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Diabetes

When Should I Stop Taking Metformin?

07/08/2010

Question:

I have been off glimeride for three months. I`ve lost weight and my sugars aren`t too high. I feel so much better. My question is do I continue metformin for the rest of my life, or can I get off this medication?

Answer:

Congratulations on taking a pro-active approach to managing your diabetes! As for whether you will be able to stop the metformin at some point depends on whether you are able to achieve good blood sugar control. In general, the American Diabetes Association recommends a daily fasting blood sugar 80-130 and a 2 hr. after meal reading of under 180 with a HgbA1C test of 7.0% or less. If you have not already done so, it is important to talk with your doctor to see what he/she recommends for your own personalized blood sugar goals.

If your blood sugars currently (on metformin) are meeting these targets, it could indicate the metformin is doing its job. If the metformin was stopped and your blood sugars rose above target, it would indicate you need the metformin to control your blood sugars. Of course, before making any changes in your medications you would want to talk to your doctor about it. While weight loss and other lifestyle changes are extremely important, diabetes is unfortunately a progressive disease-over time and as we age, insulin resistance increases resulting in rising blood sugars. The most important thing is achieving good blood sugar control because that is what lowers the risk of developing the complications diabetes; medications that help you get there are powerful allies in your management 'toolbox'!

Consider meeting with a certified diabetes educator to help you develop a comprehensive plan to manage your diabetes.

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Response by:

Margaret G Doyle, RD, LD, CDE Margaret G Doyle, RD, LD, CDE
Formerly
Case Western Reserve University