Using Additional Medication to Treat Type 1 (Metformin, Symlin, Byetta)

I am working with Amy Tenderich on some research for an upcoming blog post on people with type 1 diabetes who are using supplemental medication in addition to insulin to treat their type 1 diabetes. This could include using Symlin, Byetta and Metformin (which were typically just prescribed to people with type 2).

If you have experience using any of these drugs, or another one, please email me at or leave a comment below. We may or may not using your comments in an upcoming post.

  1. What drug(s) do you currently use?
  2. Why did you/your doctor decide you should go on them?
  3. What has been the results thus far? Any noticeable A1C or weight change?
  4. Do you plan on continuing using the drug? Why or why not?

Thank you!

  1. What drug(s) do you currently use? Insluin and Symlin
  2. Why did you/your doctor decide you should go on them? I am “acutely Labile” and needed the symlin to stop the over 200 after meal spike (regardless of type of insulin/timing/food–even low carb sends me saoring w/o the symlin)
  3. What has been the results thus far? Any noticeable A1C or weight change? It has stopped the spikes–as long as I take all 3 shots a day…if I skip too many the BG gets all put of whack- A1c not better but variance in BG is much less
  4. Do you plan on continuing using the drug? Why or why not? Yes I do–research has shownm less variance is best for long term prevention of complications
  1. Symlin. Tried metformin, but it had no effect on me

  2. Post meal spikes of over 250 no matter how much I bolused

  3. Lost over 30 pounds and still loosing, A1c down to 5.8 from 6.7 when starting symlin

  4. I plan to continue using it as long as I need it. As my weight goes down, my insulin resistance also goes down (sometimes quite dramatically) and I require less Symlin

When first diagnosed my son’s docs didn’t know if he was a 1 or a 2. He showed signs of both. The put him on Metformin and insulin and we did both for most of the first month. This past week he got his test results back and they said he was a type one and took him off the Metformin. The five days before they took him off his average BG level was 124 and the five days after were 189!..and just tonight he was up to 265 even with corrections and added insulin. When I asked if he was benefiting from the metformin they said yes but now that he was a type 1 he should not be on it and the FDC doesn’t approve of it in his case. They say it is safer to treat w/ one med than two and Met. is not good for his liver. His A1C at diagnois was 13% and one month later…which would include some of the time prior to diagnosis…he was an 8.9 so the metformin really helped him. I am sad that he can’t stay on it. We can’t seem to get him regulated. On metformin he was a 1/30 and Lantis 22 now he is a 1/18 and lantis is 20 and he corrects any thing over 120. Before it as only anything over 200. Metformin…was helping him big time!

I’m 48, Type 1 since 1985, Metformin 2000mg per day since 1998. Average A1C is about 7.4

I am not insulin resistant, but a doctor prescribed metformin for me and told me I would use less insulin.
I figured I would give it a try. I had some side effects like mild lightheadedness and metallic taste for a week or two.
My insulin needs dropped by about 20%. My A1C was pretty high then, it could have been around 8.3.
I would say the effects on my A1C were minimal, maybe a .1 or .2 drop with metformin.
But the reduction in the amount of insulin I inject each day continues, and my insulin sensitivity is good.
Looking at my meter, last night my sugar was 357 at 9:28, and 77 at 10:20.
(Soccer practice, forgot my insulin pen, took a shot of Humalog when I got home.)
So I use less basal and bolus insulin, and I respond more quickly to insulin, in my opinion, than I did earlier.
I was never fat, but I lost some weight on the metformin shortly after I started it. It could have been from that bad taste, but a review of the literature suggests some weight loss is common with metformin.
I am a huge fan of metformin and would be happy to expound on my reasons.

If you are interested, pick the disease of your choice and add the word metformin to it and do a google search.
e.g metformin cancer
metformin heart disease
metformin Alzheimer’s
metformin aging

Geeky response from a biochemist here: Metformin is supposed to activate the AMPKinase pathway which is what is activated when you exercise. (It is thought to have other targets too). I find that if I take it with my breakfast and dinner, it reduces spikes. But I have to be careful because if I take it and exercise, I think my bs drops really quickly. I am a type 1, but I think the Metformin helps a bit.


I’m a T1 who was on Metformin for the past year to help with my insulin resistance. It was to help me decrease the amount of insulin I was taking and to help me lose weight which it did. I stopped taking Metformin 2 months ago as I’m trying to conceive. I will probably go back on the Metformin after I have another baby as I’m assuming I will probably have issues with insulin resistance again.

  1. I am a type 1, using insulin pump and was placed on Symlin approximately 8 weeks ago. I have been “pumping” for 12 years.
  2. Dr prescribed symlin to reduce insulin spikes, reduce A1C and hopefully with appetite suppression allow me to lose weight. Have been type 1 for 30 years.
  3. Results have been outstanding. I have greatly reduced insulin requirements. I have not had a A1C drawn since beginning symlin. Will have followup labs in about a month and a half. I have lost 16 pounds in 8 weeks.
  4. I do plan on remaining on symlin. For now I am only taking one injection in the evening. I had only two episodes of nausea that quickly resolved. This medication has allowed me to revitalize my control and I feel great. My Dr plans on increasing dose or number of injections if hunger increases. My current dose is .45.

Been on symilin since September and it does help my post dinner blood sugar but if I use it all day before each meal it takes all my energy away and I experience this unknown tiredness and it has not helped with weight loss

Metformin is also thought to work on a pathway other than the AMPK pathway, there is also some evidence that metformin also works on the mTor pathway, that is the mammalian target of rapamycin, independently of AMPK.

1) Apidra, Levemir, Metformin
2) I decided to go on Metformin because of increased insulin resistance over the course of 13 years with Type 1. It was at the point that the docs thought I had gastroparesis because my digestive system was delaying, my BG would spike to 300 or 400 and then stay there, regardless of how much insulin I injected to correct- sometimes for 4-6 hours at a time. I was sick a lot due to increased BG levels no matter how often I exercised, ate only salads (no carbs), or corrected insulin dosages. My Endo was against me taking Metformin at first, but I basically demanded it and he relented. It was the best diabetes decision of my life.
3) Metformin fixed ALL of my issues regarding BG spiking and carb absorption within one month. A1c FINALLY passed the 4 year plateau of 8.0%. It is now at 6.5% (or lower). Weight reduced by 10 lbs without changing any of my daily habits.
4) I plan on using Metformin until I see a significant reduction in insulin needs and/or my BG levels out. I took Met for 3 months in 2010 and then stopped when I noticed I could eat carbs again. I started Met a month ago again due to insulin resistance in pregnancy. I plan on using Met through the third trimester, and then for approx 6 months post pregnancy.

) What drug(s) do you currently use? Humalog (pump) and Glumetza ER (i.e. name brand metformin)
2) Why did you/your doctor decide you should go on them? Insulin resistance–taking a ton, but still high sugar and post meal spikes, and weight loss (was gaining due to under utilized insulin)
3) What has been the results thus far? Any noticeable A1C or weight change? A1c decrease (yay) minor weight loss.
4) Do you plan on continuing using the drug? Why or why not? Yes, for now. Ideally I’m hoping for a day when i don’t need it anymore–where I can manage with insulin only, like I did in the old days :slight_smile: