Stopping Metformin: When and How You Can Cease Taking Metformin

When you’ve been taking metformin for a while and haven’t seen outcomes, or in case you’re experiencing dangerous unintended effects, you might surprise when and tips on how to cease taking it. 

Nevertheless, stopping a prescription medicine when you’ve been on it for some time will be extra difficult than you may assume. 

This text will clarify the whole lot you’ll want to find out about when and tips on how to cease taking metformin if it’s not working or if you’re experiencing unintended effects. 

Key Factors:

  • Metformin is usually discontinued on account of lack of effectiveness, extreme unintended effects, life-style incompatibility, or insurance coverage modifications.
  • Stopping metformin all of a sudden can result in antagonistic well being results like greater blood sugars and potential diabetes problems.
  • Seek the advice of a health care provider earlier than stopping metformin. Gradual weaning off is often beneficial to keep away from adverse well being impacts.
  • Options to metformin embrace different diabetes medicines, mixture medication, or life-style modifications.

Why would you need to cease taking metformin? 

Metformin is extraordinarily in style, usually protected, reasonably priced, and broadly accessible in america. Individuals who take metformin for improved blood sugar ranges (and modest weight administration) usually discover it efficient, with short-term and minimal unintended effects.

Metformin is mostly utilized by folks with kind 2 diabetes and prediabetes (a situation during which blood glucose ranges are excessive, however not within the vary for a diabetes analysis), and it’s typically prescribed “off-label” for these experiencing insulin resistance (a situation during which the physique doesn’t use insulin effectively) or for weight administration. 

Nevertheless, there are some explanation why people who find themselves on metformin could want to cease taking it. 

Metformin isn’t working 

Not everybody who takes metformin will get to take pleasure in improved blood sugar and HbA1c (A1c) ranges (a measure of glucose ranges over the earlier 2 to three months), not to mention the burden loss that’s usually promised with the drug. 

When you’ve been taking metformin for a number of months however usually are not seeing enhancements in your well being and high quality of life, you might be reassessing why you’re spending cash on the drug to start with.

It is a widespread purpose why folks cease taking metformin and is totally affordable. 

Metformin doesn’t and won’t work for everybody who takes it. 

You’re experiencing dangerous unintended effects 

Unwanted side effects of metformin embrace the next:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Fuel
  • Decreased urge for food
  • Vomiting 
  • Stomachache 
  • Weight reduction 
  • Metallic style in your mouth
  • Heartburn
  • Constipation 
  • Low blood sugar (in case you take insulin) 

These unintended effects are usually minimal and go away inside just a few weeks of beginning metformin. 

You possibly can study extra in our information Metformin Aspect Results: What You Must Know.

Nevertheless, for some folks, the unintended effects are so extreme and final so lengthy (or change into everlasting) that it fully disrupts their lives, rendering them unable to work or keep a social life or shut relationships.

When you’re experiencing unintended effects similar to power diarrhea, debilitating low blood sugars, or extreme bloating, fuel, vomiting, or nausea for various weeks after beginning the medicine, it might be time to speak to your physician about weaning your self off metformin and discovering an alternate drug. 

Metformin isn’t becoming into your life-style 

When you’ve been struggling to recollect to take your metformin capsule each day or typically twice each day, are inconsistent along with your dose, or discover it a trouble, it might be time to search out an alternate medicine that doesn’t must be taken so usually. 

Speak along with your physician about discovering an alternate, similar to a GLP-1 agonist like Trulicity (dulaglutide) or Ozempic (semaglutide). Each are injections that must be taken solely as soon as weekly. 

Your medical insurance not covers it 

Whereas metformin within reason priced with medical insurance and is broadly coated, in case your medical insurance modifications otherwise you change into uninsured, you might not need to pay the worth of it over-the-counter, which might change into costly in america. 

Guarantee that all of your medicines are coated on any new medical insurance plan you join, and in the event that they’re not and the over-the-counter value is prohibitive, speak along with your physician about discovering extra reasonably priced options. 

Your well being and blood sugar administration has improved and also you not want it 

Taking metformin, along with consuming a balanced weight loss plan and exercising repeatedly, is usually a nice jump-start to a more healthy life-style, higher blood sugar ranges, and decrease weight. 

