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Metformin Chronic Diarrhea - End of my tether!

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#1
GreatGardenia

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Hello, I was diagnoised with insulin dependent diabetes back in 1999, from the off I was given Metformin and I have always suffered with the 'metformin moment' as described in other threads but over the years it has gotten worse - to the point now where I feel completely house bound and unable to be more than a minute from the toilet.

I have discussed my concerns with my GP and numerous other doctors who all seem to give me no positive feedback other than to just put up with it, I have tried varying the dosage, times, diet, everything that i have seen suggested on here so far. I really am at a loss at what to do. I feel like giving up.

I've seen no weight loss since taking metformin, my doctor said it is meant to aid the insulin but i think I would rather stop taking it and be able to leave the house. It really drags me down and I just want some help or any advice. I can't be the only one suffering can I?

I'm 66 and am meant to be taking 500mg metformin 3 times a day, started on standard and have been on extended release for the past year [ER is ever-so slightly better for me, only slightly]

For your information I take the following medication, I have said to the doctor I think I am on too many meds for the same thing but he says to carry on:

  • Lantus Solostar - night insulin - 40ml
  • Ezetimbe - High BP - 10mg
  • Simvastatin - Lower Cholesterol - 40mg
  • Candesartan - High BP - 16mg
  • Bendroflumethiazide - High BP - 2.5mg
  • Lansoprazole - digestion - 30mg
  • Novorapid - Day Insulin - varies - 3 times a day
  • Tramadol - Cramps - 50mg

A lot of information there, but I'm hoping someone will have some advice for me. I need it! Thanks for reading.

#2
PINK

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IMO:

There is NO reason for you to suffer like this.
I could not tolerate Metformin and am allergic to sulphas so I started on insulin.
I LOVE it.
I take nothing else except Lantus and Novolog.
I do not have to take HbP meds.

I wish you could see different docs!
Are you seeing an Endo?
Anyone who tells you to tolerate the intolerable is, well, an A$$.
There must be another solution.

Good luck!
Pink

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance!

Lantus 19 U PM started 5/25/11 and now Novolog. 1:13~ Low. Carb. Life Choice is -under 100g- and I exercise every day.
Dxed 2009 A1c=6.5/~Symptoms started at a very young age/ 8/10 C-peptide 1.1, fasting bg that day was 117, goodchol. is up, bad is down.
A1C --6.7 July 2010....A1C~~ 6.5 Mar 25 2011, May 22 6.8 (time for 'Slin) My galloping heart slows me down.
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#3
Tribbles

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You could stop the Metformin but you would probably need to increase your insulin. If you are ok with that then it's worth talking to your doctor about. I had the same problem, I cannot tolerate Metformin for other medical reasons which is a shame since it's a good drug.

#4
Mussakka

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I had real issues with metformin initially and flat out refused to take it. After finding my new doctor, he suggested I try a brand name formulation of metformin called Glumetza. He told me it had a "gobstopper" as he called to help with the gastric distress. Eureka! I took that for several years and eventually wondered if I could tolerate met XR by now, given that my body had probably adapted to the drug. I switched over to generic met xr about a year ago and haven't had any trouble (well, maybe two minor incidents, but I know what prompted them).

I can't imagine any doctor being unwilling to work with you to find a solution to the problem. Sounds like a plain-spoken heart to heart or a new physician might be in order. Remember, you're in charge of your healthcare and you can make the decisions as to what you will and will not take. The doctor is only offering his (professional and educated) opinion, which usually is wisest to follow, but sometimes you have to take charge.
Diagnosed T2 in 1995
After gastric bypass in 2011 no longer on high blood pressure meds, metformin, or insulin.
BG readings are now stable around 90. I'm psyched!

#5
no5isalive

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Hi there.

I am exactly the same as you. I was diagnosed in May 2011 & I was started on Humalog Mix 25 insulin & prescribed 1x metformin 500mg tablet twice daily. Almost immediately after I started taking metformin I have had the same issue with diarrhea. When I mentioned it to my doctor he said just bare with it & it will get better. After trying that for a few more weeks I have got so fed up with taking it that I have stopped taking it completely. I have been told there is something better but have not been prescribed with a new drug as yet. My doctor has decided to take a 6 week long holiday so I will not be seeing him until he gets back in about a month. I hope it gets better for you & they can sort things out. I have found the best way to get help from the medical profession is to scream & yell & jump up & down until they do something. It has worked for me in the past & if they take their time with getting me off metformin I will do it again.

Cheers
Rich

#6
Sneezer

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Agree with other thread. Ask your doctor to change metformin to extended release metformin - same dosage and times.

