PCOS/Insulin Resistance Support - Metformin weird side effect pattern--help?

07-11-2012, 03:56 PM
I started taking Metformin 8 days ago. I'm on a low dose--500 mg at dinner. I'm supposed to increase to 500 mg at breakfast and dinner, well, today, but I'm just not able to do that today.

The first two days, I woke up with horrid nausea--akin to morning sickness. Really bad.

Then that passed. Felt fine.

Yesterday, right after lunch I begin to feel badly: sick to my stomach, even had some diarrhea. It passed.

Today, I woke up feeling so dreadfully wretched--sick to my stomach, stomach pains, dizzy--that I went back to bed after a half hour and slept another two hours and change. Woke up still feeling puny, but got up and ate. (Thought that might help.)

The stomach pain and nausea abated and then came back again pretty strong.

1.) Is it normal for the side effects to seem to be leveling off and then come back?
2.) Should I be concerned?
3.) Will this pass??? School starts back in about 6 weeks. I can't function like this.
4.) Is there something I can do to lessen this? I take it with food, but is there something more specific? A certain type of food? A certain time of day?

Any suggestions will help. I am committed to the new diet and medication regimen, but I feel so terrible today.
(Sorry for the whining.)

07-11-2012, 04:13 PM
Call your pharmacist.

07-11-2012, 04:29 PM
I myself take 500 mg twice a day with food and it does say "Severe vomiting or diarrhea may cause dehydration. If these occur call MD" on my bottle. I use to have the side effects sheet, but I don't. If you do have your sheet, check that as well. Your symptoms could be bad side effects that means you should be consulting someone.

I would call your doctor, however, now, if this continues, or if it gets worse. I haven't had these side effects, except dry mouth lol, but everyone reacts differently to medications. Just call and see to be sure.

07-11-2012, 04:30 PM
I did call the pharmacist. He was positively no help. Lol.

I was hoping to hear from others who've taken it and dealt with this.

Unfortunately, my doctor is apparently out for vacation, lol.

07-11-2012, 04:41 PM
When I first started taking it, I think it was about a month before the side effects went away. Try not to get too frustrated with it because it really is a good medication after you get used to it.

07-11-2012, 04:47 PM
Unfortunately, my doctor is apparently out for vacation, lol.

Lol, why is it when you most need them they're always never around. Hehe. Sorry ^_^. What about just not taking it, for now? Could always be an option since you haven't been on it long and it just keeps getting worse until you can see your doctor.

Sorry not that much help since I didn't have to deal with the side effects.

Best wishes! Hope you feel better definately!


07-11-2012, 06:21 PM
I ended up in the hospital because of metformin. If your doctor is away go back to just the one pill at dinner... Hopefully you can figure something out. I dont take it anymore.

07-11-2012, 08:14 PM
Victoria--how has your weight loss been impacted by not taking it?

I'm so frustrated after five years of trying everything and getting no results, I'm afraid of not being able to take this drug. But it is making me so sick I can't function. I'm at the lowest dose right now. I was doing fine, but all day today I've basically been in bed.

07-11-2012, 09:59 PM
I agree, go back to the dose you were okay with (1 with dinner). Any number of things could be going on with your body and it's better to be safe until your doctor returns.

I wouldn't just assume this is normal, so please be careful!

07-11-2012, 10:32 PM
I never changed doses. This reaction is happening at the opening dose.
I began with one at dinner. I stayed there. The reaction began before I had time to up the dose.

07-11-2012, 11:05 PM
I would stop taking it until you can get ahold of your doctor. You don't want to chance your health for help in weight loss. I would rather have the same number on the scale for a few more weeks than be unable to function... at least until you can get with a professional who can give you more advise.

I personally took it, 500 mg at breakfast and dinner, for 6 months and it did very little to help me lose weight. I didn't have any side effects but also not significant weight loss.

07-12-2012, 04:11 AM
It has not stopped me from losing weight at all in fact im down 11 pounds in 8 weeks:) I try and do at least 7000 steps a day and at least one hour of activity (going to a hike, a walk, bootcamp, anything really) I haven't really changed my diet much just try and eat more of the good stuff. But i do think since starting progesterone and actually getting periods that the weight is now coming off i think they are connected.

07-12-2012, 12:16 PM
I had to drop metformin after like 2 months because it completely wrecked my liver function. When the blood work came back and said that I suddenly had the liver of a 50 year old alcoholic, the endocrinologist hardly batted an eye and said "yeah, that can happen with your meds...maybe a different dose?" Needless to say, I didn't go back to that endocrinologist again and stopped taking it immediately.

