Metformin - side effect?

ColinUK

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
So I finally picked up the new prescription for my metformin yesterday and took a tablet this morning.

Monday I’ll call the GP to have a conversation.

A few times whilst taking metformin I’ve experienced something very disconcerting. I’ve stood up and have almost keeled over. I’ve had a short burst of heart palpitations and I’ve needed to hold something to steady myself as I’ve had a mix of weakness and what I can only describe as “shakes”. A couple of times I’ve actually knelt down to ensure I don’t fall over and once I did fall.
Now I know I’ve a tendency to have low blood pressure and I know I’m on a very low calorie regime at the moment so I sort of assumed that this was all to do with those, however I stopped taking the metformin for a while, didn’t experience anything like these symptoms, took one tablet and had them again.
Yes I’m a little concerned but OK. Whatever it is it’s over and done with in a flash and I feel fine afterwards but I’m curious to know if it is related to the metformin or the diabetes somehow.
 

mikeyB

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Sounds like postural hypotension. It's not likely to be the Metformin, but you are doing the right thing contacting you GP. I get it occasionally, but that's just because I'm 67 years old.
 

ColinUK

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Sounds like postural hypotension. It's not likely to be the Metformin, but you are doing the right thing contacting you GP. I get it occasionally, but that's just because I'm 67 years old.
My first thought is postural hypotension too but I’ll see what the GP says.
 

ColinUK

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
One of the causes is significant recent weight loss and lack of mobility.
With COVID I’m much less active than I used to be and I’ve dropped a fair chunk of weight.
 

trophywench

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
I'd guess it was purely coincidental. Just get it in your head it's best to get up slower, and use the hands.arms as levers on either the seat or the arms of it, so if you do go dizzy you can just keep hold of whatever a bit longer. 40+ years ago Pete had to get the habit of always sitting down to pee cos close coupled toilets tend to be painful apparently, when you pitch forwards onto them!
 

ColinUK

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
I'd guess it was purely coincidental. Just get it in your head it's best to get up slower, and use the hands.arms as levers on either the seat or the arms of it, so if you do go dizzy you can just keep hold of whatever a bit longer. 40+ years ago Pete had to get the habit of always sitting down to pee cos close coupled toilets tend to be painful apparently, when you pitch forwards onto them!
I’ve had them before but they’ve been getting worse. As in more severe.

I’ll monitor BP over the next few days and talk with the GP.
 

Drummer

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Are you sure that a low calorie diet is right for you? At various times I was pushed into eating less and less 'to lose weight' and mostly what I lost was consciousness.
I am fairly certain that those diets have done damage somewhere as my Hba1c and BG levels taken after eating don't seem to match.
To lose weight I eat fewer carbs, and I feel a lot better for it. Only trouble was the 12 inch off the waist, always needing smaller clothes.
 

ColinUK

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Are you sure that a low calorie diet is right for you? At various times I was pushed into eating less and less 'to lose weight' and mostly what I lost was consciousness.
I am fairly certain that those diets have done damage somewhere as my Hba1c and BG levels taken after eating don't seem to match.
To lose weight I eat fewer carbs, and I feel a lot better for it. Only trouble was the 12 inch off the waist, always needing smaller clothes.
It’s only temporary. And the intention is to switch to low carb long term rather than low calorie.

What might help explain yesterday is that today I’ve woken with both ears totally blocked so it might just be an ear infection.
 

Footman

New Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Talking about side effects of Metformin. I was on 2 a day and told to take after meals. However, because of a sugar level spike, during lockdown, my diabetes type II nurse has increased the dose to 4x a day and said I need not take after a meal despite stressing the importance of doing so before. This turned out to be disastrous. I began severe stomach cramps if I hadn't eaten much, as watching diet of course. Then diarrhoea. It took a day or two sus out it was the Metformin. Now it has made me sensitive to it even for small doses. My question is, before I talk to my nurse, is there a better alternative to Metformin? At the moment I am persevering by reducing my dose and trying to build up slowly but I now I have constant, stomach cramps though bearable at the moment. I am thinking just dont take the drug and to try my very best and reduce sugar levels without them.
 

trophywench

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Hiya - there is a 'coated' form of Metformin tablets, called Metformin SR (for slow release) that might be kinder to your innards but in any event it is possible to do what your last sentence says!

Now then, have you got a blood glucose monitor and test strips and do you test at home? - cos you're going to have to if you want to follow this route successfully.

You do understand its all carbohydrates the body has trouble with, not merely sugar?

Finally - might our paths have crossed previously whilst both wearing our work hats?
 

