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  1. #1
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    Jul. 3, 2012
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    Default Reasonable fear?? warning...tmi

    I take a medication for diabetes called Metformin/Glucophage. It can cause all kind of GI problems when first starting to take it...mainly diarrhea. I started on it 20 years ago and was housebound with the "gluco-trots" for 3 1/2 YEARS. As many as 20-30 episodes a day, considerable bleeding and burning to go with it from the wear and tear. The episodes gave me less than 30 seconds notice to get to a bathroom. During that time my doctor attributed it to "nerves" because "everybody gets over this stage".

    Finally I quit taking it and the diarrhea stopped, too. However I was left with an intense fear of leaving the house or any place with a bathroom close by. The fear diminished but never went away. It was always in the back of my mind when I left the house or even made plans for fun outings.

    Fast forward to 3 years ago when a different doctor suggested I try the new, extended release formula. I am totally interested in my diabetic care so I said I would but not if the trots started up again. Long story short, I tolerated the new med just fine and after a period of time worked up to the maximum dose.

    HOWEVER, I experience random incidences of the diarrhea. The most recent was last Sunday when I had it nearly constant...maybe 1 or 2 minutes between trots...for over 8 hours. This has happened before too. Without getting too graphic, I eventually pass a nearly complete capsule...the outer coating is still intact, the tablet is split open and there is still some white medicine inside the pill. Last Sunday, as soon as that passed, the trots quit.

    This pill needs to be taken with food. My only idea is that I hadn't eaten breakfast, had a light lunch of tuna salad and carrot sticks and THEN took the pills. The trots started within an hour (fortunately got my ride in) and picked up speed within 2 hours.

    BUT, now I'm even more afraid to leave the house because it is so random. Last time it was this bad was in July at a horse show. I went in only 1 of my classes...sick and scared that I would have an accident right in the showring. Had my daughter ride in my other classes and kept my bike at the stalls because I couldn't walk fast enough to the bathrooms.

    I've thought about a Depends or something like that, but if I'm an hour from home it would be a really messy nightmare. I sit on several towels on a plastic shavings bag when I'm in the car...just in case. AND I can not bring myself to ride insomeone else's car. I am so tired of being afraid but what can I do???

    I suppose I could quit the medicine altogether but I really like how my blood sugars are controlled (along with insulin) on this drug plus it has many other benefits. So it's a really good drug. Would you keep the trade off? Kiss quality of life good bye and live in fear in exchange for a longer life and less risk of diabetic complications?

    Or would you say "screw it, life is short enough as it is"?



  2. #2
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    Oct. 14, 2003
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    Default

    Are there other medications you can try? My dad is diabetic and he's been on several meds through the years. He was on Glucophage for awhile and it stopped working for him. He's on insulin now, tho.

    Best of luck; this situation truly sucks for you.


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  3. #3
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    There really is no replacement for Glucophage when it comes to all the other benefits. It's the gold standard among diabetic meds.

    All doctors want ALL patients to be taking it.

    Edited to add: I've had diabetes (type 1.5 MODY) for almost 50 years. One of the hallmarks of Type 1.5 is the delayed onset of complications. I've had heart problems that were resolved. Also have a family history, on my dad's side, sudden death heart attacks. So I might have come by the heart problems genetically rather than as a complication of diabetes. I really don't have any other problems attributed to diabetes; even after all these decades.



  4. #4
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    Aug. 28, 2007
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    I would refuse to take it.
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  5. #5
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    Aug. 12, 2010
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    Is it possible that the current bouts of diarrhea are not related to the newer drug at all, since you were tolerating it well and the attacks seem to be random? It could be IBS.


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  6. #6
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    May. 24, 2006
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    I was in a similar situation for several years after my acute pancreatitis...it totally sucks no two ways about it...what I did was carry a spare change of clothes in the car, with a case of paper towels and natures miracle as I did not have the option of staying home. I also did not ride in others cars and would not let anyone ride with me, I know how you feel, really. I tried to avoid foods that I had determined aggravated the problem before travel. Salads were a big trigger for me. I think you need to have a frank talk with your doctor about medications that may help counteract the side effect you are experiencing. Getting well on one side should not involve giving up the rest of your life. Perhaps a few counseling sessions to talk over the natural anxiety you are feeling would help. Fortunately for me, these episodes are very few and far between now, but my cause was different from yours. Good luck.


