What Is Metformin and How Does It Work?
Metformin is a common type 2 diabetes drug that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved to treat high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, in people with type 2 diabetes.
“[Metformin] has been considered a first-line medication in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, and it mainly acts by lowering the amount of glucose released by the liver,” says Minisha Sood, MD, a board-certified endocrinologist in New York City. “It also helps a hormone called insulin to work better by helping muscles use glucose in a more efficient manner. When insulin works better — and insulin sensitivity improves — a person’s insulin levels are lower than they would be otherwise.”
There’s no cure for type 2 diabetes, but the right combination of medication and a healthy lifestyle can stabilize blood sugar levels, according to the Mayo Clinic, and in some cases even put type 2 diabetes in remission, according to a study published in Nutrients in April 2019. This, of course, is the end goal of any diabetes treatment.
As the medication helps your body reduce your overall blood sugar levels and restore your ability to respond to insulin, you’ll not only feel better, but you may reduce the risk of future complications of high blood sugar, such as heart disease, kidney damage, nerve damage or diabetic neuropathy, and eye damage (clinically called retinopathy), the Cleveland Clinic notes.
Why Does Metformin Cause Weight Loss?
The relationship between metformin and weight is unclear, but several theories provide possible explanations for weight fluctuations.
For example, metformin may affect hunger cues. In one small study, 12 women with obesity and type 2 diabetes who were not taking insulin were randomly given two dose levels of metformin — 850 milligrams (mg) or 1,700 mg — or a placebo three times a day for three days, with each participant going through the study three times so they had each dose and the placebo. Participants received a meal test on each third day and rated their hunger level before eating. Researchers found that hunger levels in the metformin group were significantly lower, especially so with the 1,700 mg dose compared with the lower metformin dose or placebo.
Another study, published in May 2020 in the journal Diabetes Care, found that when participants increased their metformin dose by 1,000 mg or more, they lost significantly more weight than those who didn’t change their metformin dose or decrease their dose. Emerging research reported in journals including Current Obesity Reports suggests metformin may also lead to weight loss as a result of changes in the appetite centers of the brain, shifts in the gut microbiome, and reversal of metabolic changes that usually happen with age.
Then there’s the possibility that the drug’s side effects can affect your food intake. “Some people who take metformin may experience gastrointestinal side effects like nausea and diarrhea,” says Rahaf Al Bochi, RDN, a Baltimore-based media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the owner of Olive Tree Nutrition.
According to a study published in the April–June 2017 Journal of Research in Pharmacy Practice, gastrointestinal side effects are a primary complaint from those who receive metformin tablets in their original formulation. The most common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea, which affect anywhere from 2 to 63 percent of people on the drug. Discomfort can be so severe that you may not feel like eating much and subsequently consume fewer calories. The extended-release forms of metformin have fewer documented side effects, according to a past review.
Is Long-Term Weight Loss Possible on Metformin?
Even though metformin may lead to some weight loss, the amount you lose may be far less than expected. On average, weight loss after one year on the drug is only six pounds, according to past research.
So while metformin is often given to people with high insulin levels who have difficulty losing weight, it’s not a miracle weight loss solution, says Dr. Sood. In other words, don’t expect a dramatic change in weight if you overeat and lead a sedentary life. You must follow a sensible weight loss plan with healthy eating and physical activity to see any significant change in weight.
“If someone isn’t following healthy habits, then taking metformin will not result in weight loss,” she says. “It’s important to follow a healthy diet low in refined sugars and carbohydrates if [you are] prone to high insulin levels so that maximum benefit from the medication is received.”
Read more When to Check Your Blood Sugar
Keep in mind that while the number on the scale may drop while you're taking this medication, this weight loss might be temporary. You could regain pounds once you stop taking the drug and your appetite returns to normal — hence the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
And yet one study, published in May 2019 in the Annals of Internal Medicine, did find that people in the diabetes prevention program who lost at least 5 percent of their body weight after a year were more likely to maintain the weight loss long term if they were in the metformin group than if they were assigned a placebo or a lifestyle intervention.
Can People Without Diabetes Take Metformin?
What if you don’t have type 2 diabetes? Can you take metformin for weight loss? This is an excellent question, and the short answer is yes.
Sood explains that metformin has been used off-label, or outside its intended purpose as approved by the FDA, for weight management in people without type 2 diabetes.
Some evidence suggests metformin may benefit these individuals: A 2018 review examining the efficacy of metformin for weight loss in people who were overweight and had obesity without diabetes concluded that the drug significantly decreased body mass index (BMI) in adolescents and adults.
But keep in mind that this drug is available only by prescription and is not FDA approved for people without type 2 diabetes. Your doctor will likely first recommend some of these traditional strategies for weight loss:
- Get support for your emotional health.
- Avoid sugary drinks.
- Drink water before meals to fill your stomach so that you eat less.
- Exercise for 30 minutes most days of the week.
- Prepare whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and grains.
- Limit your intake of processed foods.
