Medicinal Help for Diabetes
There are a number of ways to treat type 2 diabetes. Certainly, anyone with this condition should stop smoking, should watch what he eats and should start to exercise. In addition, there are a number of medications on the market that are intended to help with type 2 diabetes. One of these is Metformin, also sold under the brand name Glucophage.
What is Glucophage?
This drug is used to treat type 2 diabetes and is also known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. When people have type 2 diabetes, it means that their bodies aren't making enough insulin on their own, or that they aren't responding in a normal way to the insulin that their bodies do make. This makes sugar build up in the blood and it can lead to serious problems including kidney damage, amputations and blindness.
Before beginning any medication for diabetes, it is always recommended that you try to control your condition through exercise and weight loss. If you find that these changes, alone, do not completely control your diabetes, then a drug like Glucophage may be right for you. You should, however, continue eating right and exercising even if you have a drug working to control your diabetes. Glucophage works by helping the body to respond better to the insulin that it makes naturally. It also decreases the amount of sugar that the liver makes and it decreases the amount of sugar that the intestines absorbs.
Who Should Not Take This Drug?
A small number of Glucophage users have developed a dangerous condition called lactic acidosis. This is caused by a buildup of lactic acid in the blood and it happens most often with people who have kidney problems. Most people who have kidney problems will be told by their doctor not to take this drug. Furthermore, there are other conditions that can increase your chances of getting lactic acidosis, and you will be advised not to take Glucophage as a result. These conditions include liver problems, heart failure that is treated with certain medications, people who drink a lot, those who are going to have surgery and a few others. If you are pregnant or nursing, Glucophage is also probably not the right choice for you. You can discuss this option, and others, further with your doctor.
Glucophage and Children
While Glucophage has not been studied with children under 10, it has been successful with children between the ages of 10 and 16 for type 2 diabetes.
How to Take Glucophage
Your doctor will start you on a low dose of Glucophage, if this medicine does seem to be right for you, and he will steadily increase your dosage. Your dose will increase until your blood sugar is under better control. This medicine is taken along with meals and may also be taken with other medicines to help with your type 2 diabetes. It is often taken in tandem with insulin shots. You will be told to continue to diet and exercise while taking Glucophage and to test your blood sugar regularly.
Side Effects of Glucophage
In rare cases, Glucophage can cause the serious side effect called lactic acidosis. These cases have usually occurred in people who have kidney problems and it has been reported in about one in 33,000 patients who were taking Glucophage over the course of one year. This condition is rare, but can be fatal for up to 50% of people who develop it. If you see any signs of lactic acidosis, you will need to stop taking the medicine immediately and be seen by your doctor. Signs of lactic acidosis include feeling weak, having muscle pains and trouble breathing, feeling cold, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, suddenly having an irregular heartbeat and having sudden stomach discomfort. Much more common side effects from Glucophage include diarrhea, nausea and upset stomach. These side effects tend to dissipate with extended use of the drug and taking the medicine along with meals can help with these issues. Approximately 3% of people who take this drug report a metallic taste when they start taking the medicine. This lasts for a short while and does go away.