So are you able to cease taking metformin when your blood sugar is again to regular? 

After some time, some folks could discover that they received’t require medicine any longer to handle their diabetes (a state often known as diabetes remission), and docs could wean them off metformin. 

Attaining diabetes remission is superb progress. However all the time speak along with your physician earlier than weaning your self off metformin to verify that you’re certainly in remission. It’s attainable that taking the medicine is the explanation your blood sugar ranges are staying in vary, and stopping will trigger them to rise once more.

When are you able to cease taking metformin? 

Metformin takes just a few weeks to change into totally efficient, so in case you’ve simply began taking the medicine, you’ll want to present it a while to work. 

Many individuals see decrease blood sugars inside just a few weeks of beginning metformin remedy, however for weight reduction and decrease A1c ranges, it may well take just a few months for outcomes to be noticeable. 

Except you’re experiencing debilitating unintended effects, it’s often finest to present the medicine a while to take impact. 

Dangers of stopping metformin

When you cease taking metformin all of a sudden, your well being could undergo. It’s possible you’ll expertise unintended effects similar to greater blood sugars, an elevated A1c, and even weight acquire. 

Over time, greater blood sugar ranges can result in diabetes problems, together with: 

Earlier than stopping metformin, be sure you speak along with your physician about your remedy choices and keep a nutritious diet and train repeatedly to maintain blood sugars inside your goal vary. 

How are you going to cease taking metformin? 

By no means cease taking any prescribed medicine with out first speaking to your physician. It’s essential that you’ll be able to successfully handle your blood sugar ranges by way of sustainable approaches first. A physician will use sure benchmarks to see if it’s acceptable so that you can cease taking metformin. 

These embrace:

  • Having a random blood sugar check of 180 mg/dL or decrease
  • Sustaining an A1c of seven% or decrease
  • Having a fasting or pre-meal blood sugar degree of 80 to 130 mg/dL 

Moreover, it’s unlikely that your physician could have you cease taking metformin abruptly, particularly in case you’ve been on the medicine for a very long time. 

They are going to most definitely have you ever wean your dose over time, so your physique has time to get used to a decrease dose with out experiencing adverse unintended effects like excessive blood sugar or weight acquire. 

Your physician can advise you on tapering strategies and the way a lot it is best to scale back your dose every week till you take none in any respect. When you cease taking metformin, it would take about 4 days for the medication to fully clear out of your system.

What are the options to metformin?

There are a number of options to metformin. These embrace injections, oral medicines, and life-style modifications. 

Along with metformin, the next medicines are at the moment out there in america as therapies for kind 2 diabetes:


  • Glipizide (model identify Glucotrol)
  • Glimepiride (Amaryl)
  • Glyburide (Diabeta, Glynase)


  • Repaglinide (Prandin)
  • Nateglinide (Starlix)


  • Pioglitazone (Actos)
  • Rosiglitazone (Avandia)

DPP-4 Inhibitors

  • Sitagliptin (Januvia)
  • Saxagliptin (Onglyza)
  • Linagliptin (Tradjenta)
  • Alogliptin (Nesina)

GLP-1 Receptor Agonists

GIP/GLP-1 receptor agonist

SGLT2 Inhibitors

Alpha-Glucosidase Inhibitors

  • Precose (generic solely)
  • Miglitol (Glyset)

Insulin (each basal, or background, insulin remedy and a mix of basal and bolus, or mealtime, remedy)

Rising your bodily exercise and following a nutritious diet can be wonderful methods, both alone or along with remedy with medication, particularly if these life-style modifications show you how to keep your blood sugar ranges throughout the desired vary. 

Consuming fewer carbohydrates, quitting smoking, and ingesting little to no alcohol may show you how to handle your blood sugar ranges.

Remaining ideas

Stopping metformin requires cautious consideration and session along with your physician. Whereas this medicine shouldn’t be efficient or tolerable for everybody, discontinuing it improperly may result in elevated blood sugar, weight acquire, and an elevated threat of diabetes problems. 

Focus on one of the best method to soundly taper off the medication along with your healthcare supplier, contemplating your particular person well being wants and any insurance coverage constraints, and discover different therapies that higher fit your life-style and well being goals.

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