What Are the Side Effects of Metformin?


Quick Answer

Side effects of the medication metformin may include coughing, hoarseness, a decreased appetite, diarrhea, abdominal or stomach discomfort, fast or shallow breathing, and fever or chills, according to Mayo Clinic. Individuals taking metformin may also experience muscle pain, cramping, lower back or side pain, sleepiness and painful urination.

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Less common side effects may include chest discomfort, blurred vision, cold sweats, anxiety, depression, cool, pale skin, dizziness and difficult or labored breathing, according to Mayo Clinic. In some cases, people taking metformin may also experience a racing heartbeat, feeling of warmth, increased sweating, nausea, nervousness, nightmares, shakiness, slurred speech and redness of the neck, arms, face or upper chest.

In rare cases, some people taking metformin may experience drowsiness, confusion, difficulty with concentrating, restless sleep, a lack or loss of strength, unusual sleepiness, and behavior changes similar to being intoxicated. Most side effects are temporary and do not always require medical attention, explains Mayo Clinic; however, people who experience rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath should consult with a physician.

Doctors prescribe metformin to control high blood sugar in individuals with diabetes or at risk of diabetes and works best when combined with a healthy diet and exercise, according to WebMD. Doctors also use metformin to treat polycystic ovarian syndrome, increase fertility and regulate the menstrual cycle.

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