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Discussion Starter #1
Finally saw a doctor after being told I have diabetes on May 14....then found out I've had it for a year....and yesterday he prescribed 850 mg of Metformin 2x day.

:Cry:I'm not happy about being on medication but guess I'll have to do this, so would like to have some input about taking it....when and with what? All it says is 2x day with food. When should I test? I'm dreading the side effects....am I being silly?

Anyway, I would appreciate your input. Everyone has been so helpful (over in the introduction section), so thank you in advance!
 

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Hi, I've been on Metformin for 4 years. Yes, unfortunetly it does cause some gastrointestinal issues for alot of people. I personally did not have a hard time adjusting because I already had those "issues" to begin with. Unless otherwise instructed you should take it with breakfast and supper. As far as your testing goes it depends on how often our doctor ordered; mine is twice a day, before you eat ANYTHING in the morning and before supper. Some people test more often (I probably should), but that's all my perscription allows and all my insurance will pay for.

Welcome to the wonderful world of diabetes....but without it you would not be meeting all these great folks on this forum.
 

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When I was diagnosed in January of 2009. They started me with 500mg of Metformin twice per day. And I was told to take it with breakfast and dinner.

After doing this for 11 months; they reduced my Metformin by half. I now take it only with breakfast.

As for testing. Originally no one told me squat. Other than the endo who diagnosed me. He said normal blood sugars are generally 100 give or take 20.
So on my own I tested before breakfast, 1-hr after lunch, and 1-hr after dinner.

After attending a diabetes education class in which they said to test 2-hr after eating. I changed my after meal tests to be 2-hr after lunch and 2-hr after dinner.

In the magazine Diabetes Self-Management they did a short article explaining how to test if your insurance company will only pay for testing twice a day.
It went something like (but not exactly) this:
  • Mon - test before breakfast and after lunch.
  • Tues - test after breakfast and before dinner.
  • Wed - test before lunch and after dinner
  • Thur - test before bedtime and in the middle of the night
  • Fri - test before breakfast and after lunch
  • Sat - test after breakfast and before dinner
  • Sun - test before lunch and after dinner

As time went by and I did a lot of reading on my own. I learned that the more testing the better, that "2-hr" after eating is meant to miss the BG spike caused by eating, but it's the spikes that cause the damage, and what you eat can greatly affect when the spike occurs and how long it will last.
After reading the book Blood Sugar 101. I learned to test a lot more often. And that because of what I eat; my spikes sometimes may occur as late as 3-hr after eating.

So I would say test as much as you can afford to test. This is probably most important when you are first diagnosed and still learning how things affect you.
And keep in mind the important times to test. Which are:
  • After fasting for at least 8 hours. Example before breakfast.
  • Before meals.
  • After meals/eating. Generally 2-hours.
    But experiment. Such as test 1,2,3, and 4 hours after a meal.
    You may find out you are not spiking when you and your doctor think you are.
  • Before exercise.
  • During exercise.
  • After exercise.
  • And before driving if you suffer from low BGs.
    (Such as if you take insulin or BG lowering drugs such as Glyburide.

--ET
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you both for the info. I am testing more often than the doctor said to but I need to find out exactly what is going on with my body. And I want to make damn sure I need to be on medication before taking something that is going to make me feel miserable....even the chance that it will makes me hesitate. I don't think I'll take it right away until, like you mentioned ETT, I know when my spikes are and what foods do it....I've already found that when I stay away from most carbs and don't eat anything for like 4-5 hrs, I get pretty low readings (like 108-114).

The foods that the ADA and others say is a diabetic diet seems confusing to me. It almost seems that by recommending a certain balance between carbs, starches, proteins and fats that one would keep their BS at a level where medication would control it, rather than eliminating the foods that cause the BS level and increasing the exercise. Is that just a far out theory? Is it because a lot of people continue to eat the wrong things and do no exercise? I understand that for some people, nothing will keep it down and they have to use meds, but I am not sure that I am one of those yet.

You can see how resistant I am! I'm already taking bp medicine (which I may be able to stop soon) and water pills, but I walk 30 min every day and have lost 18.5 lbs by eating right (very low carbs).

My A1c was 7.6 when blood test was done in April. My BG was 141....but here's what really got me....my A1c was 6.7 last July but they never told me or mentioned diabetes back then. Seriously, no clue. I just happened to start walking and eating right 2½ months ago because I KNEW I was getting too heavy. If I had had some warning last year I may have been able to reverse it then.

