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dellie

How long does it take for Metformin to work??

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I am posting on behalf of my DH who has recently been diagnosed as diabetic, the gp has put him on Metformin 850g 3 x daily. The gp would have liked ideally for DH to go straight onto insulin as his blood sugars are quite high. they spike to 17+ after a meal and his a1c was 10.5, but DH wanted a trial of the tablets first as he is terrified of needles!!! He has been on the Metformin for 2 weeks now and although there has been a slight improvement, his numbers are not coming down substantially. I have read that Metformin takes a while to work, but would you think we would have started to see an improvement by now or is there still hope yet?

 

Thanks in advance!!!

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Hi and welcome,

My first A1c was 13.5 and all of my numbers were very high. I also wanted to avoid the "needles" at all cost. My doctor explained that I would see a little improvement at first with diet but it would take any of the meds 4 to 8 weeks to kick in and really start to do what they were meant to do. The diet and exercise are a real important part of controlling with meds only. I feel that if I can succeed with this part it will make things easier down the road. I also spent a couple of sessions with a diabetic educator, who is also a registered dietician and that was really helpful. I was told by someone else here that slow and steady is the name of the game and that seems to work the best. Good luck

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It was 8 weeks before I saw a steady downward trend and six months (and additional medication) before I arrived at normal and then 9 to 12 months before I regarded myself as stable.

 

For some people it can be a hard fight.

 

There have been a few threads in the past on the side effects (gastro intestinal) of metformin. You will find these using the Search button.

 

For people who are very high and also spike after a meal, doctors seem to generally want them to go straight onto insulin in order to get a quick reduction in sugar level. I was under the same pressure, with worse figures than your DH. However, in my case the oral medication worked. Hopefully, it will for him.

 

One thing to bear in mind. The complications of a persistantly high sugar level are so seriours that in my mind they completely outweigh any fear of needles. :ridinghor

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OK, I'll ask: what does DH stand for?

 

Second, while my medical team is still trying to figure out what type of diabetes I have (to the extent that labels matter), I think "DH" should be encouraged to do whatever is necessary to address his high glucose levels -- even if that means taking insulin. It might be that he'll need to take insulin for just a short period, then rely on oral meds. That has been my case. I was diagnosed in December 2005 with an A1c of 13.4 and a random glucose reading of over 1,000 mg/dl (kind of an overacheiver in that regard). My doctor put me on two kinds of insulin right away, in addition to some pretty heavy doses of glyburide. I stopped using insulin after three weeks, and eventually swapped out glyburide for 15 mg of Actos, but I would have done anything to treat the symptoms I was experiencing when I was first diagnosed. This plan has worked, at least for me, at least for the time being: my last A1c (July 2006) was 4.9. We'll see what my next test in October brings.

 

So while I'm doing pretty well now, my medical team keeps warning me that I'm probably in a "honeymoon" period and that I'll be back on insulin eventually. I say fine. If that's what it takes, that's what I'll do. Insulin is not that scary once you use it.

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OK, I'll ask: what does DH stand for?

 

I assumed it is 'Dear Husband' I'll be interested to see what the reply to your question is.

 

It's good that the regime worked for you.

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I've been on metformin for 5yrs, I believe it was about 2months for me before it started doing what I needed it to do. Taking it before meals and everyday at the same time has helped as well. I know taking it at the same time can be hard but I do try and usually Sunday is the only day I'm off. I hope it starts working for your "Darling Husband" soon. But needles aren't that bad, been doing shots for almost 2months now. I acctually think sticking my finger hurts worse. :egg:

 

 

Michele :)

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Thank you for all your replies, sorry I have not replied sooner but unfortunately my computer was wiped out by a virus, only got it back today!!

 

DH does stand for Dear Husband!!

 

Pleased to report that the last few days we have started to see a downward trend in 'Dear Husbands' blood sugars, not quite where they should be but definately getting there!!

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The first few months after a diagnosis can be rough. There are different type of pills to try. One may not uniformly work for everyone. I know Metformin didn't work for me but Byetta and Glimepride (Amaryl) did. Some people are lucky to find the right meds/dosage right away, but I think it's more typical to have to wait and "tweak" things until it gets right.

 

Good luck to and your DH!:T

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Hi

I am a D2 diagnosed about 4 years ago. Till about 3 months ago, I was managing my BSs with diet and exercise. Recently, my post supper readings started spiking to about 190 or so. I was put on an alpha glucosidase inhibitor .After three weeks , since there was no improvement I am on Metformin 500 mg but find no change after three weeks. Is this normal ? Does Metformin take a long time to act ?I am a 67 year old male and am reasonably careful with my diet and exercise.

Thanks

sam

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I was started on metformin 500 mg twice daily at diagnosis. I saw results quite quickly, but I also immediately changed my way of eating, really minimizing carbs. I've heard many say that it can take a few weeks for metformin to reach optimal levels.

 

If you've been a diabetic for awhile, esp. if you are getting regular exercise and minimizing your carbs, it may be that you need more than the metformin. Simply speaking, metformin works by helping your body better use the insulin you are making. Diabetes is progressive, and you may not be making as much insulin as you need. If this is the case, you might not see great results on the metformin alone.

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I was started on metformin 500 mg twice daily at diagnosis. I saw results quite quickly, but I also immediately changed my way of eating, really minimizing carbs. I've heard many say that it can take a few weeks for metformin to reach optimal levels.

 

If you've been a diabetic for awhile, esp. if you are getting regular exercise and minimizing your carbs, it may be that you need more than the metformin. Simply speaking, metformin works by helping your body better use the insulin you are making. Diabetes is progressive, and you may not be making as much insulin as you need. If this is the case, you might not see great results on the metformin alone.

