I just read an article on metformin( glucophage) this morning. I saved the article to my glucophage folder and noticed that I had accumulated 27 articles on metformin and had written 7 blogs on metformin this last year. It is unusual that an old drug continues to get so much good attention. Maybe we are just beginning to understand some of the many effects this drug has on our body, most of them good. I read my blogs and the 27 articles, abstracts and discussions again and will review them here.( click on the Facebook tab to read my previous post on metformin)
Today will be a summary of my reading this morning.
Metformin physiology - absorbed in our small intestine with the unabsorbed portion eliminated in our feces.
- absorbed metformin is 100% removed from our bodies into the urine
Comment - This little bit of physiology is important for every person taking this medication. Gastric bypass surgery can increase absorption of metformin by as much as 50% resulting in toxic blood levels. Any damage to our kidneys
will cause an abnormal accumulation of metformin in our blood. Just getting older effects our kidney function and is a reason for caution.
Metformin and thyroid test- TSH ( thyroid Stimulating Hormone) may be falsely low. This makes it more difficult for your doctor to diagnosis hypothyroidism( low thyroid function) primary hypothyroidism
is diagnosed by having an elevated TSH and low T4 levels.
Metformin and Vitamin B12 - Metformin can reduce B12 absorption. One article suggested that taking larger doses of B12 could correct this problem. Getting a yearly B12 level may be a good idea if you are taking metformin.
Why take this medication ?
It works and the benefits exceed the risk !
What are the benefits?
Metformin - is the first line medication for people with Type 2 diabetes because its safety record and its ability to reduces insulin resistance and improves glucose control and lipid levels
Metformin - slows the progression of pre-diabetes to diabetes
Metformin - reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. This was best demonstrated in the UKPDS study. (Lancet 352 Sept.12,1998 page 837 to 853)
Metformin - helps women with polycystic ovary syndrome
Metformin - has been shown to have anti -cancer benefits
Metformin ( Glucophage ) is just a good old inexpensive medication that helps a lot of people.