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    Medication question...
    An_245227 posted:
    A few months back, I was sent to my ER because of a blood sugar reading above 600. Naturally after the physician there got my levels back to normal, I was instructed to see my Primary who prescribed Metformin 1000mg x2 among other things. It was later determined that my diabetes may have been incorrectly diagnosed as evidenced by subsequent blood sugar readings below 100 as well as two A1C readings approximately 2-5 months apart which were 5.1 and 5.4. My Primary has elected to keep me on the Metformin despite these improved readings, however, and I am therefore questioning whether or not there is danger in taking Metformin if one is not diabetic.

    I believe the diagnosis of diabetes may still be of concern to my Primary because we discussed my having discontinued taking glucosamine (an elective supplement previously okayed by my orthopedist because of a bad knee) after I read an ADA paper explaining how glucosamine could cause insulin resistance and thereby mimic type 2 diabetes. I informed the doctor about the paper, my discontinuation of the supplement, and normal home blood sugar readings. The follow-up A1C readings were done in her office.

    I do not believe I am diabetic, hence my question concerning the efficacy of taking Metformin without the need. Please advise accordingly before I broach this subject again with my Primary and/or discontinue the Metformin on my own.

    Thank you,
    Diane Underwood
    davedsel57 responded:
    Hello, and welcome.

    I am not a doctor, but I can share a few things from my own experience.

    I take glucosamine to help with chronic pain. I periodically will stop for a few weeks and then start taking a different brand as the supplement stops being effective for me. I've done this for years and have never had a glucose reading that high. I can not site specific research studies or medical data, but my understanding has always been that glucosamine does not affect blood glucose readings.

    The numbers you posted are excellent. Standards are 70-100 fasting and A1C readings of 5.0-6.0 for Non-Diabetics or tightly controlled Diabetics. Your test results do not seem too low at all to me.

    You could certainly discuss lowering and then discontinuing the Metformin with your doctor. It is wisest to never just stop taking any medication without consulting your physician. Of course, you would then need to continue to be extra diligent in following a healthy diet and getting in regular exercise. If your numbers go back up, then you know you need the Metformin as a tool to help control your Diabetes.

    I pray you find the answers you are looking for.
    Click on my user name or avatar picture to read my story.


    grgram responded:
    I hope you won't discontinue your medication on your own. Get a second or even third opinion because doctors don't always have the right answers all the time. We have to be wise in the decisions we make regarding the doctors we chose and the medications we take and we have to be responsible for ourselves and not be too trusting. My diabetes was reversed when I began eating right and walking every day. I believe it took about 3 years. My primary told me that I still have . diabetes, I'm just under control. When I moved and got a different primary, she told me that my diabetes was actually reversed. I don't know which it is but I'm glad and I have normal readings all the time now. BTW, I lost 106 pounds which took 15 months. Be smart and cautious.
    flutetooter responded:
    3 Questions to you: Who took the original blood sugar reading above 600? What are the "others things" your primary prescribed besides the Metformin? Were you still on these meds for the subsequent blood sugar readings below 100 and A1c's of 5.1 and 5.4?

    Those good reading could be BECAUSE of the meds you are taking, proving that they are in fact working and doing what they are supposed to do!

    Metformin in the first choice, along with diet and exercise, of many physicians and seem to be one of the safest. With the information you have provided to us, there is no way to tell if you are diabetic or not. A reading of over 600 usually would not happen with a non diabetic.
    If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!
    HoldThePhone replied to davedsel57's response:
    Thank you, davedsel57.

    I know it's not wise to discontinue a medication on my own but, at the same time, I'm worried that I'm also doing something not so good if I don't have diabetes. Also, I was very happy with glucosamine while I took it and have not been able to replace it yet though I do have some other supplements under consideration. Moreover, I don't doubt the findings of the American Diabetic Association (ADA), and my research has turned up 2 pharmacists in total agreement with that whitepaper. Long story short, I know something is wrong with my metabolism, just not sure exactly what, but you are absolutely right about regular exercise and a healthy diet being essential tools in the management of whatever is going on with me and I will have to get more rigorously into these tactics. Because I'm increasingly disappointed with my Primary, I will probably seek out another very soon.

    Your prayers and support are very much appreciated as I pursue answers.

    Thanks again,

    HoldThePhone replied to grgram's response:
    Thank you, grgram for your suggestion, and I am going to get another opinion before I discontinue anything at this point. My Primary doesn't acknowledge the possibility of diabetes being reversed at all and therefore my research is strictly on my own. I like your results and will certainly continue looking for my own answers.

    Be blessed,
    HoldThePhone replied to flutetooter's response:
    Lots of detail you're asking for here, but I'll try to condense as much as I can. Let me know if something is not clear.

    First answer: The hospital laboratory analyzed the blood sample, and the lab manager/director called me at home and my Primary who advised me to go to the ER.

    Second answer: The other drug ordered was Januvia (which she did discontinue after the glucosamine discussions) as well as diabetic education, etc.

    Third answer involves something of a timeline: The ER physician brought my reading down to normal and advised me to see my Primary within 3 days which I did. Within that timeframe, my mind was in revolt because I'm not a sugar fan (salt is my thing) and could see no reason why my pancreas would be "burned out" unless something else was going on, hence I started researching and found the ADA's whitepaper. In the meantime, my Primary had ordered Metformin, Januvia, and diabetic classes, and it was in one of the diabetic classes that I spoke with a pharmacist (and then an outside pharmacist as well) about their thoughts on the ADA whitepaper. Both pharmacist were in total agreement on how glucosamine could mimic a type 2 diabetic because of its metabolic pathway so I decided to do some testing on my own. I began by ordering home blood testing supplies and discontinuing glucosamine, Metformin, and Januvia for about a week. I then tested myself for another week before resuming Metformin and Januvia (not glucosamine). It was during this timeframe that I found my readings to be below 100. On return visit to my Primary, an A1C was performed (5.1) and she officially discontinued the Januvia only. On the 3rd visit to my Primary, my A1C was 5.4 and I was instructed to remain on the Metformin — which I had resumed and remain on even now - pending her further evaluation.