- Eat a high-protein, low-carb, low-fat diet.
- Practice portion control.
If you don’t have type 2 diabetes, your doctor may sign off on this drug if you have obesity and are struggling to lose weight. But again, metformin isn’t a substitute for healthy eating and regular exercise, which are keys to sustainable weight loss. These habits also encourage weight loss if you have type 2 diabetes but can’t take metformin.
“Some people may not tolerate metformin, so it’s important to discuss options with your healthcare provider — medication is one tool to help manage blood sugars, but diet and lifestyle changes should be discussed first, because they can significantly lower blood sugars,” says Al Bochi.
As for what diet and lifestyle changes you should consider? “Diet modifications can include being mindful of your carbohydrate intake, eating enough protein and fat at meals, choosing high fiber foods, and decreasing intake of sugar-sweetened beverages,” says Al Bochi. She also recommends consulting with a registered dietitian for tailored nutrition recommendations. “Incorporating some type of movement, such as walking, weight training, or yoga on most days is also important for blood sugar management,” Al Bochi adds.
The Bottom Line on Metformin and Weight Loss
All things considered, in some people with and without diabetes, metformin can cause a modest reduction in weight. Nonetheless, scientists are still studying why the drug has this effect. Many factors — including appetite reduction because of the drug’s side effects — are likely in play.
Ultimately, metformin isn’t a silver bullet. The most important thing you can do to lose weight, whether to manage type 2 diabetes or for some other purpose, is to make changes to your diet and lifestyle. Think of metformin as the sidekick to those steps.
Also keep in mind that the FDA has currently approved metformin only for certain people with type 2 diabetes, not for those without the health condition. If you’re taking the drug to reduce your blood sugar in the case of diabetes, keep in mind that metformin comes with side effects you’ll want to discuss and manage with your healthcare team.
Additional reporting by Leslie Barrie.
— Update: 25-12-2022 — We found an additional article Trulicity Alternative, Trulicity Weight Loss Injection Dulaglutide OTC Alternatives from the website www.dailyuw.com for the keyword weight loss diabetes drug.
Whether you’ve been given the go-ahead to take the Trulicity Weight Loss Injection or not, you should understand some of the facts about it. You need to know what it does and how it works before you decide if it’s right for you. You also need to know about the side effects. We will also list some Trulicity alternatives over the counter as the medication (Dulaglutide) is not suitable for everyone.
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How Does Trulicity Work?
Using Trulicity weight loss injection can help you to lose weight. This drug class medication is designed to decrease blood sugar levels, which can cause heart problems. It is also designed to increase the rate at which your body produces insulin . Taking the drug along with a balanced diet and exercise program can improve your chances of losing weight.
The drug is a synthetic form of a hormone found in humans. When it attaches to receptors in your pancreatic cells, it tells them to release insulin when sugar is present in your bloodstream.
The molecule has been studied in several animal studies. It’s not always clear whether it will work in humans, but it’s been shown to reduce weight. In addition, it’s been found to lower hemoglobin A1c, which is an average of your blood sugar over the past three months.
In addition to weight loss, Trulicity is used to treat type 2 diabetes and suited to patients with multiple cardiovascular risk factors . This is a disease where the body does not use insulin properly. When a person is not able to produce enough insulin, the body is not able to properly control its blood glucose levels. If left untreated, the problem can lead to serious complications.
Trulicity works by slowing the movement of food through your digestive system, which results in a lessening of the amount of sugar released into your bloodstream. This helps to lower blood sugar levels, which can prevent damage to blood vessels.
Trulicity is a prescription medication that can be injected into your abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. You should inject the drug at the same time every week. It is important to follow the directions on the label. If you miss a dose, you should inject it within three days.
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Is Trulicity Prescribed Off Label?
Whether you are looking for a new drug to manage your diabetes, or are just seeking a new way to lose weight, Trulicity is a good choice. It is an FDA-approved medication that is used to lower blood sugar levels and prevent heart problems in people with Type 2 diabetes.
Trulicity is an injectable drug that is injected under the skin or in the upper arm. It works by causing the stomach to empty more slowly. This slowing down of digestion leads to an appetite suppression effect.
Trulicity is a part of a group of drugs called GLP-1 agonists . These drugs act on the same type of receptors as insulin, but do it in a different manner. Unlike insulin, which helps to prevent blood sugar from rising, GLP-1s work in a way to increase the production of insulin, which transports sugar into the cells.
The medication is not approved for use in people without type 2 diabetes, but it can be prescribed off-label for weight loss. It may be taken alone or with other medications, depending on your doctor’s prescription. It is considered a safe drug, but it can have mild side effects. It is important to understand the potential risk of taking this medicine.
There are several warnings on the bottle and box. The strongest warning comes from the FDA. It states that you should not take this medicine if you have had a thyroid cancer, multiple endocrine neoplasms, or a history of pancreatitis. You should also take the drug with caution when using other medications. It can cause hypoglycemia, which is dangerously low blood sugar.
