Metformin- Side effects.

Metformin – Side effects.


Metformin – Side effects  is our todays topic. Metformin  is  a  medicine  which allopathic doctor prescribe to treat Diabetes type-2. Metformin does not cure diabetes . It helps to bring blood sugar into a healthy range. Some time our body cells do not response to insulin . Insulin is not used and remain in our blood. This condition is known as Insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the main cause of diabetes type 2.  Metformin  helps to restore our body ‘s proper response to insulin our  pancreas produce.    The  side effects of Metformin are mild but some require medical attention.


  • Metformin is used for.
  • Insulin resistance.
  • How metformin works.
  • Metformin side effects.
  • Side effects during pregnancy.
  • Minimize side effects.
  • Kidney problems.
  • Heart problems.
  • Liver problems.
  • Use of alcohol.


Metformin is used for.

Metformin works by helping to restore our body’s proper response to the insulin our pancreas  naturally produce. It also decreases the amount of sugar that our Liver  makes and that our stomach/intestines  absorb. Metformin belongs to a class of medications known as Biguanides.

Insulin resistance.

What ever we eat, it is converted to glucose after digested in our stomach. When this glucose reach in our pancreas, pancreas cells detect it. The pancreas start producing a Harmon called insulin.  Glucose and insulin travel together in our blood. Our body cells pick  the both  . Insulin burn the glucose to provide strength to our body.  If by any reason , our body cells do not response to   insulin , the glucose is not burned. Unburnt glucose and insulin remain in our blood. This condition is called ” Insulin resistance”. For full details . please read our article “Insulin Resistance.  “

Insulin resistance is the main cause of diabetes type-2.

How metformin works.

Metformin lowers blood glucose levels by inhibiting gluconeogenesis ( Gluconeogenesis (literally, “formation of new sugar”) is the metabolic process by which glucose is formed from noncarbohydrate sources, such as lactate, amino acids, and glycerol and increasing insulin sensitivity). Metformin also acts on the intestine, and reduces blood glucose levels and body weight by various mechanisms. Metformin does not cure diabetes type-2 . It lowers our blood sugar levels bringing them to safe range.

Metformin side effects.

Metformin has the following side effects:

  • Common side effects.
  • Serious side effects.

Common side effects

Metformin side effects are mostly  mild  , and primarily affect  our digestive system. Such side effects can occur when we start taking metformin. They go away as some time passed. The most common metformin side effects are :

  • Heart burn.
  • Nausea .
  • Vomiting.
  • Gas.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Bloating.
  • Constipation.
  • Headache.
  • Weight loss.
  • Metallic taste in the mouth.

When people start taking metformin, vomiting, nausea and diarrhea are very common side effects. They go away as the time pass. If the metformin is taking with meals, the chances of side effects are low.

Serious side effects ;

It is quite possible that metformin can cause some serious side effects. The most serious side effect which metformin produces is Lactic acidosis.

Lactic acidosis:

fortunately , Lactic acidosis is rare.  Lactic acidosis is the most serious side effect of metformin.

Lactic acidosis is a buildup of Lactic Acid  in our bloodstream. It happens when our body produces too much lactic acid and/or can’t metabolize enough of the lactic acid it produces. Our Liver  and kidneys normally clear excess lactic acid from our body. But if there’s too much, or the organs are impaired, or both, they can’t keep up, and lactic acid builds up in our blood. This is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately in a hospital.

Symptoms of Lactic acidosis;

Symptoms of Lactic acidosis are :

  • Extreme tiredness.
  • Decreased appetite.
  • Weakness.
  • Vomiting.
  • Nausea.
  • Dizziness.
  • Lightheadness.
  • Trouble breathing.
  •  A cold feeling.
  • Fast or slow heart rate.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Stomach pain with any of above symptoms.
  • Flushing or sudden reddening and warmth in your skin.

Never take corticosteroids and blood pressure medication with metformin . It may increase risk of lactic acidosis.


Metformin side effects do not end here. Taking  metformin can cause to decrease  the levels of vitamin B12 in human body. This will lead to low levels of red blood cells. This condition is called Anemia. At this stage if one do not get much vitamin B 12 or calcium through his/her diet, he/she will be at higher risk of having very very low levels of vitamin B 12.

More common symptoms of anemia are :

  • Dizziness.
  • Tiredness.
  • Lightheadness.

Consult your doctor if you think  you have anemia. Doctor will check your red blood cell  levels and prescribe medication.

Another way to improve your vitamin B 12 levels  is to stop taking metformin, or start taking vitamin B 12 supplements. Consult your doctor before taking metformin again.


Metformin usually does not cause low blood sugar. Hypoglycemia may occur if metformin is taken with the following :

  • An unhealthy diet.
  • Excessive alcohol intake.
  • Strenuous exercise.
  • Other diabetic medications.

If you have the following symptoms of hypoglycemia, call your doctor immediately:

  • Weakness.
  • Tiredness.
  • Vomiting.
  • Nausea.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Dizziness.
  • Cold sweating.
  • Fast or slow heartbeat.
Prevent hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia has very serious side effects. To prevent hypoglycemia :

  • First of all, take your medicine regularly . Try to take your medixcine at same time every day.
  • Do not change the quantity of medicines without consulting your doctor.
  • Maintaining a well balanced diet will help to keep your blood sugar at a safe levels.
  • Daily exercise play an important role to keep your blood sugar at a very safe levels.
  • If you take other medications , let your doctor to know about them.

Side effects during pregnancy.

As per United Kingdom’s  National Health Services, taking metformin during pregnancy is safe . Metformin crosses the placenta but not linked to increased rates of fetal development issues or complications. Mild side effects such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea were reported, if metformin was taken.

Minimize side effects:

Most common side  effects of metformin  appear in our digestive system. Try the following to minimize these  metformin side effects :

  • Take lower dose when starting. A lower dose will develop less side effects.
  • Take metformin with meals.  It will reduce an upset stomach .
  • Take whole pills . If you chew/crush  the whole  pills and take it, your body will absorb metformin more quickly.  And side effects will appear very soon.
  • Talk to your doctor if the side effects appear very soon. Your doctor may reduce your dosage.
  • Plying on safe side, avoid heavy alcohol use when you are taking metformin.  Metformin + alcohol can develop lactic acidosis.
Kidney problems ;

Our Kidneys perform many functions. Removing metformin from our body is one of them. In case our kidneys are not working well, we will have a higher levels of metformin in our body, raising the risk of lactic acidosis. If you have mild kidney problems, doctor will start giving you a lower dose of metformin. If any one  is over 80, or have sever kidney problems, he/she should  NOT take metformin.

Heart problems.

Heart problems are a free gift of diabetes type 2.  Every diabetic person will face heart problems. High blood sugar will damage our blood vessels. High blood sugar can be managed by taking metformin. Be aware of side effects of metformin.

Liver problems.

It is strongly advised that you should NOT take metformin if you have severe Liver problems.

Our Liver clears lactic acid from our body. If our liver has severe problems, it will not function properly and lactic acid  will build up in our body which will increase your risk to have lactic acidosis.

Use of alcohol.

Driving on safe side, it is better to talk to  your doctor and ask how much alcohol you can consume in 24 hours , if you take metformin. Consuming alcohol and taking metformin can lead to hypoglycemia. It also raises a risk of lactic acidosis.


Last words: I always pray to All-Mighty Allah to bless every body with good health and success .

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