Metformin question

How long does metformin take to kick in? I’ve only been taking it for 6 days, and I notice that my sugars are higher than usual. I think this could be because:
a) I’ve just stopped a birth control pill so my womanly hormones are out of whack, or
b) I haven’t been using the metformin long enough

After a meal I’ve eaten many times without problems, my 2 hour postprandial was 11.5 (207 mg/dl). I ended up taking a unit of insulin to bring it down.

How long should I give it to work? Should wait a while until my other hormones are more stable too?

Hi Megan,
Although I’m a Type 1 I’m taking Metformin to help me lose weight (it improves insulin sensitivity so you can take less insulin and therefore lose weight easier!). I found I had to take it for 2 weeks before I was able to reduce my insulin dosage at all - it’s almost as if you have to build up your levels of Metformin in your body before it works (although that’s obviously my completely-non-medical-opinion so is probably a load of rubbish!!).
As for stopping the birth control pill, I really don’t know if that’ll effect Metformin… I guess like you said though, it’s working on another hormone so this could be what’s throwing your blood sugars out of whack.

I’d keep taking the Metformin, if you don’t get any effects after 3 weeks I’d be surprised although as someone else here said, somedays you are high, somedays you are low no matter what you’ve done with your medication!!

Hi Megan,

It takes Metformin about 2 to 3 weeks to fully “kick in” Just keep a watch on your BG! Like Sam said, there are days that no matter what you do, you’re gonna be higher or lower than normal. It could be that your hormones are all out of whack, too! Who knows!! Just keep doing what you are doing! If, after three weeks, you aren’t noticing a positive change, then I would mention it to your doctor. Out of curiosity, how much Met are you taking? Also, how far down, did the one unit of insulin bring you?

Thanks for letting me know, I’ll hold on then to judge it. I think my hormones are definitely out of whack - I had a period, which stopped, and then started again!

I’m taking 500mg of Met (one pill at night, after supper). The unit of insulin (Novomix 30 - intermediate and long-acting insulin combined - combined with the Met) brought me down to 6.9 (124.4) an hour and a half later, and 5.2 (93.6) about three hours after the high reading. My fasting BG was 5.7 (102.6) this morning.

You’re welcome! Been there done that! LOL Mine have stopped all together now, and I’ve been having issues for the last year with all of this whacked hormone stuff!

Good deal on the bring down, and the morning BG!! :0) You may want to ask your doc about getting some Novolog, (taken on a sliding scale)specifically for bringing your BG down, instead of taking more Novomix on top of your regular doses. Just safer that way. Then you’re targeting the specific issue instead of possibly setting yourself up for a low later on.

It’s good to hear I’m not the only one dealing with all this madness. I was feeling very alone.

My doc said that he would give me some Novorapid if the Met wasn’t working. The only problem is that the Met isn’t working yet (Day 7 now!) and my sugars are still odd from the hormones. I wanted to get my sugars down quickly, and the only thing I had to do it was the Novomix, so I took it.

Nope, you’re not alone! :0) Some women do find that right before their cycle, they have issues with higher numbers. I personally didn’t have that issue myself, until my cycle completely stopped all together in Oct of last year.

Metformin will not help to bring your after meal numbers down, exacty. What it does, is help your body to use the insulin better than it does on it’s own (the insulin resistance). The Novorapid (here it’s called Novolog, but is essentially the same insulin, as far as I know) might not be something you would need all the time, but on occasion, when your BG is higher than it should be, for whatever reason. It’s advisable to continue with the metformin, no matter what. Your metformin may also need to be taken in the morning as well, and if that isn’t doing the trick either, then the dose may need to be upped to 1000mg, twice a day. (only time will tell) That is a is common at that dosage, and times per day, and is what I am taking also.

I started out on the mix, when they first put me on insulin. After about 6 months, I found it wasn’t working so well for me, so I switched to NPH and R(egular) separately, taking R before meals, IF needed, to prevent going high in the first place. For about a year, I rarely had to take any R at all, so long as I kept my meal under 30g of carbs, which is about how much I ate per meal, before my doc put me on insulin. Kind of like a habit that was hard to break! LOL It’s a good comfortable amount for me, anyway!