When taking Trulicity, you should avoid drinking alcohol. This is because it can cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Other Diabetes Medications Similar to Trulicity
Orlistat (Alli, Xenical)
Phentermine (Adipex-P, Lomaira)
Trulicity Side Effects
Using Trulicity (dulaglutide) can help to lower blood sugar levels and improve the health of people with type 2 diabetes. It is a drug that can be taken in the form of an injection. It is used once a week to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes. It works by reducing the amount of glucagon released in the body.
It is important to take Trulicity with a balanced diet and regular exercise. It also helps to prevent blood sugar spikes after eating. It is also useful for improving insulin sensitivity. However, it should not be used if the benefits are not worth the risks.
It is best to consult with a doctor or other healthcare provider before starting Trulicity. Some of the most common side effects include stomach upset, indigestion, and loss of appetite. It is also possible to have an allergic reaction to the drug. This can be severe and can include swelling of the mouth, tongue, and lungs.
If you have kidney problems, you should talk to your doctor before taking Trulicity. Having dehydration can increase the risk of kidney problems. You may need to have frequent monitoring of your kidneys while taking the medication.
You should also discuss with your doctor how you plan to lose weight with Trulicity. If you have had a history of Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2, you should not use the medication. You should also avoid pregnant women or breastfeeding while using the drug.
It is important to keep Trulicity in the refrigerator. It is also advised to store it at room temperature for up to 14 days. Whenever you receive a new dose, you must use a different injection site.
Is it Safe to Breastfeed While Taking Trulicity?
Taking Trulicity Weight Loss Injection while breastfeeding is not a good idea. In fact, it may increase the risk of developing diabetes retinopathy, a disease of the eye. It is also not known if the drug will pass into human breast milk.
This medication is not for everyone, so make sure to consult your doctor. Using the correct dose is important, and you should not change your dose without your doctor’s approval. Changing medications can alter how they work.
The medicine’s expiration date is on the label. If it is nearing its end, you may want to re-evaluate your medication plan. You should keep a record of all the products you use. This will help you know if the medicine is still effective.
You should drink at least 100 ounces of water every day. Getting enough liquid is especially important if you’ve had bariatric surgery. If you can’t keep up with the recommended fluid intake, you may experience dehydration. This can be a sign of kidney impairment.
You should have a discussion with your doctor about your weight before taking this medicine. A healthy diet and exercise are associated with better blood sugar control. You should also have a checkup with your eye doctor to make sure your eyes are healthy.
The medicine may have some other minor side effects. However, the major ones are less likely to occur. You can expect to experience some stomach upset and minor rhythm problems. If you experience any of these, you should call 911.
In summary, Trulicity Weight Loss Injection is an FDA approved medication that can lower your blood sugar. It’s not for everybody, but it can be useful when used with other medications, such as insulin, to achieve better glucose control.
Is Trulicity FDA-approved for People Without Diabetes
Whether you have type 2 diabetes or not, Trulicity can help you lose weight. As detailed earlier in this content, the injectable therapy works by reducing blood sugar levels, which in turn reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart attack. Besides reducing hemoglobin A1c, the main measure of blood sugar, it also helps improve glycemic control.
Trulicity works by turning on the GLP-1 receptor in your pancreas. GLP-1 is a naturally occurring hormone that helps your body release insulin. When your blood sugar rises, your body releases more insulin to slow the rate of glucose production. When you don’t have enough insulin, your blood sugar levels remain high. This can damage your blood vessels, leading to a host of cardiovascular problems.
When a person has type 2 diabetes, the body has a hard time using insulin properly. This causes blood sugar levels to rise too high. Then, cells can’t get energy to work. This is called insulin resistance.
When GLP-1s are used with insulin, there is a small risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. This risk is lower than with other types of diabetes drugs, but there is a risk. It is possible that if you take both drugs, you’ll need to have more frequent blood sugar checks.
If you have diabetes, you should always consult with your doctor before taking any type of medication. Some types of medicines can interact with other medications, including alcohol. For people with poorly controlled diabetes, your doctor may recommend avoiding alcohol completely until you are better able to manage your diabetes.
Trulicity is a relatively safe medication, but it is not for everyone. It can cause some side effects, including nausea and vomiting. It also has a short half-life, meaning it will be eliminated from your body after five days.
Trulicity Alternatives Summary
Prescription drugs such as Trulicity are effective for reducing body weight and BMI in obese men and women but does present risks, allergic reactions and drug interactions. For this reason alternatives and comparable diet supplements are suggested.
PhenQ, Phen24 and Zotrim are three natural alternatives to Trulicity that can be purchased with prescription. Although the three natural substitutes are not a diabetes treatment, they can burn fat and suppress appetite and ultimately help users to reduce their body mass index.
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Insulin basics: https://diabetes.org/healthy-living/medication-treatments/insulin-other-injectables/insulin-basics
Type 3 diabetes: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/type2.html
GLP-1 agonists: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551568/