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How does metformin work?

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Quick Answer

WebMD explains that metformin decreases androgen levels and helps the body use insulin. According to Mayo Clinic, metformin is taken orally and is absorbed by the body.

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Metformin is given to women who suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome to lower blood sugar and insulin levels, states WebMD. It is considered a diabetic medication and promotes ovulation while decreasing miscarriages. Those who use metformin for long periods of time can have decreased risk of heart disease.

Mayo Clinic adds that metformin is prescribed to people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, typically in combination with insulin or sulfonylurea. For best results, one must follow a healthy diet plan and participate in exercise on a regular basis. It is not prescribed to patients with type 1 diabetes. Metformin works best when taken with food to avoid nausea.

It is important to tell a doctor about all other medications in order to avoid a negative drug interaction when taking metformin. Some side effects include hives, sweating, stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and a metallic taste in the mouth. WebMD advises that in severe instances, which require a phone call to emergency services, one may have trouble with breathing or the swelling of the lips, face or tongue.

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