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September 2, 2001

Pills for Diabetes

Question from Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA:

My doctor told me that because I am overweight (230 pounds) and my insulin level is elevated, he wants me to take Glucophage for two months and then go back to see him. I don't have diabetes as far as I know, and I have never had a high sugar level in my life. Is this treatment okay for me?

Answer:

The therapy in question is gaining popularity in treating patients, especially women, who demonstrate obesity, hyperinsulinemia, and irregular menses. Glucophage [metformin] is a medication that has been approved for use in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. However, it is being administered to patients without diabetes, in order to treat the metabolic syndrome associated with hyperinsulinemia. The dose is very low. The most common side effect is loose stools at first, but this gets better over time.

JTL