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Metformin (Glucophage) Side Effects

Metformin (Glucophage) Side Effects

Metformin (Glucophage) side effects

Using Metformin, trade name Glucophage, in the long term to treat diabetes can lead to mild and severe negative effects in both men and women. Mild side effects occur when you start taking the drug, but usually goes away after a while. However, in case of severe side effects they don’t go away until you seek medical attention.

The common side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Stomach pain
  • Headache
  • Indigestion

Serious side effects include

  • Muscle pain
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Irregular heart rate

If you experience any of these unwanted effects, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Interaction with alcohol

Lactic acidosis

The most serious metformin side effect is lactic acidosis. Drinking alcohol while taking this medication increases your risk of lactic acidosis. This is because alcohol raises the level of lactic acid in your body. Hence, you should avoid taking alcohol in large amounts while using the drug. The drug has a box warning people about the risk of lactic acidosis as a result of taking this medication in the long term. Although rare, lactic acidosis is a serious medical condition that happens when there is a build up of metformin in the body. This build up of lactic acid can cause severe damage to lungs, kidneys, heart and blood vessels. If you don’t treat lactic acidosis immediately, it could lead to organs shut down that results in death. To prevent this, you should call your doctor immediately when you experience any of the following lactic acidosis symptoms.

  • Decreased appetite
  • Lightheadedness
  • Weakness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fast or slow heart rate
  • Feeling cold

Hypoglycemia

Drinking alcohol while taking metformin may also lead to increased risk of having hypoglycemia. You may experience symptoms such as confusion, dizziness and drowsiness which are associated with low blood sugar levels. You should alert the people around that you have diabetes, so that they can watch out for these symptoms as you drink. If you notice any of these symptoms, stop drinking alcohol and eat food to increase your level of blood sugar. You will need to have a glucagon rescue kit in case you experience severe hypoglycemia. Make sure your family and friends know how to use the kit in case of an emergency.

The common side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Stomach pain
  • Headache
  • Indigestion

Serious side effects include

  • Muscle pain
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Irregular heart rate

If you experience any of these unwanted effects, you should contact your doctor immediately.


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Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this community article are strictly for informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. This article, and other community articles, are not written or reviewed for medical validity by Canadian Insulin or its staff. All views and opinions expressed by the contributing authors are not endorsed by Canadian Insulin. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.
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