What Does Metformin Do?


Quick Answer

Metformin is an oral medication that helps to lower the blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetics, according to Drugs.com. Most doctors prescribe two pills per day, and the patient takes one with the morning meal and one with the evening meal. While metformin can be prescribed with other medications or insulin, it is not for use with type 1 diabetes.

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Full Answer

Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the body is unable to use insulin normally and cannot control the levels of glucose in the blood, according to MedlinePlus. Metformin reduces the amount of glucose absorbed from food and the amount produced by the liver. The medication also increases the body's ability to use insulin. Controlling blood sugar levels in diabetics helps to prevent serious complications, including kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, loss of vision and nerve damage.

Metformin causes stomach upset and diarrhea in some patients; however, side effects usually fade within a few days, according to WebMD. If side effects become problematic, patients should speak with their doctor. If the medication begins to cause stomach problems again after making the initial adjustment, call the doctor immediately as this could indicate lactic acidosis. Unlike some other medications prescribed for diabetes, low-blood sugar incidents are rare when using metformin.

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