Biguanides for Type 2 Diabetes: Uses and Side Effects

The Biguanides are oral drugs used to treat Type 2 diabetes when an improved diet and exercise regime have not shown any improvement in blood sugar levels.

Metformin® is the most widely prescribed drug for lowering blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. They are believed to work by reducing glucose production in the liver and by enhancing sensitivity to insulin in the body tissues.

Unlike Amaryl and other diabetic medication, biguanides has the advantage of helping to promote weight loss, Metformin is therefore often recommended as a single drug treatment, particularly for obese patients.

The biguanides are often used in combination with Amaryl and other insulin secreting drugs, or even in conjunction with insulin itself.

The side effects of biguanides may include:

  • A metallic taste in the mouth.
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Flatulence
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Anemia
  • Anorexia
  • Lactic Acidosis

Although rare, the most serious of these is Lactic Acidosis, the buildup of lactic acid in the body. The signs of lactic acidosis are rapid breathing, nausea, and stomach pains. This usually occurs in people who already suffer from kidney or liver problems, and as a result biguanides are not recommended for these patients.

Photo: Pixabay

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