Metformin is a diabetes medication used for many years to help people manage their blood sugar. It's safe, affordable, and one of the most commonly prescribed drugs for diabetes.

But sometimes, Metformin can cause side effects. While they are usually mild, if you've experienced them, you may be hesitant to keep taking your medication if you don't feel great.

Before you stop taking Metformin, below are some ways to prevent or lessen the side effects (plus why Metformin works so well for managing blood sugar).

What does Metformin do?

When you eat, your pancreas makes insulin and releases it into your bloodstream. Insulin helps the sugar in your blood enter your cells, where it's used for energy.

If you have type 2 diabetes, your body doesn't respond to insulin the way it should, so the sugar can't get into your cells. Instead, it stays in your blood and causes high blood sugar.

Metformin helps lower blood sugar by making your body more sensitive to insulin. It reduces the amount of sugar in your blood, allowing your cells to take in and use sugar more effectively.

One more benefit is that Metformin is known to support weight loss in people living with diabetes. And it may even reduce the risk of heart disease and inflammation in the body.

Is Metformin safe?

Metformin is one of the oldest and best-studied drugs for diabetes. It's also one of the most affordable diabetes drugs.

Metformin is removed from the body by your kidneys, but this doesn't mean it's dangerous for your kidneys. Even people with kidney problems can take it. High blood sugar can also damage your kidneys, so taking Metformin can help protect them.

Your doctor may recommend monitoring your kidney health while you are taking metformin

What are the side effects of Metformin, and can you avoid them?

The most common side effects of Metformin are stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. These side effects are usually mild and go away with time, but they can be a nuisance and make you not want to take your medication.

Here are some tips to help you avoid or lessen these side effects:

  • Start with a low dose and increase gradually to your target amount
  • Try using an extended-release formulation
  • Take Metformin with food

If you are experiencing symptoms, talk with your provider to discuss options before stopping Metformin.

9am.health creates a care plan that works for you

Millions of people with diabetes rely on Metformin to manage their diabetes, but sometimes it can cause side effects. That's where 9am.health comes in—our team of diabetes experts is ready to help you figure out a personalized treatment that works for you. Get a free consultation here.