I had almost daily met moments until I go switche dto the extended release tablets this past April. Except for one day, those met moments are gone

#7
Caravaggio

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To GreatGardenia, is there any specific reason why you are taking metformin? Talk to your doctor about alternative medications, or alternative regimen, particularly with your insulin. Unless there is an absolute medical necessity for you to take metformin, there is no reason why you should suffer all that discomfort and be restricted in your movements just for the sake of taking metformin. I mean, it's like you are under house arrest (or toilet arrest). That's no way to live.

To others, the OP has been on extended release metformin, with very slight improvement in her conditions.

#8
aggie168

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Yes, get a doctor that will work with you to remove Metformin. I can not tolerate it and suffer for years. Now I am on insulin only and only take three other orals to protect my body.

Just keep in mind. Metformin is a good drug as it does lower you need for insulin. In other words, your insulin use will go up when you remove Metformn. It may take up to 6 weeks for it to totally exit your system. Mine went up about 30% after removing it. It is a no brainer trade-off. Increase insulin usage or metformin moments.... :)

===============================================
DX 02/2002, Minimed 530G(751) w/CGMS on Novolog
Aspirin 81mg + Lipitor 10mg + Losartan 50mg
10/2013 A1c=5.9 Chol=126 Trig=69 HDL=52 LDL=60
05/2013 A1c=5.7 Chol=137 Trig=79 HDL=47 LDL=74

#9
foxl

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Not sure if anyone has asked you this: Have you tried eating fewer carbs? I read somewhere that how much carb you eat influences your diarrhea reaction. No idea if it is true, frankly!
Linda


[B]Jan A1c 6.3/B]
Jul 09 ... C-pep 1.3, GAD-65 > 30
Mar 10 C-pep 2.8 (20 g carb); GAD 3.2
dx 02/09 in DKA


Levemir 12U per day; novolog PRN TDD ca 16U
MetforminXR 1000 mg BID
Ramipril 5 mg
T4 112 mcg
Chia oil
Vitamin D3, 4000 IU
Eating 20 - 45 g carb per day ovo-lacto-vegetarian
Walking 30 min 6x week

#10
Penny

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Hello Gardenia. :) I am 64, insulin dependent and insulin resistant and use Metformin. I went through the same thing you are experiencing for a very long time, then set my mind to finding a solution, because when I tried cutting it out my A1C shot up. I still have days when I cannot leave the house until noon or later, but most off the time if I give myself one hour after I take it, I am OK. If I eat too late at night, I know I will have problems in the morning. If I do not eat something WITH my Metformin, I have problems. The thing that seems to have helped me most with the problem is eating yogurt every morning. For awhile I ate the one that Jamie Lee Curtis advertises, but it is so expensive and had too many carbs, I just tried our local stores brand of low carb yogurt and it works just the same. I prefer Greek yogurt, but it can be too expensive too....I only get it when it is on sale and I have a good coupon. :) I know everyone is different and it may not work for you, but I think when we get older, our bodies have a different way of doing things. I hope you find what works for you.
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC] Love doesn't make the world go around, but it makes the ride worthwhile.

#11
Caravaggio

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Not sure if anyone has asked you this: Have you tried eating fewer carbs? I read somewhere that how much carb you eat influences your diarrhea reaction. No idea if it is true, frankly!


In my case, I've noticed during the last few times I went straight to the toilet from the dinner table, that I've eaten a lot of fats/oily stuff and very few carbs. I don't know if it's the (a) lots of fats, or (B) very few carbs, or © a combination of (a) and (B), that sent me to the loo.

#12
aggie168

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Yes, it is a combination of fat and carbs. I have struggle with it for years and cannot come up with a working formula. Also change dosage and XR, nothing works. Now on insulin only and ditched metformin, I am free from metformin moments. :)

===============================================
DX 02/2002, Minimed 530G(751) w/CGMS on Novolog
Aspirin 81mg + Lipitor 10mg + Losartan 50mg
10/2013 A1c=5.9 Chol=126 Trig=69 HDL=52 LDL=60
05/2013 A1c=5.7 Chol=137 Trig=79 HDL=47 LDL=74

#13
Hammer

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I have tried all of the classes of oral drugs and they all gave me diarrhea, so I stopped taking them. If you have constant diarrhea, then you need to stop taking metformin. If your doctor tells you that you shouldn't stop, tell him to go screw himself.(seriously). Any doctor that thinks you should take any medication that gives you constant diarrhea and expects you to live with it is an a$$hole. No human being should have to live with that. If stopping the metformin means that you need more insulin, then take more insulin. You may need more insulin but at least you will be able to live a normal, diarrhea-free life.

