Advertisement

How does the diabetes drug glucophage work?

Stacy Wiegman, PharmD
Pharmacy Specialist

Glucophage (metformin) treats type 2 diabetes by helping to control the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood. People with type 2 diabetes are less sensitive to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood glucose levels. Glucophage increases a person's sensitivity to insulin. It also decreases the amount of glucose (sugar) a person absorbs from food and the amount of glucose produced by the liver. It works best when combined with a proper diet and exercise.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Because the diabetes drug glucophage increases insulin sensitivity, it seems to reduce inflammation in the liver so the hormonal cross-talk that is so important to prevent metabolic syndrome or polycystic ovary disease—both of which involve weight gain—is preserved. Sugar levels return to normal as insulin is able to perform its role in pushing these tasty molecules into cells for consumption (it blocks the production of new sugars that are made every half hour as energy stores are used up). Side effects include gas and nausea, not a bad combo to force less calorie intake. (If you become dehydrated, this drug can cause severe problems—so it is not for those who like to exercise for 2 hours or more at a time.)

You, on a Diet: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management

More About this Book

You, on a Diet: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management

Drs Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet C. Oz, authors of the million-copy bestseller 'YOU: The Owner's Manual', have devised a diet that is so effective you'll notice changes in your body immediately....

Continue Learning about Metformin

Metformin Drug: The New Fountain of Youth?
Metformin Drug: The New Fountain of Youth?
Metformin, a common prescription drug that’s used to treat type 2 diabetes, is making headlines worldwide – but the big news has nothing to do with di...
Read More
Am I likely to get lactic acidosis from taking metformin?
Stacy Wiegman, PharmDStacy Wiegman, PharmD
Lactic acidosis -- a buildup of lactic acid in the body -- is a rare complication of taking metfor...
More Answers
Is my father at risk of lactic acidosis from taking metformin?
Stacy Wiegman, PharmDStacy Wiegman, PharmD
Anyone who takes the diabetes drug metformin (Glucophage, Fortamet) can be at risk of developing...
More Answers
Do I have to monitor my blood glucose levels if I am on metformin?
William Lee DuboisWilliam Lee Dubois
Not everyone agrees with me on this, but I very strongly feel that everyone with diabetes should be ...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.