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Help – I’m stressed! I’m a type 1 diabetic and have been since I was 10. I got it after I’d had a virus so have been using and injecting different insulins since then. But recently my doctor has suggested that I start taking metformin cos I’ve had a few problems keeping my bloods okay over the past few months. I thought you didn’t need metformin if you were a type 1 diabetic – I thought it was just for type 2’s? So why’s he saying I need it? Anyone one type 1 and on metformin? Thanks in advance!

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Maybe I can help you out. You’re right in what you’ve said that metformin is normally used for type II diabetes and it is normally the first choice of treatment. The reason it isn’t used in type 1 diabetes is because it affects how insulin works in the body, and people with type 1 diabetes don’t produce insulin, therefore by itself metformin wouldn’t treat the condition. So in answer to the first part of your question metformin isn’t indicated or licenced for treatment of type 1 diabetes. However – there has been some research into the effects of treating patients with type 1 diabetes with an injectable insulin and adding in metformin to improve sensitivity to insulin and help in weight control. Obviously being overweight is a real issue for diabetic patients as it can cause additional health related risks, so losing weight can be a real advantage. Giving patients that are type 1 and over weight metformin in conjunction with insulin has been shown to assist in weight loss and reduce the number of insulin units you need to control your diabetes. You don’t say whether or not you are overweight, but if you are this could be the reason why your doc has suggested the treatment and it could really help you. But remember the metformin isn’t officially licenced and you could be more likely to have hypos by taking the combination. I’m sure you doc will make you well aware of anything to look for. Hope things work out.

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