Trying to lose weight and need a tool to help? You can try taking metformin, a popular prescription medication that’s been shown to help people lose weight. In fact, metformin has been around for decades and is known to be safe when used as directed by a physician. If you’re wondering if metformin is right for you, here’s a short answer – yes, you can take it to lose weight.
Why Has Metformin Been Around for So Long?
You’ll often hear people talk about the wonder drug metformin, but it wasn’t always so. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, physicians were unsure if the drug would be approved by the FDA. In fact, it wasn’t until the late 1960s that the drug was approved and started becoming available for purchase.
Metformin is a big-name drug, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to get a prescription. In fact, it can be difficult to get a prescription for metformin unless you’re already taking a diabetes medication. And even then, the physician might have to conduct some type of trial to see if the drug is right for you. However, once they do determine that it is right for you, they will likely write you a prescription for metformin.
How Effective Is Metformin in Helping People Lose Weight?
Although metformin has been around for decades, researchers only started investigating its weight loss effects in the last few years. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Adolescent Medicine examined the effects of a 12-week course of metformin on body mass index (BMI) in obese adolescents. At the end of the study, the researchers reported substantial and clinically meaningful improvements in BMI among the young participants who took metformin compared to those who took a placebo.
The benefits of metformin in terms of its effect on weight loss were also demonstrated in a study of adult participants published in the American Journal of Medicine in 2016. This study, which was unique in that it examined the effects of metformin as add-on therapy to other weight loss medications, found that those who took metformin lost more weight and had larger reductions in BMI than those who took a placebo. In fact, metformin was so effective that it helped reverse diabetes and pre-diabetes in some of the study participants.
When Should You Start Taking Metformin?
Although metformin has been shown to be an effective weight loss medication, it’s still not clear exactly when during the day you should start taking it. Many doctors will prescribe the medication once they’ve determined that you’re at a healthy weight and are not at risk for diabetes. However, you should start taking it on an empty stomach to maximize its effects.
Some experts believe that starting metformin as soon as possible after waking up might help promote weight loss. In a double-blind trial published in the American Journal of Medicine, researchers randomized participants to receive either 50 mg of metformin or a placebo immediately after waking up, with the option to take another dose of the medication at any time during the day. The results of the study showed that those who took the medication immediately after waking up lost an average of 2.5 kg more than those who took the placebo. Those who took the medication at the end of the trial had the most improvements in weight, suggesting that it’s preferable to take the medication in the morning.
Are There Any Risks Associated With Taking Metformin?
There aren’t likely to be any serious, life-threatening risks associated with taking metformin, but there are some risks that you should be aware of. The most common side effect is diarrhea, which you might experience when you first start taking the medication. Diarrhea is usually mild and doesn’t require any treatment, but it can be bothersome at times. You might also experience dizziness or headaches, both of which are relatively common side effects of the medication but are usually mild and tolerable.
Although uncommon, people have experienced severe allergic reactions after taking metformin, which is why it’s not advisable for people with known allergies to this drug. In fact, this side effect is so severe that it’s considered an emergency, and in some cases, it’s caused fatalities.
Metformin is a popular choice for people who are looking to lose weight, especially since it’s become available as an over-the-counter medication. However, not all overweight people will achieve the same results from taking the medication. It’s not guaranteed that everyone will lose weight when they take metformin, and it’s probably not the right choice for people who are already taking other medications for their conditions.