Metformin is a medication that is used in treatment programs for disorders of insulin resistance that include Type 2 Diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and some forms of liver disease. It has shown increased abilities to fight weight gain and to prevent certain types of cancers, including pancreatic cancer. The side effects of Metformin can be very wide ranging, some of them very severe.
The General Metformin Side Effects
In general, the list of possible side effects of Metformin can appear to be quite manageable. However, patients often can incur a multitude of these symptoms, especially within the first few weeks of treatment. This can result in some added stress to the patient until the medication begins to take affect within the body.
Patients might experience, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, stomach pain, cramping, difficulty breathing, moodiness, confusion, dizziness and fatigue. Metformin has been known to induce diarrhea, flatulence, severe headaches and increased heart rates. It is not uncommon for the patient to experience the same symptoms as a bad case of the flu, including excessive sweating, fever, chills and muscle pain as some of the other possible negative side effects of Metformin.
Because this medication works to regulate the patient's insulin levels, this affects the body's intestinal tract. This can cause abdominal bloating, which can also lead to an increase in body weight. Although this drug is often used in patients with PCOS in the hopes of inducing weight loss, the opposite effects are entirely possible. It is therefore crucial for all of these symptoms to be reported to the prescribing physician immediately.
More Severe Possible Side Effects of Metformin
Perhaps the most dangerous and perhaps deadly side effect felt from this medication is the patients potential to incur lactic acidosis. This is the body's increase in production of lactic acids which can create a toxic affect within the bloodstream. This is more apt to occur in patients with liver disease or alcoholism where the excessive increase of alcohol into the body can lead to dehydration.
Lactic acidosis is a fairly uncommon side effect in patients who take Metformin, but it symptoms include many of the same general side effects of Metformin described above. Lactic acidosis can lead to an increase in the size of the liver and can be confused with bloating. The potential for chills may increase to the patient even developing blue hands and fingers. If this occurs, the patient should immediately seek medical assistance.