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Naturopathic Medicine
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Metformin, Glucophage


Metformin is a biguanide anti-diabetic drug.

Metformin is used for the treatment of diabetes mellitus type 2, especially when it is concomitant with obesity and insulin resistance. It is also being used experimentally in polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, two diseases that feature insulin resistance.

Metformin is the only anti-diabetic drug that has been proven to reduce the complications of diabetes.

Metformin is often prescribed to type 2 diabetes patients in combination with rosiglitazone, under the drug name Avandamet.


antidiabetic, biguanide, oral hypoglycemic


diabetes mellitus,

Side Effects

The most serious side effect of metformin is lactic acidosis.

anorexia, diarrhea, dyspepsia, flatulence, headache, hypoglycemia (anxiety; behavior change similar to drunkenness; blurred vision; cold sweats; confusion; cool, pale skin; difficulty in concentrating; drowsiness; excessive hunger; fast heartbeat; headache; nausea; nervousness; nightmares; restless sleep; shakiness; slurred speech; unusual tiredness or weakness), lactic acidosis (diarrhea; fast, shallow breathing; muscle pain or cramping; unusual sleepiness; unusual tiredness or weakness), megaloblastic anemia (tiredness, weakness), metallic taste, nausea/vomiting, vitamin B deficiency, weight loss

Drug-Vitamin-Herb Interactions

Negative interactions:

Ipriflavone may increase the effects of antidiabetics which may cause hypoglycemia.

Potassium citrate
Potassium citrate may decrease levels of sulfonylurea antidiabetic drugs.

St JohnÕs Wort and Dong quai
St JohnÕs Wort and Dong quai may cause sensitivity to the sun, adding to side effect of antidiabetics.

Mixed interactions:

Chromium improves blood sugar control, which may cause hypoglycemia with antidiabetic agents.

Ginseng lowers blood sugar levels, which may cause hypoglycemia with antidiabetic agents.

Diabetes may cause low levels of magnesium.

Magnesium increases the absorption of sulfonylurea antidiabetics.

Magnesium lowers blood sugar levels, which may cause hypoglycemia if used with antidiabetic agents.

Vanadium has an insulin-like action, which may cause hypoglycemia if used with antidiabetic agents.

Vitamin E
Antidiabetic supplements - Lipoic acid, Carnitine

Antibiabetic Herbs: Aloe, Bitter mellon, Bilberry, Burdock, Dandelion, Fenugreek, Garlic, Gymnema
Antibiabetic herbs may cause hypoglycemia if used with antidiabetic agents.

Antibiabetic Supplements: Lipoic acid, Carnitine
Antibiabetic supplements may cause hypoglycemia if used with antidiabetic agents.

Positive interactions:

Calcium corrects vitamin B12 malabsorption caused by metformin and phenformin.

Coenzyme Q10
Antidiabetic drugs interfere with the activity of enzymes containing CoQ10.

Vitamin B12
Metformin and phenformin cause malabsorption of vitamin B12.




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