Metformin and Alcohol: What Are the Risks?- K Health

metformin and alcohol

As many as 50% of patients with diabetes taking metformin experience diarrhea as a side effect. If you’re taking any of these medications, that doesn’t necessarily mean that metformin is off the table for you. If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider.

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As you can see, the interaction between metformin and alcohol can be harmful or even severe. However, that does not always mean you cannot drink alcohol while taking this drug. Speak to your doctor before drinking alcohol while taking metforming.

Side effects

The association between metformin and lactic acidosis is so rare that some researchers believe it’s not worth worrying about at all (Misbin, 2004). Lactic acidosis is a rare condition, but it is a potentially fatal side effect. Lactic acid is a natural chemical produced by your body that burns calories. When you take metformin, your body produces more lactic acid than usual.

Hypoglycemia can come on quickly and include various symptoms, such as shakiness, irritability, confusion, weakness, dizziness, hunger, blurred vision, headaches, or even seizures. It is occasionally safe to drink a moderate amount of alcohol while on a course of metformin. However, regularly drinking excessive amounts can reduce the effectiveness of the medication and increase the risk of serious complications. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals.

Beyond that, alcohol can worsen less serious side effects of metformin such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Not everyone who takes metformin needs to entirely avoid alcohol. Diabetes Strong does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is an extremely safe drug that is usually well-tolerated with minimal side effects. Our award-winning rehab center is here to help you or a loved one recover from alcohol addiction.

The dangers of mixing medication and alcohol

Foods such as cattle, eggs, and dairy products are high in vitamin B-12. Metformin-using diabetics should talk to their doctor about B-12 testing alternatives. Having glucose tablets on you is another good idea, but in a pinch, hard candy, regular soda, juice, or a tablespoon of honey or sugar can do the trick. People with diabetes can travel the world, climb the corporate ladder, show off their outfits on the ’gram, and be the life of the party. Vitamin B-12 is an essential nutrient that is key to cardiovascular and neurological health, as well as being vital for healthy red blood cells.

Mixing alcohol with diabetes can have very serious consequences. When you drink alcohol, your blood sugar levels can drop dangerously low. This can cause people with diabetes to experience hypoglycemia, which can lead to seizures, coma, and even death.

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Following these suggestions can help you “cheers” your next drink confidently! Consider letting your social groups know you have diabetes, so they can get you the help you need if there’s a medical emergency. Prescription fees are for our U.S. qualified doctors to evaluate your request and issue a prescription if that is the appropriate outcome for your case. We want to make healthcare pricing transparent and affordable that's why we set the doctor's fee at a flat rate of $20 for all services which is lower than most copays. We issue a 100% refund if we cannot help you including the doctor’s fee. It's best to limit your drinking or avoid alcohol together when you have diabetes.

If you consume ethanol while on metformin, you may be at an increased risk of complications. This in turn can lead to more severe lactic acidosis, as you may not be in tune with any symptoms you are experiencing early on. By the time you begin to feel ill, severe lactic acidosis may have already set in.

  • At the Detox Center, we are always available to help those fighting against addiction access the care they need.
  • You may experience symptoms such as dizziness, confusion and drowsiness.
  • We want to make healthcare pricing transparent and affordable that's why we set the doctor's fee at a flat rate of $20 for all services which is lower than most copays.
  • Even moderate drinking can lead to blood sugars falling to unsafe levels because your liver is busy breaking down the alcohol instead of keeping your blood sugars stable.
  • If you are experiencing lactic acidosis, it may be a problem in your liver.

It’s recommended to have a maximum of one drink for women and two for men. Metformin is safe to use when your estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is greater than or equal to 45 milliliters per minute. The GFR is an indicator of how efficiently your kidneys filter blood.

Vitamin B-12 deficiencies

For women, moderation is defined as no more than one drink per day. Although it’s not the trendiest accessory, bust out your blood glucose monitor to confirm your blood sugar reading. When you’re binge drinking, your liver works to remove toxins from your body instead of producing and regulating glucose.

metformin and alcohol

However, you should limit your alcohol intake due to the risk of lactic acidosis with metformin. Avoid drinking alcohol on an empty stomach or following exercise, as it may increase the risk of hypoglycemia. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns about metformin. If you have diabetes, you might be wondering whether you can take metformin tablets and alcohol together. Just like other medications which interact with other substances, the drug can interact with alcohol, leading to harmful effects.

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The biggest complaints are GI symptoms, such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, metallic taste in the mouth, and abdominal pain (Bonnet, 2016). These symptoms can happen in up to 25% of people, but they’re generally mild and tolerable. Only about eco sober house complaints 5% of people need to stop metformin because of severe GI symptoms (McCreight, 2016). It is recommended to take metformin with food to cut down on any gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, which are quite common with metformin (Bonnet, 2016).

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When this happens, your body cannot metabolize the lactic acid quickly enough. There are some safety concerns from drinking a lot of alcohol, both in general and while taking metformin. Alcohol consumption can cause your blood sugar to spike or fall if you have diabetes. Although the number of calories in alcohol is high, a change in the state of the test result is not essential. Metformin use can occasionally cause vitamin B-12 deficiency as a side effect. Ten to 30 percent of people taking metformin for type 2 diabetes have reported decreased circulating vitamin B-12.

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When you do drink, drink slowly, which will help reduce your alcohol intake. Severe lactic acidosis has intense symptoms that are quick to appear, however. Anaerobic glucose breakdown produces lactic acid, which breaks down further into lactate. In rare instances, people on metformin might experience flushing of the face or redness from increased blood flow. Metformin is a popular, effective, and inexpensive management medication that doctors prescribe for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Taking metformin with food and drinking enough fluids can relieve many of its lesser side effects. Once the body adjusts to the medication, many side effects tend to resolve. Long-term alcohol use can also make cells less sensitive to insulin. This means that they absorb less glucose from the blood, and levels in the bloodstream increase. If you or a loved one struggle with alcohol addiction, trained professionals at The Recovery Village can help you overcome alcohol abuse and addiction. The Recovery Village offers many different addiction treatment options to help you lead a healthier life.

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