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January 6, 2010

Complications, Pills for Diabetes

Question from India:

I have been taking metformin for about five years. My control is excellent according to my A1c, but I sometimes have postprandial blood sugar readings around 200 mg/dl [11.1 mmol/L] if I forget strict control in eating. Moreover, if I skip metformin, my A1cs are still fine. Some doctors say that long term use of metformin can damage the kidneys. Can I stop metformin and adopt an alternative ayurvedic treatment with strict diet control? Can metformin damage the kidneys and is it reversible after stopping metformin?

Answer:

Metformin has a long record of providing good glucose control without low blood sugars and weight gain. It is safe to use in children and adults. It does not cause kidney problems. Rather, it is not to be used when kidney disease is present because its metabolites build up and can be unsafe. Both the American Diabetes Association and the European Association for the Treatment of Diabetes recommend metformin as a first-line drug in type 2 diabetes. Treatment of the blood sugars with the metformin will be better than trying to use only diet alone.

JTL