RECALL OF METFORMIN EXTENDED RELEASE
In May 2020, the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)recommended that some makers of metformin extended-release remove some of their tablets from the United States market. This is because an unacceptable level of a probable carcinogen (cancer-causing agent) was found in some extended-release metformin tablets. If you currently take this drug, call your healthcare provider. They will advise whether you should continue to take your medication or if you need a new prescription.
Metformin is a drug for lowering blood sugar in type 2 diabetes. Research suggests that it may be safe for pregnant individuals to use, but people should speak first with a doctor.
Metformin is a medication that helps lower blood sugar due to type 2 diabetes.
This article explores metformin use during and after pregnancy and in relation to fertility. It also discusses side effects, dosage, and alternatives to metformin. Finally, it answers some frequently asked questions.
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
Some people have concerns about using metformin during and after pregnancy because it crosses the placenta. This means that when a pregnant person takes metformin, so does their fetus.
Metformin and gestational diabetes
The same trial also noted that babies born to the women receiving metformin treatment had less fat, including lower mean fat mass and lower birth weight.
However, there was also a higher proportion of babies in the metformin group that were smaller than expected for their gestational age. The researchers noted that more research is necessary to determine the long-term consequences of these effects.
Doctors may prescribe metformin to people with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) to help with insulin resistance relating to this condition.
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For pregnant people, these symptoms may make the feeling of morning sickness worse. A doctor may prescribe the lowest effective dose to help reduce or prevent side effects with metformin.
Metformin may also cause more serious complications in rare cases, such as lactic acidosis. Symptoms of this condition vary greatly but may include:
- strong stomach pains
- nausea and vomiting
- irregular heart rate
- dizziness, weakness, or feeling light-headed
- tiredness or extreme fatigue
- trouble breathing
- muscle pains
- difficulty sleeping
If a person feels they have any serious symptoms or signs of lactic acidosis, they should contact an emergency medical team immediately.
The dosage of metformin for people with type 2 diabetes varies. A doctor will
A doctor may also prescribe metformin for pregnant people who take insulin for type 2 diabetes to help with symptoms that develop during pregnancy.
Metformin dosage for people with PCOS also varies according to their reaction to the medication.
To minimize side effects, doctors start an individual on very low doses and gradually increase these until their symptoms improve.
Pregnant people with gestational diabetes or type 2 diabetes may take metformin during their pregnancy with instructions from a healthcare professional.
However, metformin does not have approval for use by pregnant people in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. A doctor may decide to prescribe it to a person who cannot tolerate insulin or due to other individual circumstances.
Below are some of the most common questions and answers about metformin and pregnancy.
Does metformin help with gestational diabetes?
When does a person start metformin in gestational diabetes?
A doctor may prescribe metformin to a person with gestational diabetes as soon as they receive a diagnosis.
An individual may start on an initial dose of
Why do some pregnant people get gestational diabetes?
A person’s body will release hormones during pregnancy that result in changes such as weight gain. This results in the body reacting less effectively to insulin, which people call
What are the risks of having diabetes while being pregnant?
Risks to a pregnant person with gestational diabetes include:
- having to undergo a cesarean section
- risk of injury during birth
- receiving a diabetes diagnosis in the future
Risks to the fetus during gestational diabetes include:
- growing to a larger size than expected
- premature birth
- having low blood glucose levels at birth
- requiring treatment in the hospital
- breathing problems
developingobesity in the future congenital anomalies stillbirth
What should I avoid while taking metformin?
A person should inform their doctor about any medications they are taking, as some can interact with metformin.
Medications that may
Some drugs that
- alpha-lipoic acid
- selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
- other anti-diabetic agents
A doctor may also
Should a person stop taking metformin during pregnancy?
Individuals should stop taking metformin if they are pregnant unless they have discussed continuing the medication with their doctor.
A doctor will monitor a person taking this medication to ensure they are not experiencing unwanted side effects.
If a healthcare professional feels that someone should not be taking metformin during pregnancy, they may offer an alternative.
Research suggests that metformin has a low risk of complications during pregnancy. However, further research may be necessary.
Some studies suggest that the drug may even have benefits for pregnant people and their fetuses following appropriate use.
Doctors will carefully manage metformin dosages depending on each person’s medical history. An individual should speak with their doctor for further advice about their concerns.