About a year ago, I started having issues with unexplained higher numbers. Nothing had changed. I still ate the same amount of carbs per meal, etc. So I had to up my dosage of NPH. The only thing I could attribute the higher numbers to, was my cycle stopping, and the hormonal state of my body.

Then, here recently, I have started having to take the R insulin with every meal, no matter how many carbs my meal is! I had become, well, basically lazy, about checking my BG throughout the day, since I had been doing so very well. But, began to randomly check, and found I was going high, even if I was eating a meal that was only 20 grams, or even 10 grams of carbs. So now, I’m trying to get myself back on track with the checking my BG after EVERY meal, and keeping my BG in a good range. As well as, bring my A1c back down from 6.4 to the 5.9 it was in September 2007 (the lowest it’s been - and a number I’m personally quite happy and comfortable with).

By the way, I take R insulin, instead of Novolog(Novorapid), because Novolog is SO much more expensive than I can buy the R for. Novolog is a bit more than double the cost! I haven’t any insurance, so I pay for everything out of my own pocket, and I try to keep my costs as low as is possible.

Hi Melissa!

I was higher the week before my period - it’s the reason I wanted to go on the pill so it would be more regular and easier to manage. Turns out the opposite happened!

I started out on the mix too. It didn’t work for me either - I ended up having many hypos, in spite of still having spikes after meals. I managed to convince my doc to switch me to the met, and supplement with NovoRapid if needed. I didn’t realise the met wouldn’t prevent spikes. Thanks for the info, because otherwise I’d still be waiting for it to work.

I’m still taking the metformin. Luckily the nausea is decreasing. I suspect that I’m not insulin resistant (odd, I know) as 1 unit of insulin drops my sugars drastically. My doc hasn’t done the tests for this, and I want to convince him that he should. I’m mainly sticking to the metformin because it seems to prevent hypos, and I’m sick of having them!

I was so frustrated yesterday, after I ended up with a BS of 180/10 after eating two slices of low GI bread, that I went out and bought a pen of NovoRapid/Log. I took a unit before lunch (scrambled eggs and two slices of low GI toast), and feel SO much better after it than I did after breakfast. This also happened to my quite suddenly - meals that I could eat happily now lead to spikes. I’m not sure if it’s due to female hormones or beta cell destruction or some other reason, but I guess the main thing is that I think I’ve found a way to cope with it.

Thanks for the tip on the R insulin, I’ll follow up on it as I’m going to be leaving my job and medical insurance next year.

Hi Megan,

Have you discussed taking NPH, Lantus or Levimir with your doc? NPH is probably the cheapest, which is the reason I take that. Though, I’m not sure of the insulin costs where you live.

I’m the same in thinking I don’t have insulin resistance, either! Or, not much of it anyway. People I’ve talked to say I take insulin (amounts) more like a T1 does, rather than a T2. I know there is a big difference between the amounts my dad and I take!! We were diagnosed with in 10 months of eachother! And both were Diabetic a good long time before being diagnosed, as the “guidelines” changed during our times, of what determines one has Diabetes!

I think he takes close to double the amount of NPH that I do. I take 20 to 25u AM/PM, depending upon my BG at that time. Usually my PM dose fluctuates more. I think he takes 45u of NPH AM/PM. And his insulin to carb ratio for the Novolog is like 1:1! I’ve been at 1:10 since I started taking the two insulins separately! My dad, he’s clearly got insulin resistance! I would like to be tested to find out and see if I’m not actually T1.5, but, can’t afford the tests. My treatment wouldn’t change any. It would just be for knowings sake.

Good deal on going and getting yourself some NovoRapid! I bet you felt better!!! :0) I don’t like to be over 140, ever! So I completely understand your frustration!! Especially when you ate something with so few carbs!

When I switched over from Glucotrol XL (extended release glipazide) to Glucophage XR (extended release metformin), my doctor said it would take about three months to kick in fully, and about a month for the tail end of the Glucotrol to wear off…