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Diabetes is caused by a decrease in production of insulin that causes increased production of glucose by the liver, and reduced uptake (and effects) of insulin on fat and muscle tissues. Since it is difficult to bring blood sugar levels to a normal range simply by limiting the carbohydrate intake, doctors prescribe Metformin, an oral and most popular anti diabetic drug.
Metformin is used to treat people with type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes. Though Metformin is sometimes used in combination with insulin or other medications, but it is not for treating type 1 diabetes.
Metformin acts by increasing the sensitivity of liver, muscle, fat, and other tissues to the uptake and effects of insulin. These actions lower the blood sugar levels in body and thus help in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
The drug works by suppressing the production of glucose in the liver. The liver puts all the additional glucose in the blood stream glucose into the blood stream when first phase insulin response is weak or missing that can cause blood sugar to shoot up after a meal. The liver may also secrete glucose in the blood stream early in the morning when fasting insulin levels are low.
Since the medication does not increase the amount of insulin produced by the body, it is less likely to cause dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), as many other diabetes medications can do. The drug has no or very few side effects if any. The most common is gastrointestinal upset and the other is associated with a low risk of hypoglycemia.
Metformin helps reduce blood sugar levels, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and is not associated with weight gain, and is the only type 2 diabetic drug that has been proven to prevent the cardiovascular complications of diabetes.
However, in taking this kind of drug it is important to know its contraindications as the use of metformin is contraindicated for people who have a condition that can increase the risk of lactic acidosis that includes kidney disorders, liver disease, and lung disease.
Metformin comes as a liquid, a tablet and an extended-release (long-acting) tablet to be taken by mouth. The liquid is usually taken with meals one or two times a day. The regular tablet is usually taken with meals two or three times a day. The extended-release tablet is usually taken once daily with the evening meal. Metformin works best if you take the medicine at the same time every day.