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What Does Metformin Do?

Andrew Bellingham

Andrew Bellingham

Pharmacist | 20+ Years | BPharm | Dip Clin Pharm

What is metformin?

Metformin is a medication commonly used in the management of type 2 diabetes. It plays a crucial role in controlling blood sugar levels and is widely prescribed due to its effectiveness and safety. By understanding what metformin does, individuals with type 2 diabetes can better grasp its importance in their treatment plan.

What does Metformin do?

Metformin works by reducing the amount of sugar produced by the liver and helping the body use insulin more effectively. It improves insulin sensitivity, allowing the body’s cells to better absorb and utilise glucose for energy. This helps lower blood sugar levels and promotes better control of diabetes.

  • Blood sugar control: Metformin helps lower and stabilise blood sugar levels, ensuring better management of diabetes.
  • Weight management: It can aid in weight loss or prevent weight gain, which is important for overall health and diabetes control.
  • Cardiovascular protection: Metformin has been shown to reduce the risk of heart-related complications in individuals with diabetes.
  • Potential use in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): Metformin is sometimes prescribed to manage hormonal imbalances and improve fertility in women with PCOS.

These benefits make metformin a valuable medication for individuals with type 2 diabetes and certain other conditions.

Common Side Effects - more than 1 in 100 people

While metformin is generally well-tolerated, it can cause some side effects in some individuals.

Common side effects may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomach pains
  • Metallic taste in your mouth

Long term use of metformin can cause vitamin B12 deficiency, if you’re feeling any of the following symptoms phone your doctor or 111 as soon as possible: 

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Persistent lack of energy
  • Tingling or pins and needles sensation (paraesthesia)
  • Inflamed and tender tongue
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Muscle weakness
  • Distorted or impaired vision
  • Psychological issues, including depression and confusion
  • Impaired memory, understanding, and judgement abilities

Serious Side Effects - less than 1 in 10,000 people

You should contact your doctor or phone 111 immediately if you’re experiencing the following side effects:

  • Persistent feeling of being unwell, accompanied by severe tiredness, rapid or shallow breathing, feeling cold, and a slow heartbeat.

  • Yellowing of the whites of your eyes or yellowing of the skin, which may be less noticeable on brown or black skin. This could indicate potential liver problems.

Order Your Metformin Online with Healthera

If you’ve been prescribed metformin by your doctor, then you can use your Healthera app or website to place your order online from your local pharmacy for collection or home delivery. It only takes a couple of minutes to set up your order.

To get started, simply click the button below:

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