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June 19, 2000

Medications: Pills for Diabetes

Question from Tennessee, USA:

My doctor tested me and ruled out diabetes and thyroid problems, but she prescribed Glucophage to treat me for obesity. If I don’t have diabetes, and I am taking diabetes medication, will I be putting myself at risk for sickness later on?


From: DTeam Staff

Taking Glucophage [metformin, a pill for Type 2 diabetes] now even though you don’t have diabetes will not put you at increased risk for developing diabetes. Your doctor put you on this for obesity, likely to decrease insulin resistance that is often associated with obesity, and often leads to diabetes. Use of Glucophage for this is controversial, but there is increasing evidence that reducing insulin resistance may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Glucophage is also used to help treat the polycystic ovary syndrome that is often associated with obesity and causes irregular menses. Glucophage is usually a very safe drug, but you should be monitored for kidney and liver problems. It sometimes causes side effects such as upset stomach and diarrhea.