I have my first class with the dietitian on Tues so hopefully that will clear up a few of my questions, but I've already heard from her to "test 2 times a day" and that I'm going to learn about portion size...already know that. I just want to do everything I possibly can to stay off medication and stay healthy. I quit smoking 5 years ago and everything's been going downhill since then. LOL I was dx with severe psoriasis, arthritis, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and now diabetes. I know growing old can be tough (I'm 62), but jeez, give a girl a break!!
 

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oops typo :(
 

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Diana,

Personally I would not trust any medical professional who tells me to only test once or twice per day.
A few months ago I quit seeing my local family doctor because she said I only need to test once per day in the morning to get my fasting BG's.
BUT I've learned that high fasting BG's are one of the last symptoms to appear in diabetes. Basically; by the time you have high FBG's it's too late !
She also said that if I ever did test after a meal. I MUST test at only 2 hours after eating and never ever test at any other time.
And as you've also noticed; 2 hours after eating are not necessarily accurate indicators for after meals BG spikes.

I've also learned that normal A1C's are between 4.5 and 6.0.
NOT the under 7.0
7.0 (and 6.5) is old school. Complications have been show to still occur at those levels.
Type 1 and type 2 diabetics who take insulin are instructed to use those "old school" levels to have safer tolerances for any mistakes in insulin dosages or carb counting.

Your description of diabetes sounds very similar to my own.
When diagnosed I weighed 300 lbs, ate like crap, and got very very little exercise.
The endo who diagnosed me said I am I prime candidate for getting off medication IF I lose weight, improve my diet, and get regular exercise.
He talked about Mike Huckabee as being a famous example.

The best personal advice I can give you is to take your medication as instructed; because your A1C is high.
Educate yourself and change you diet and exercise to help get off the meds.

I can tell you that I found a tremendous amount of help in the books I've read.
See: http://www.diabetesforum.com/diabetes-diet-nutrition/2458-books-video-have-helped-me-greatly.html

In the past year I lost 120 lbs, have improved my diet greatly, and get at least 30 mins of exercise per day (walking at 3.5mph).
Because of this I have reduced my medication tremendously and have normal BGs.
Take a peak at my signature to see how my A1C has improved.

--ET
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Awhile back when I was having to make a decision about taking Enbrel for the psoriasis and arthritis, I found a site where people just like us give their own experience with almost any drug you can name. I did that for Metformin and after reading the reviews, I'm definitely not going to start taking it....what I failed to do was ask for the slow release version that someone in another part of this forum suggested. It's supposed to eliminate a lot of the problems.
GLUCOPHAGE: Side effects, ratings, and patient comments

You have a lot to be proud of and it's a pleasure to talk to someone who has made such an effort. You're not messing around with this and neither am I--that's why I said I'd rather cut out everything that raises my BG before taking madication that allows me to eat it in exchange for gas, nausea and diahrrea. As I said before, I can keep my readings within the norm for me and I can even walk 2 mi. a day instead of one....if all that doesn't help, THEN I'll try the slow release. I don't want to take chances with this, but I haven't even seen an endo because I don't have insurance....I go to a clinic at a local hospital and the dr.s are residents who come in and talk to the patient, then go back and discuss each case with the Staff physician. I personally don't feel they are up to par on all the diseases and new medicines. On top of that....with all the recalls of drugs these days, I'm not going to take anything just on the recommendation of one doctor. What were the latest ones that were recalled? I think Prilosec was one and I've been taking that occassionally...prescribed by this same clinic. I'm very grateful to be on this program at the clinic where I get all medication and most supplies for free (certainly the 50 strips I got for free), but if it's something out of their level of expertise, such as an indocrinologist, I would have to pay out of pocket for that. At least I have basic coverage----thank God for the internet!

So here's my test results for today:
5am 129
6:30am 151 after a 30 min walk, but nothing to eat?
Then I ate breakfast--multi-grain cheerios, skim milk & multigrain
11:16 143
1:00 pm 126
5:16 pm 103
This was my dinner...meatballs in beef gravy, mashed cauliflower & fresh green beans.
7:30 pm 130
I will check one more time tonight to see what happens 4 hrs after a meal.

This just shows me that if I don't eat any carbs, my BS stays down. Another thing is when they took that A1c test I had not changed one thing about my eating. That was 2 months ago and I'm willing to bet that in a month when they take another one, it will be a LOT lower. So since I've gone a whole year without knowing I had diabetes, I'm pretty sure I can go another month without medication.
 