Even with IR and pretty ridiculous hypothyroidism I've been able to lose weight without metformin (I didn't lose any on it, but that was probably because I was on it for such a short period of time). I'd say putting it on hold until you can get in touch with your doctor is a good idea...

07-12-2012, 01:07 PM
I take 4 of the 500mgs metformin pills, the extended release one's ( which don't have as many side effects as the regular ones )...I do remember being sick to my stomach, having little to no appetite, and having some major stomach problems for the first few weeks but it did go away completely...I don't know if it has helped at all with any weightloss as I have been on it for about 4 years now and just recently started losing weight ( in Feb ) because of diet change and exercise...so it may help some if you are working on it, but not totally sure.

Good Luck, hope your dr comes back soon so you can discuss what needs to be done.


07-14-2012, 11:20 AM
I haven't taken it, but I might start it soon. I read on another board that most people have these symptoms with metformin while still eating a lot of carbs and that lowering the carb count can help. Idk, it may be worth a try???

07-14-2012, 12:47 PM
Yes, try it. I have also heard it's a common side effect of too many carbs.

Try having a day where you just eliminate the unhealthy carbs, like white rice, bread, and pastries/cookies/cakes/candy and see if that helps. Then start reducing potatos, etc. until you find a combination that works for you.

You shouldn't worry too much, since it is "normal" and like others have said, it may take a while for your body to get used to it.

What Metformin is doing is making you more sensitive to the insulin your body is producing. This is a big change to what you're probably used to in the past. Just keep hydrated and balanced with your electrolytes (that's NOT Gatorade!).

07-15-2012, 05:32 PM
I had similar side effects like you when I was first put on a low-dose formula. Your symptoms should subside after you've taken it for an extended period..mine went away after a month or so.

There are a couple things that helped me lessen the severity of the side effects:
Definitely take it with food. I wanted to die when I took it on an empty stomach! (Now I can take it whenever with no side effects)
Don't take it with high-carb foods. Again, my side effects were more severe when I ate carbs and took metformin. And come to think of it, even if I eat a carb-loaded meal now, I'll get mild symptoms like when I first started.

I wouldn't up your dosage until your symptoms start subsiding. But I had symptoms like yours and they eventually went away.

07-15-2012, 08:13 PM
I just started metformin for PCOS and insulin resistance. So far, I have lost my appetite (but also going through a massively painful breakup) and I have diarrhea and nausea sometimes but it hasnt been bad. I take 500mg with breakfast. Did you all have the bad side effects right away or did they develop over the first few weeks?

07-16-2012, 10:49 AM
You take it with food. Make sure you do. And make sure you are eating balanced meals and nothing overly junky. Nothing like a round of pizza to give me Metformin revenge. Ugh.

That said, you can change to the "other" -- if taking plain met, go with extended release. If taking extended release, go with plain.

You can also change to a different one with your doc's help -- fortamet, glumetza -- they are absorbed in different parts of the body like stomach or small intestine and that may help you.

Hang in there!


07-16-2012, 04:36 PM
I even went back to phase one of South Beach trying to take it. :(

I gave it up. Waiting on doctor to return so I can call him and talk to him about it.

I just felt terrible on the drug. Even before the stomach issues, I was just tired and hazy headed on it. :(

07-17-2012, 02:26 PM
Doctor finally back from vacation!

Here's the scoop:
They have to start everyone on Metformin for insurance to pay. He said most ppl can't hack it. So then he puts you on the name brand, Glucophage.

If I can't hack that one, then there is another drug altogether--can't recall the name of it, but it also starts with a G.

But in order to have a prayer of your insurance picking it up, you gotta go through the paces. The last drug is super expensive, they said.


I'm a poor grad student. May end up on no meds due to funds. My insurance really sucks.

But thanks, everyone, for the support. I appreciate it. Just wanted to update you.

07-18-2012, 01:10 AM
Is this specific to your insurance? Most insurances will pay for this med without having to take generic first. All the doctor has to do is write "brand name only" on the prescription.

07-19-2012, 10:39 AM
I'm on 1500 mg of Metformin daily, been on it since about 2005 - when I first started I would get nausea, headaches (still do sometimes) Now all i get is diarrhea so i take it at night after dinner.

07-26-2012, 09:06 PM
I just started Metformin ER 500mg ... I had taken regular Metformin in the past and had HORRIBLE stomach/nausea issues. My MD prescribed the ER version which has DEFINITELY helped.

It's not perfect. I still have some tummy issues, but not to the extent that the regular dose caused. I take mine at about 9PM with a small snack and I have found that it helps taking it that way (shortly before bed).

Good luck!