RuthB

Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Talking about side effects of Metformin. I was on 2 a day and told to take after meals. However, because of a sugar level spike, during lockdown, my diabetes type II nurse has increased the dose to 4x a day and said I need not take after a meal despite stressing the importance of doing so before. This turned out to be disastrous. I began severe stomach cramps if I hadn't eaten much, as watching diet of course. Then diarrhoea. It took a day or two sus out it was the Metformin. Now it has made me sensitive to it even for small doses. My question is, before I talk to my nurse, is there a better alternative to Metformin? At the moment I am persevering by reducing my dose and trying to build up slowly but I now I have constant, stomach cramps though bearable at the moment. I am thinking just dont take the drug and to try my very best and reduce sugar levels without them.
I have been on 2 a day then in February/March by HbA1C had gone up so the nurse told me to take 4 a day. Always with meals but boy did I notice the impact on my stomach! After diarrhoea several times a day for a while I spoke to my nurse and she told me to stop taking it for a couple of weeks to see if it was the metformin. Yep, it was! She then told me I could be prescribed a slow release metformin, or there was another medication I could take, but she said metformin was the best option. I am now back on 2 but trying to reduce sugar levels without them. Sorry, I have no advice (other than get a blood glucose monitor!) but I feel your pain.
 

Footman

New Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Hiya - there is a 'coated' form of Metformin tablets, called Metformin SR (for slow release) that might be kinder to your innards but in any event it is possible to do what your last sentence says!

Now then, have you got a blood glucose monitor and test strips and do you test at home? - cos you're going to have to if you want to follow this route successfully.

You do understand its all carbohydrates the body has trouble with, not merely sugar?

Finally - might our paths have crossed previously whilst both wearing our work hats?
Hi Jenny, My nurse advised against doing my own tests at home as not being particularly useful saying that sugar levels take too long to change. Thank you for the reminder about carbohydrates. I have no problem at all following a low sugar diet, but I do long for that extra roast potato denied to me by my wife! I worked out several years ago that you cannot rely on professional advice you must do your own research.
For example, I discovered that Atorvastatin is known to push up your sugar levels, it says so on the leaflet in the box. Originally I was on 80mg a day but queried that with my nurse as I read 40mg is more normal. But she didn't react and told me to continue. So on my own accord I cut down to 40mg a day and my sugar levels dropped dramatically to normal levels for about 6 months. My nurse was taken aback by that result. Alas that didn't last long and has gone back up during lockdown. I put this down to lack of exercise and not diet in particular. Of course the pancreas gets less and less efficient as we age.
My father is still going strong at 93. His sugar levels are very high. He gets scolded, by the nurse, for having a biscuit with his tea and I wonder if he has got himself to that age what harm is a biscuit doing?
One wonders if Metform is known to cause stomach cramps and diarrhoea and tiredness why are the coated tables not the prescribed default?

I have another blood test soon, I have been out more. Such excitement for an old man.
 
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Footman

New Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Hi Ruth. Yes The stomach problems are not so bad taking after a meal. I'm supposed to take 4. I don't eat 4 meals a day!! So I tried half a tablet at regular intervals. Still side effects. I stopped taking for a few days and the sensitivity is not so bad at the moment. I'm taking 2 or 3 a day. Thanks for your reply.
 

grovesy

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Hi Jenny, My nurse advised against doing my own tests at home as not being particularly useful saying that sugar levels take too long to change. Thank you for the reminder about carbohydrates. I have no problem at all following a low sugar diet, but I do long for that extra roast potato denied to me by my wife! I worked out several years ago that you cannot rely on professional advice you must do your own research.
For example, I discovered that Atorvastatin is known to push up your sugar levels, it says so on the leaflet in the box. Originally I was on 80mg a day but queried that with my nurse as I read 40mg is more normal. But she didn't react and told me to continue. So on my own accord I cut down to 40mg a day and my sugar levels dropped dramatically to normal levels for about 6 months. My nurse was taken aback by that result. Alas that didn't last long and has gone back up during lockdown. I put this down to lack of exercise and not diet in particular. Of course the pancreas gets less and less efficient as we age.
My father is still going strong at 93. His sugar levels are very high. He gets scolded, by the nurse, for having a biscuit with his tea and I wonder if he has got himself to that age what harm is a biscuit doing?
One wonders if Metform is known to cause stomach cramps and diarrhoea and tiredness why are the coated tables not the prescribed default?

I have another blood test soon, I have been out more. Such excitement for an old man.
They are more expensive, and not everyone is told to start off on a low dose and gradually build up the dose.
 

trophywench

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Did your nurse point you at a testing regime that actually enables you to make the testing really useful though? It's easy and if you are as intelligent as you sound (and the Footman I used to know certainly was that) makes total sense.

Here you go

Sadly - a spud is a spud is a spud whether it's boiled, baked, fried, roast, cooked in meat stock (Forestiere) or garlic and cream (Dauphinoise) - the only difference is how quick the same amount of carbs hit the bloodstream as excess glucose.

Portion control is the part that went haywire during our lifetime - not a problem for both our mothers in the 1950s when we were growing up - no way could either of us eat as many sweets etc as we might have preferred to for the simple reason they were still rationed to begin with so even armed with pocket money we couldn't buy them without a coupon and THEY were sacrosanct! And we're both still here!
 
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