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Your PCP seems to be out of wack.

There is no way to know that you've had diabetes for "a year"
all they can tell you is that youve had it for the last three months.
That's the coverage time for an A1C test.

Testing two times a day? I test at least 4 times a day.
fasting and 2hrs post each meal.

i take Metformin and dont have any of the side-effects.
Each person reacts differently to Metformin.

taking metformin is a good thing, it should not be looked
at as "failing"
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the feedback, TBP. My A1c in July09 was 6.7 and FG was 139. I was never told that my sugar was too high. Now in April of this year A1c was 7.6 and FG was 141. It probably would have been higher except that on my own I decided to finally change my eating habits and get some exercise because I just couldn't stand to be so heavy again. I had no clue about diabetes.

My fasting this morning was 151. Maybe this is another reason I should consider taking the Metformin.

Congratulations on your successes! Now I have to go walk before it gets too hot. It's going to hit 90° today here in Michigan.
 

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Finally saw a doctor after being told I have diabetes on May 14....then found out I've had it for a year....and yesterday he prescribed 850 mg of Metformin 2x day.

:Cry:I'm not happy about being on medication but guess I'll have to do this, so would like to have some input about taking it....when and with what? All it says is 2x day with food. When should I test? I'm dreading the side effects....am I being silly?

Anyway, I would appreciate your input. Everyone has been so helpful (over in the introduction section), so thank you in advance!
Hi Diana!

Well I can tell you *my* experience with metformin. I have been taking it for many years. It is pretty much the gold standard of treatment for insulin resistance in T2 diabetics.

First, the good things about it.... Metformin is highly unlikely to cause those dreaded hypoglycemia issues. Metformin does not directly stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin. Instead, it works to lower your body's insulin resistance which then allows you to use the insulin that your body is already producing more effectively. When I first started taking it I really noticed a huge difference in my control. I was at a point where I had gone on insulin because I could no longer get control with my glyburide alone. I was able to get back off insulin and enjoyed several more years on oral meds because of it. Of course, I eventually had to go back on insulin when my beta cell function finally failed....but I do still take it to help my resistance.

The bad things....GI issues....sorry. The good news is, they do go away. Just hang on and tough it out for a couple of weeks and they pretty much go away. Occasionally when I eat a really fatty meal I have what I like to call a metformin monent (you can only imagine LOL), but for the most part all side effects disappeared soon after I started taking it. If it really is unbearable, you can try taking it with food...or asking about the extended release form. I just take the regular old metformin.

You might not notice an incredible difference right away. Metformin has to sort of build up in your system to the max therapeutic level, but you should start noticing some improvements fairly quickly.

For me, it was well worth a couple of weeks of bloating, gas and a bit of the runs. It passed and the benefit (for me) far outweighed the brief discomfort. SOme people really never even have many side effects at all....you could get lucky :)

Good luck and let us know how it goes!
 

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Thanks Pam....I know I'm being very resistant about this, but it's just very hard for me to take something that I'm pretty sure is going to make me feel bad. :( I'm so mad that I forgot to ask for the extended release form that you mentioned to me on the other thread!!
 

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Thanks Pam....I know I'm being very resistant about this, but it's just very hard for me to take something that I'm pretty sure is going to make me feel bad. :( I'm so mad that I forgot to ask for the extended release form that you mentioned to me on the other thread!!
You might be surprised and find that its not nearly as bad as you are thinking it will be. I didnt find it difficult to take at all. Side effects for me were minimal at best. Fattier foods made it worse at first so if you do find its a problem that might help.
 

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My metformin experience is about the same as everyone else - I've never tried the extended release version, and regular met caused minimal (occasional loose stools) and short-term (less than a week) side effects for me, but I credit it with my 35# weight loss - it curbs my appetite but without any nausea or queasiness.

But I do understand your reluctance to start another medication . . . I'm sitting here doing the same thing with a different ailment. I have an occasional attack of gout - mebbe once/twice a year. But now I've actually been diagnosed & preventive meds prescribed. I've filled the prescription, but have yet to begin taking it. I'm sure if my toe swells up again this week, I'll be kicking myself for putting off medicating, but again - it's a drug that needs to be started low & ramped up. It also needs to be ramped DOWN if I ever needed to discontinue its use, hence my hesitation.