For me, I took metformin, metformin ER, Starlix, prandin, glipizide, Amaryl, you name it, and they all gave me diarrhea. I was told that the effects would go away in a few weeks, so I took it for 30 days, and at the end of 30 days, my insides felt like they were being ripped out. I was very nauseous, I had chest pains, and I felt sick to my stomach....so much so that I couldn't function. After 30 days, I threw all of the oral meds in the trash can and vowed to never take them again. I went 5 years with no meds before I was introduced to insulin. Once that happened, I went on Lantus and Byetta, then stopped the Byetta and went to Novolog, and have never looked back.

If it was me, I'd stop taking the metformin and just use the insulin. If you decide to do that, your diarrhea will disappear in a day or two and you can go back to living like a human being again.
Presently taking: Hyzaar for blood pressure:
Novolog and Lantus for diabetes.
Welchol for cholesterol and diabetes
Mega-Red Omega-3 Krill Oil (300 mg)
Mega-Red D3 (5000 IU)
I was diagnosed in 2003...

(If at first you don't succeed, give up. The d*mn thing probably wasn't worth it anyway.):D

#14
GreatGardenia

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Thanks to everyone who contributed to my query,I have found your answers very helpful.
I decided to stop my Metformin about a week ago,although I am still having to go to the toilet twice in the morning
before I can go out at least its a little better.I must say though my blood sugars have risen quite abit.
Will be seeing my G.P. on the 21st. of July lets see if he can sort something out, finger crossed. I'll let you all know how I get on, really helps to hear that I'm not the only one suffering.

#15
brassservices

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As a small business owner, I told my doctor that I could not take metaformin and be running to the bathroom every five minutes when trying to meet new clients and negotiate service deals. He brushed me off, not understanding that I can't afford to not have a business. I told him that my ability to see him was contingent upon my ability to provide food for my family by running my firm. Needless to say, I junked him and found a local health clinic where forty bucks got me in to see a clinic doctor and she prescribed a lower dose that didn't kill me, but even then I have to watch anything greasy or overly carby. I tend to eat rabbit food and pretend to love it. lol. if the functional cure from the UK is proven to have efficacy, then I wont mind a 600 calorie a day diet for a few weeks to starve fat deposits out of my pancreas, just to be back to normal. I'm not a overweight as those in the study, so I'd hope that 5 weeks or so might suffice rather than 8 weeks. Anyone on this diet yet? Any results?

#16
hellokitty

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I was on metformin for a year at one point. I had some GI upset the first couple of weeks and then it seemed to taper off. I was being very careful not to eat a lot of fat or simple carbs most of the time. It really helped my levels, but after a year, it seemed to be less effective.

I've been on albiglutide, a study drug, for 2 years now, and just had 500 mg metformin added at bedtime since it wasn't bringing my numbers down enough. I'm terrified to take any drugs because of side effects, but I know I need to get my numbers down or suffer dire consequences in the future.

Of course, the people who decide to log in and post are generally not the ones having no problems, so it's hard to see what the actual statistics are from anecdotes. Tonight is night 1 of metformin. Wish me luck!

#17
GreatGardenia

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Just an update, again thank you for all your feedback and comments.

I stopped taking Metformin completely on the 21st of July, my GP seemed ok with this - after all these years of agony! I've had to increase my insulin, blood sugar levels aren't ideal, but they are getting there and I actually have a life now - feel so much happier it's incredible. I couldn't have done it without all of your comments as a back-up!

#18
Deano

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I had a problem taking Metformin ER. My endo cut my dosage in half to 500mg at breakfast and 500 mg at dinner. He added
Lantus 24 units at bedtime. This solved my diarrhea problem.
Metformin ER 500mg 2X daily
Novolog with meals
Lantus 36units at bedtime
Atenolol 50mg
Lisinopril 5mg
Hydrochlorothiazide 25mg
Simvastatin 20mg
Warfarin 6mg

#19
Darly

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Onglyza had a strong laxative effect on me; Januvia somewhat though n0t as bad. My fasting blood glucose was 117, maxed at 340 after drinking the glucose. But I freeze whenever my blood sugar goes over 120, warm before meals. Like brass, I work in an occupation where I CANNOT leave ever few minutes to race to the bathroom. (attorney)

#20
indrag

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Hi Penny,
I just read your post and though I'd tell you that you can make Greek Yogurt yourself. Just line a sieve with a couple of coffee filters and balance the sieve over a mixing bowl so there is room beneath it for the liquids to collect. Pour your regular, plain yogurt into the filter and put the whole thing into the fridge overnight. You will be left with nice, thick creamy Greek yogurt!
Enjoy.
Indra




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