What Happens If You Drink Alcohol While Taking Metformin
What is Metformin?
It is an oral diabetes drug that is used to control blood glucose levels. Metformin can be used alone or in combination with other medications to treat people with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes refers to a chronic condition where the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin or use it properly. Insulin is a natural hormone which transports glucose from the blood stream to the body tissue to be stored or used for energy. Without insulin, glucose cannot enter the body’s cells and stays in the bloodstream. Too much glucose in the bloodstream can lead to serious health complications. People with type 2 diabetes can take this medicine to help them reduce their blood sugar levels. However, this medication should not be used to treat type 1 diabetes, a condition where the body produces little or no insulin at all. This is because the drug works by helping the body respond properly to the insulin it already makes. In addition, it reduces the amount of glucose produced by the liver and decreases the amount of glucose absorbed by the intestines. This helps to control high blood glucose levels.
How to take this medication
The dosage of metformin will vary depending on the patient’s medical condition and response to treatment. To reduce the risk of side effects such as stomach upset, your doctor may advise you to start on a lower dose then increase it gradually. Make sure you take this medication exactly as it is prescribed by your doctor. This medication is supposed to be taken by mouth, normally one to three times per day together with meals. Use this medication every day so that you can get the most benefit out of it. Your doctor may need to change your dose occasionally so that you can get the best results. Remember to use this drug at the same time every day.
You should check your blood sugar regularly as you use metformin. Take note of your blood sugar results and share them with your doctor. In case it is too high or too low, your doctor may need to change your dosage. You should not take this diabetes medication if you are in a state of diabetic ketoacidosis or have severe kidney problems. In case you missed a dose, you should take it as soon as you remember. Never take a double dose to make up for the missed dose, however. In case it is time to take the next dose and you missed the last one, you should skip the missed dose altogether and just continue with your normal dosage as usual. In case of a drug overdose you should seek medical attention immediately. An overdose of metformin can result in lactic acidosis.
Metformin and alcohol consumption
If you have diabetes, you might be wondering whether you can take metformin and alcohol together. Just like other medications which interact with other substances, the drug can interact with alcohol, leading to harmful effects. Therefore, if you are taking alcohol you should inform your doctor before they prescribe you to take metformin. Using this drug and alcohol together can result in adverse effects such as lactic acidosis and hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is a condition characterized by extremely low blood sugar levels. You may experience symptoms such as dizziness, confusion and drowsiness. It is important you inform people you are drinking with that you are diabetic. They may help to watch out for these symptoms. If people around you notice these symptoms of hypoglycemia, you should stop drinking immediately. You may be required to use a glucagon emergency kit in case you are experiencing severe hypoglycemia. Excessive consumption of alcohol while you are using this medicine may lead to a build up of lactic acid in the blood. This may damage vital organs, including blood vessels, lungs, kidneys, and the heart. If lactic acidosis is left untreated, it could cause your organs to shut down which may result in death. If you notice any symptoms of lactic acidosis while taking the medication and alcohol you should visit an emergency room immediately. Lactic acidosis is an emergency condition.
Symptoms of lactic acidosis include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Feeling cold
- Stomach discomfort
- Severe muscle pain
As you can see, the interaction between metformin and alcohol can be harmful or even severe. However, that does not always mean you cannot drink alcohol while taking this drug. Speak to your doctor before drinking alcohol while taking metforming. Alcohol normally affects people differently, hence it is important you talk to your doctor to find out whether it is safe for you. Your doctor understands your medical history. Therefore, they can know if taking this medication and alcohol together is safe for you or not. If your doctor tells you it is safe to take alcohol with this medicine, you should aim to drink moderately.