I do urge you to keep rethinking this, because I know the benefits of met, it's been around for many many years and while the side effects can sometimes be icky, it's a very safe & effective drug. I think someone called it the gold standard, and it truly is.
 

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no worries dude

Finally saw a doctor after being told I have diabetes on May 14....then found out I've had it for a year....and yesterday he prescribed 850 mg of Metformin 2x day.

:Cry:I'm not happy about being on medication but guess I'll have to do this, so would like to have some input about taking it....when and with what? All it says is 2x day with food. When should I test? I'm dreading the side effects....am I being silly?

Anyway, I would appreciate your input. Everyone has been so helpful (over in the introduction section), so thank you in advance!
The only side affect I had was looser bowels for a couple weeks.
My sugar is perfectly controlled with the metfomin and eating complex carbs that are also low on the glysemic scale.
I havnt had to lose any wieght to achieve this. My spelling has'nt improved either. =)
I can't say enough about beans. Whats harder to digest ? They are my staple. The base of my daily diet. I don't count carbs I don't even test my sugar on a regular basis. My levels are steady.
Your sugar will spike from foods that digest quickly and rush into your blood stream.
I eat: beans (Which are almost free, they're so cheap)
Vegies, fruit, plain yogart (you add the fruit to it).raw almonds, some other nuts, a little barley, and some meat to add flavor to the bean vegie mixture.
There are tons of sites that say you can eat things I won't touch. I feel like crap if I do. Like bron rice. One site sats it's okay and anouther says it's high on the glysemic scale.
Blood testing: They say right before you eat and an hour after.
Personally I don't want to go blind or have my legs cut off in incremants untill they're gone.
Your in controll. Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Ok, I'm going to give it a go starting today and I hope I have very minimal reaction to it. I don't know how long it takes to get into your system and affect your BS, but I hope I'm one that has good results!
 

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There is some lag time before it reaches maximum strength in your bloodstream, but it'll be working from the beginning, so I hope you begin to notice some positive differences (and NO negative ones! :))
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
There is some lag time before it reaches maximum strength in your bloodstream, but it'll be working from the beginning, so I hope you begin to notice some positive differences (and NO negative ones! :))
Shanny, I took it at 7:45 this morning with my breakfast and about 30 min. ago I was running to the bathroom. :) fortunately, I work at home and I'm looking at this as like when I did an herbal cleanse. I have no problem with that, just hoping I don't have any of the most uncomfortable ones. Also have to distinguish between real feelings and psychosomatic ones.

Fasting this morning was 144, then after walking 30 min, eating breakfast at 7:45 and taking my first pill (850 mg) I just sat and waited....hahahah...well, not literally. I posted my pictures from my walk and put two videos of my hummingbird feeder together and posted on youtube. Then at 11:40 I tested 106. I was going to have an apple with peanut butter, but I remembered what Pam said about fatty stuff making the side effects worse, so I ate most of the apple without the PB. :)

Now I'm doing some research about HOW Metformin actually works. It seems like the dr. put me on a pretty high dose so I'm wondering if I want to take the second dose. Don't want to have to get up in the night!

 

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That is a pretty high dose, Diana . . . but since it's regular met, you could safely cut the tablets in half, if you'd like to slow it down a little. That would be my suggestion - start out a little more slowly.

The great thing about met is that it doesn't slap our pancreas around to make it produce more insulin - it works to reduce insulin resistance so the cells can access the insulin that's already available. So our beta cells are still being preserved while our bodies are being helped to get the insulin they need.

Splendid picture! Could we have the youtube link of the hummingbird video? Please, please, pretty please?!
 

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That is a pretty high dose, Diana . . . but since it's regular met, you could safely cut the tablets in half, if you'd like to slow it down a little. That would be my suggestion - start out a little more slowly.

The great thing about met is that it doesn't slap our pancreas around to make it produce more insulin - it works to reduce insulin resistance so the cells can access the insulin that's already available. So our beta cells are still being preserved while our bodies are being helped to get the insulin they need.

Splendid picture! Could we have the youtube link of the hummingbird video? Please, please, pretty please?!
Now that I've actually taken it, so good so far.... but I think I'll just take it in the morning with breakfast for the first week to see how it goes.

And here's the link to my hummingbird video. for the 1st 60 sec. you can only see it through the feeder, but then he moves into plain site. These tiny creatures just fascinate me! After you watch it, check out the hundreds of other videos that are much more interesting than mine. :)
 
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