Friday, November 20, 2015

Returning to an Old Drug

Before my stroke, I was taking a medicine called metformin (glucophage).  An endocrinologist started me on it because I was having trouble staying awake at work without what I considered excessive amounts of sugar.  Her diagnosis was impaired glucose tolerance which is a term used to describe a number of problems  involving blood  sugar that are considered prediabetic.  As it was explained to me, the problem is that my cells were failing to take sugar out of my blood until it had reached a very high level, hence fatigue until I pumped up the sugar level.  This website says that:
Metformin’s main site of action is at the liver to reduce the excessive sugar release seen in type 2 diabetes. Metformin does not cause weight gain, and is usually the first choice of medication to treat type 2 diabetes. However, if you have kidney or liver problems, heart failure, or are very sick, metformin cannot be used.
 Of course, those don't match at all.  Metformin has a number of interesting and positive benefits:
Metformin  often  promotes  weight  loss  in  patients  with  obesity with  non-insulin-dependent diabetes  mellitus  (NIDDM).  The  mechanism  may be  attributed  to decreased  food  intake.  This study  has  tested  the  effect  of  metformin on satiety  and  its  efficacy in  inducing  weight  loss.  Twelve  diet-treated  NIDDM  women with obesity  were  randomly  given two dose  levels  (850  mg  or  1700  mg)  of  metformin  or  placebo  at  0800  for three  consecutive  days  followed  by  a  meal  test on  the third  day  on  three  occasions using  a  3x3  Latin  square  design.  The  number  of  sandwich  canapes eaten in  three  consecutive  10-minute periods  beginning  at  1400  hours  was  used  to  quantitate  food  intake,  and  the  level of  subjective  hunger  was  rated  just  before  the  sandwich meal  with  a  linear  analogue  hunger rating  scale  at  1400  after  a  6-hour  fast.
Of course, weight loss is one of my goals.  But there are others.  It apparently delays or prevents type 2 diabetes (a subject of concern because my father developed diabetes in his 50s and my brother died from it).  It apparently reduces cardiovascular disease although my physician pointed out that it is unclear if that is a consequence of metformin, or that it prevent diabetes, which increases cardiovascular disease.

1 comment:

  1. As a type 2 diabetic with weight gain on insulin as metaforin and other drugs stopped working .I have found low carbohydrate (high Fat) diet reduces blood sugar and weight. I have know heart problems .
    See books byGary Taubes for details.