 

I agree with Linda 100%. I was started on only 500mg of metformin when I was diagnosed, and my numbers started to improve noticably within the first week -- I attribute this mainly to diet and exercise though. I'd say it was at about the 3-5 week mark that I really noticed that I had more swing room in what I chose to eat.

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Last year my doctor prescribed metformin 500 twice daily as I had two consecutive fasting readings of above 7.0 and a1c of 6.1. But I refused to take the medication as I was in denial that I may be diabetic (no one in my family is:confused: ).

 

I started getting uncomfortable readings recently like 8 early in the morning (fasting) and as high as 13.0 after the meal:eek: so I convinced myself that it may be the time. I started taking the medication 5 days ago only and the first two day I did not see any noticable change. I started seeing a real change as of yesterday (4 days after) as I checked my blood sugar at 2:00 am and it was 5.4 and 6.3 at 6:00 am and today I checked it after the meal and it is now down to 7.5 (I eat the same meal that I had 5 nights ago when it was 13.0 two hours after meal). So far I have experienced no side effects (I felt weakness in my legs a bit the first 2-3 days but gone)

 

My only question from the panel is this:

 

If I bring down my readings to normal values with the the aid of medication (say a1c of between 4 to 5%) would it still be a risk factor in developing heart disease??. I know for blood pressure even if one's reading is normal while taking medication, it is still considered as a risk factor. Is the same true for under control diabetes. Thanks.

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Just join the forum and I thought I make my first post.

 

Last year my doctor prescribed metformin 500 twice daily as I had two consecutive fasting readings of above 7.0 (my readings were normal at 2:00 am) and a1c of 6.1. But I refused to take the medication as I was in denial that I may be diabetic (no one in my family is :confused: ).

 

I started getting uncomfortable readings recently like 8 early in the morning (fasting) and as high as 13.0 after the meal :eek: so I convinced myself that it may be the time. I started taking the medication 5 days ago only and the first two days I did not see any noticeable change. I started seeing a real change as of yesterday (4 days after) as I checked my blood sugar at 2:00 am and it was 5.4 and 6.3 at 6:00 am and today I checked it after the meal and it is now down to 7.5 (I eat the same meal that I had 5 nights ago when it was 13.0 two hours after meal). So far I have experienced no side effects (I felt weakness in my legs a bit the first 2-3 days but gone)

 

My only question from the panel is this:

 

By taking metformin do I make my body lazy so that in future it may be something that I must take or my readings may go through the ceiling without it. And my second question is whether diabetes is progressive and may be 10-20 years from now (I am 40) even the maximum dose of 850 three time a day may not be enough to bring my reading to normal. Thanks.

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Hi to the new people here! It took about a month before my BG levels became closer to normal on 1250 mgs of metformin. I think it would have happened sooner, but the first three weeks I followed the recommended ADA diet. As soon as I lowered my carbs, the numbers dropped. Metformin is certainly helpful but really won't do much without a proper diet and exercise (even if it is just walking every day).

Admirer, metformin will not make your body 'lazy'. The beta cells in your pancreas are what produce insulin. Before your BG levels rise, you have already become insulin resistant (possibly ten or more years earlier). This forces your beta cells to produce more and more insulin with less and less effect. It is not an endless stream. Eventually they wear out and start to die off. By adding insulin, you may give your pancreas a much needed rest. By adding metformin, you are slowing your liver's output of glucose and helping your cells to more easily absorb it. Exercise does the same thing, which is why it is so important. Although diabetes is progressive, we really don't know how long or even if we will ever need insulin to ward off the nasty complications. I think with the advent of internet groups such as this one, we are supporting each other in aiming for much stricter standards than are common. Some people have a MUCH harder time trying to keep BG level in a good range, for some, even with insulin, it is extremely challenging. Type 1's , in general, face more life threatening challenges, but even a lot of them are doing just fine. So far, for me and many others, things are going amazingly well.

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It took me about 4 weeks for the Met to kick in. My doc had already supplied me with insulin and I was days from going on it then my bg's began to drop.

 

Hindsight tells me I would have been far better going on insulin. Insulin has a bad reputation so most everybody reacts with horror about taking it, once people take it most wish they hadn't put up such a fight.

 

Mike

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It took about 3-5 weeks for metformin to reach full effect for me, but Linda has made a very good point, don't expect the metformin to do all the work, help it along by watching what you eat, and watching carb intake.

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Admirer, metformin will not make your body 'lazy'. The beta cells in your pancreas are what produce insulin. Before your BG levels rise, you have already become insulin resistant (possibly ten or more years earlier). This forces your beta cells to produce more and more insulin with less and less effect. It is not an endless stream. Eventually they wear out and start to die off. By adding insulin, you may give your pancreas a much needed rest. By adding metformin, you are slowing your liver's output of glucose and helping your cells to more easily absorb it. Exercise does the same thing, which is why it is so important. Although diabetes is progressive, we really don't know how long or even if we will ever need insulin to ward off the nasty complications. I think with the advent of internet groups such as this one, we are supporting each other in aiming for much stricter standards than are common. Some people have a MUCH harder time trying to keep BG level in a good range, for some, even with insulin, it is extremely challenging. Type 1's , in general, face more life threatening challenges, but even a lot of them are doing just fine. So far, for me and many others, things are going amazingly well.

 

Thank you very much susan for the comprehensive response.

 

My readings were a bit high but never in the danger range. I will however, continue to use metformin for the next few months and will lose some weight (my BMI is 25 and I plan to lose 15 lbs to bring it down to 23) and do more exercise and eat less. I will discontinue metformin after I did this and will measure my blood sugar again to see if they wll remain within the normal range without medication. If I can bring my readings down to normal by losing weight and exercise so much better, and if not I will go back on metformin.

 

Best regards,

 

Keyvan

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