
  • If you are a patient whose kidneys have already failed to function appropriately, this medicine may not turn up to be as useful to you. The reason being, when your kidneys are functioning appropriately, Metformin is excreted out of your kidney. When the kidneys do not function appropriately, the drug builds up in your body causing lactic acidosis.
  • Similar to the above, Metformin is not meant for the diabetes patients who might have an existing liver disease. Lactic acidosis which is the accumulation of lactic acid in the blood can be caused leading to serious health issues.
  • If you are an alcoholic or someone suffering from a heart condition, you run a risk of getting lactic acidosis if Metformin is taken.
  • Finally, with the regular dosage, patients might also experience vomiting and nausea.

Given the risks associated with taking Metformin, an expert advice is a must before going for the medicine.

We hope that the above post has been helpful in educating you about Metformin and how the drug is used for combatting diabetes. However, a word of precaution needs to be mentioned here: the drug may not be meant for all types of patients and as such, you need to be extremely cautious while taking it and any type of side-effect felt should immediately be communicated to the doctor who might have prescribed Metformin. In the case of regular side-effects, you need to stop the dosage at the earliest possible time!!

One comment on “How Does Metformin Work in a Diabetic Body?

  1. Good blog post! I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes on put on Metformin on May 5th, 2015, but I won’t let it hold me back – things like alternative treatment methods and the ADA diet have helped.

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