    I am not asking that anyone in the community diagnose me with or without diabetes. My question was did anyone have knowledge of harm being done in the course of someone taking Metformin without having diabetes. In other words, I don't doubt the goodness of Metformin but am just wondering what is it doing to me if I don't have diabetes. Since I have discontinued the glucosamine and my Primary has discontinued the Januvia, my blood sugar readings have remained as normal as they were at the time of my home testing. My dilemma starts here, then, because I'm afraid to stop the Metformin on my own and my Primary won't. I agree that the initial reading of over 600 was totally out the nondiabetic box, however how sure can anyone be without empirical study stats (which the ADA did) that glucosamine consumption does or does not play a role in the type 2 diabetic population. More studies are needed for sure but, in the meantime, I'm coming to the conclusion that I simply need to get another opinion and hopefully not do any damage to my pancreas by continuing the Metformin while I'm searching for additional answers.

    Sorry. Hope I haven't bored you out of your tree, and hope it helps your take on my question.

    laura2gemini2 replied to HoldThePhone's response:
    Metformin is one of the safest drugs out there. Lots of people who are not diabetic take it for other things, one being polycycstic ovarian disease. I couldnt find any studies linking metformin use with adverse pancreatic reactions. Metformin doesnt really do much with the pancreas, it's more with lowering the liver's secretion of sugar as well as cells using insulin better.

    You said something about how you were suprised at the diabetes diagnosis because you dont eat a lot of sugar. That's a popular misconception. Eating lots of sugar wont give you diabetes. Having an unhealthy lifestyle will make you more prone to it.

    The study about glucosamine and having it cause high sugars is one I'll have to read up more on when I have time, but I've never heard of it before. How large was the study? Was it a causitive study or a correlative study?
    betatoo replied to HoldThePhone's response:
    When I was first diagnosed with T2, I was put on metformin by my primary. For two weeks through a nurse I argued that I wanted to try without meds. He relented. A month later he admitted that I would probably never have to take meds. . . If I stuck with whatever I was doing. Diet and exercise. Why did I fight the meds? Personally, I have never taken much of anything in my life, I was on Lipitor for a while, got off, then back on. After my T2 diagnosis I talked the primary into moving me to Niaspin as Lipitor is known to cause T2 in a small percentage of the population. I really don't believe in better chemistry for better living. Something always seems to go wrong given enough time.
    soapster1949 responded:
    Taking the Metformin will do you no harm. You probably don't need it, but that's for the doctor to decide. More than likely, the doctor will let you discontinue the Metformin, and test your A1C in about 3 months to see where you stand.
    flutetooter replied to laura2gemini2's response:
    Laura, metformin does the two things you mentioned --Causing cells to use insulin better and not letting the liver produce so much sugar. A third thing it does is to cause the intestines not to absorb so many of the carb you eat, hence the diahrrea!
    If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!
    flutetooter responded:
    This sounds weird, but I think some non diabetic people are put on metformin because it has been shown to prevent or slow down the development of breast cancer!
    If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!
    flutetooter replied to HoldThePhone's response:
    Thanks a bunch for the great reply. I was wondering, I guess, how you knew that you needed to be tested when your sugar was 600. Strange symptoms, etc. There is obviously still a lot of sleuthing for you to do. It is great that you have such an interest in researching your health. It may take months before your A1c results do not include any weeks when you were on the meds, since it is an average of the days in the last three months, more heavily weighted toward the recent month. Then you will know better how your body does without any meds. I quit taking glucosamine about a year ago after reading reports.
    If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!
    HoldThePhone replied to laura2gemini2's response:
    Thank you very much for this insight, laura2gemini2. Metformin sounds like a kind of regulator (and not the cancerous agent I've been told it was). Being that I may be in what is called a prediabetic state, Metformin may be helpful in preventing full-blown diabetes - along with diet and exercise of course. That IS good news.

    Yes, I was surprised at the diagnosis. In my family of 13 brothers and sisters (honest), the only ones with diabetes are the sugar lovers, fact which gave credence to the term "burned out pancreas" as discussed in one of my classes. I do understand what you mean in saying eating lots of sugar won't give you diabetes though I would add "without a genetic predisposition for diabetes."

    I didn't get the details on the glucosamine study at the time I found the paper because I was so happy to find what I had been looking for — the possibility for a reversal, and this true because of common metabolic pathways. I did take time, however, to check-in with two pharmacists who not only knew of the paper but were also in total agreement with it. If I can find the link, I'll post it to you here in the forum.

    Thanks for your input and particularly the heads-up, laura2gemini2. Very useful information.

    HoldThePhone replied to betatoo's response:
    Oh I so agree with you, betatoo. I too would have been happier trying the no-medication route, but my situation was a little urgent, maybe, and so that approach was not even considered, and I have always been leery of chemical overrides.

    My Primary has now added Niaspan to my regimen though without removing Metformin, but I'm thinking this could be a sign of progress. Maybe I can ride it out in view of other new and enlightening information I am receiving from the folks in the forum. Thanks for your input.

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