Categories: weight loss

Metformin weight loss: lose weight fast on metformin


Discover how to lose weight fast on metformin.


If you have any medical questions or concerns, please speak with your health care provider.

Health Guide articles are backed by peer-reviewed research and information from medical societies and government agencies.

However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.Metformin weight loss: lose weight fast on metformin

Losing weight is no small feat, especially if you have more than a few pounds to lose. And if you’re feeling frustrated, you’ve probably looked at all sorts of options for help.

You may have heard of metformin weight loss, but is this an actual side effect you can expect from this diabetes drug? We’ll take a look.


What is metformin?

Metformin is a drug prescribed for people with type 2 diabetes (T2D). Metformin helps lower blood sugar levels in people who cannot achieve their goals with diet and exercise.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) considers it the first first-line anti-diabetic drug for people with diabetes ten years and older.


Metformin is a prescription drug approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Metformin can be prescribed off-label for different purposes, including weight management.

Metformin has a black box warning from the FDA. In rare cases, metformin can cause a life-threatening condition called lactic acidosis. See precautions below.

Metformin can be prescribed off-label for several other purposes. These include gestational diabetes (diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy), preventing type 2 diabetes, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).


Providers also prescribe it to people taking antipsychotics to manage weight gain experienced with these medications.

You’ve probably heard that metformin can also help some people lose weight. Is it? The answer is: maybe, a little, for some.

It is not a replacement for healthy eating and exercise. We will look at some of the mechanisms of metformin and who might benefit from it.

Metformin for weight loss

The main purpose of metformin is to lower blood sugar (blood sugar). It does this in three ways. First, it reduces the production of glucose in the liver.

Second, it slows the absorption of glucose from the intestines. Third, it increases insulin sensitivity to help the body process glucose better.

New studies have shown that metformin may have other health benefits, high weight loss among them.


At first, scientists thought the weight loss from metformin was a direct result of lower glucose levels. But research has indicated there may be more going on.

Studies suggest that metformin may reduce food intake by reducing appetite. However, the exact ways in which it does this are not yet fully understood.

Early research on metformin was limited to people with diabetes and found small benefits for weight in people taking metformin compared to placebo, sulfonylurea, or other diabetes medications.

Other studies have shown that metformin treatment was only weight-neutral, meaning people neither gained nor lost weight while taking it. However, this was still preferable to other drugs that stimulated weight gain.

An early study on people with diabetes and morbid obesity found significant weight loss after 28 weeks of metformin along with a healthy diet.

Other coronary heart disease risk factors were also reduced, including fasting insulin, leptin, and LDL cholesterol. However, this study was small and did not contain a placebo group.


Even in studies that indicated weight loss, the results were modest. One of the most extensive studies to date, conducted by the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), tested metformin in people with prediabetes (those at risk of developing T2DM). People randomly assigned to metformin lost an average of 4.6 pounds.

Other people may benefit from metformin. Many people taking antipsychotic medications have been known to develop a condition called metabolic syndrome.

Weight gain and increased lipids (triglycerides and cholesterol) are among the many signs of metabolic syndrome.


In one study, people on antipsychotics gained an average of eight pounds during the first twelve weeks of treatment.

For people new to antipsychotics, those taking metformin saw significantly reduced weight gain, lower body mass index (BMI), and lower insulin resistance.

Even for the groups in which metformin has clear weight benefits, it’s not a magic pill at all.


The amount of reduced weight seems to stabilize over time. In the DPP study, 29% of people in the group taking metformin lost 5% or more of their body weight by the end of the first year.

At the second-year follow-up, 26% of the group had maintained their weight loss.

The average reduction in waist circumference also did not change significantly between the first and second year. However, these reductions were both greater than those in the placebo group.

The word that we read over and over again in studies of the effectiveness of metformin treatment for weight loss is modest. It cannot replace major lifestyle changes in diet and exercise.

Losses tend to be small and may take a while to materialize. Lifestyle changes, such as dieting and exercising, are still the best methods for losing weight. But for people with diabetes or prediabetes, metformin may offer an extra boost.

Metformin Precautions

Metformin carries an FDA black box warning. Metformin can contribute to a condition called lactic acidosis, which can be life-threatening.


Certain medical conditions are risk factors for this problem. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have or have ever had any of the following conditions:

  • kidney disease
  • heart attack or any heart disease
  • diabetic ketoacidosis
  • liver disease

If you drink alcohol, be honest about your drinking habits, including binge drinking. Alcohol increases the risk of lactic acidosis.

When to contact your healthcare provider

If you experience symptoms of lactic acidosis while taking metformin, contact your healthcare professional immediately. Symptoms include:

  • extreme tiredness, weakness, or discomfort
  • nausea Vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • decreased appetite
  • deep and rapid breathing
  • shortness of breath
  • vertigo, dizziness
  • fast or slow heartbeat
  • skin redness
  • muscle pain
  • feeling cold, especially in the hands or feet

Other conditions may affect your ability to take metformin. Tell your provider if you had a serious infection, diarrhea, fever, or vomiting just before or after starting treatment. If you’re drinking less fluid for any reason, talk to your provider.

If you are having any type of surgery (including dental) or an x-ray procedure with dye injection, tell someone you are taking metformin.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant before taking metformin. If you become pregnant while taking it, let them know as soon as possible and follow their medical advice.


Metformin Side Effects

Metformin is generally well tolerated, but side effects may occur.

In addition to the symptoms described above under precautions, tell your healthcare professional if you experience any of the following while taking metformin (MedlinePlus, nd):

  • diarrhea
  • bloating, gas
  • indigestion, heartburn
  • constipation
  • Metallic taste
  • headache
  • changes to fingernails or toenails

If you experience chest pain or a rash while taking metformin, get emergency treatment. This could be a sign of an allergic reaction or some other serious problem.

Drugs interactions

In addition to the drugs listed above under Precautions, some drugs may interact with or affect your ability to take metformin.

Be sure to mention if you take any of the following medications (and always share your full list of medications with your healthcare provider):

  • angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • beta-blockers
  • calcium channel blockers
  • diuretics (“water pills”)
  • hormone replacement therapy
  • insulin or other drugs for diabetes
  • medicines for asthma and colds
  • medications for mental illness and nausea
  • medications for thyroid disease
  • morphine
  • niacin
  • oral contraceptives (birth control pills)
  • oral steroids such as dexamethasone, methylprednisolone, and prednisone

Dosage and cost

Metformin is available both generically and under the brand names Fortamet, Glucophage, Glumetza, and Riomet.


It comes in both regular and time-release formulas. It is also an ingredient in many combination therapy pills along with other diabetes medications.

Your health care provider will determine an appropriate dose. They can choose to start at a lower amount and gradually decrease.

If it is not covered by your insurance, metformin is inexpensive. The cost ranges from around $5 to $14 for a thirty-day supply, depending on the dose.

Speak with your health care provider

Metformin will not melt fat. But for people with certain conditions who aren’t reaching their weight goals through healthy habits like exercise and diet, it could provide the extra help needed.

If you need to lose weight, talk to your healthcare professional about solutions that might be right for you.



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