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  7. #7
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    I have given IBS a lot of thought and don't think that's it. I'm not really given to nerves or anxiety in general...pretty relaxed. I eat pretty much the same foods all the time because they are the ones that work with diabetes and my activity. And my life is pretty stress free...at least compared to most people!

    I'm not sure what else would trigger it.

    Tradewind...it really helps to have someone who has had to walk the walk...running when necessary. I'm glad you got thru yours.



  8. #8
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    Jul. 30, 2005
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    Have you tried taking Imodium?
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  9. #9
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    Oct. 12, 2001
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    Have you tried keeping a detailed diary of everything so you can figure out what is setting off the problem? you might just need to figure out what kind of pill-taking regimen you need, and then never deviate from that- take the pill at the exact same time each day with the exact same food and water, or something along those lines.

    it may not even be the medication- the problem almost sounds like IBS, for which again, keeping a diary to try to figure out the triggers is a good idea.

    and lots of IBS suffers live on immodium. It's pretty safe to take chronically.


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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by wendy View Post
    Have you tried keeping a detailed diary of everything so you can figure out what is setting off the problem? you might just need to figure out what kind of pill-taking regimen you need, and then never deviate from that- take the pill at the exact same time each day with the exact same food and water, or something along those lines.

    it may not even be the medication- the problem almost sounds like IBS, for which again, keeping a diary to try to figure out the triggers is a good idea.

    and lots of IBS suffers live on immodium. It's pretty safe to take chronically.
    Did you see where the problem went away when she stopped taking it and returned when she started the new time released version?
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  11. #11
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    Jan. 11, 2007
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    I have IBS. One week I went from chronic constipation then another week of chronic diarrhea. For the diarrhea I take a packet of cholestryramine. It plugs me right up. But I usually have some warning when my body is switching over. My stomach starts rumbling very loudly. My kids can hear it across the room. You can throw the packet in apple sauce. But I just throw it in hot decaf tea to get it to dissolve quickly. You could ask for a 1 month script to give it a try.
    (I carry packets with me everywhere I go just in case my stomach starts rumbling.)



  12. #12
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    Feb. 25, 2012
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    Oh wow that really sucks. Metformin sure does have that impact (husband takes)- I don't know if the cholestyramine Morgan Mare mentioned would work, but it might be worth disucssing with your doc. I know I had a bit of that same fear from the same symptoms after taking the antibiotic Augmentin this summer- just about constant, could barely see clients and I did start worrying about "where?" and "how long will it take to get there?" I might have considered Depends if it continued. The food diary is not a bad idea, to see if some foods give you more time than others. I also don't know if probiotics would help? I took mine for the antibiotic - did not help the diarrhea but did with general GI comfort.


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  13. #13
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    Apr. 21, 2010
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    I have Crohns so no stranger to issues like this.

    I would try a few things, if medication must be continued.

    Immodium- you can get a prescription for it, so it's cheaper. Loperamide. Start slow or you might get the opposite effect.

    Metamucil wafers. Metamucil can help you've more regular, in both directions. If you have diarrhea, it can help bind you. If you are constipated it can help move things.

    Culturelle- you are losing nutrients and good bacteria when you go so much. So the more you go, the more irritated you get. Take that to put good flora back in your system.


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  14. #14
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    Feb. 4, 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by ezduzit View Post

    I suppose I could quit the medicine altogether but I really like how my blood sugars are controlled (along with insulin) on this drug plus it has many other benefits. So it's a really good drug. Would you keep the trade off? Kiss quality of life good bye and live in fear in exchange for a longer life and less risk of diabetic complications?

    Or would you say "screw it, life is short enough as it is"?
    Have you tried any of the basal insulin like lantus or levemir? I know the doctors like to stay away from the injectable insulin if you BG is well controlled on an oral med but really the side effect in this case is unacceptable.

    I'd make an appointment with your endocrinologist and talk about other options. Gold standard or not, this isn't working for you.

    Good luck.


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  15. #15
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    Jul. 15, 2003
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    I think it is well past the time when you should see a gastroenterologist with your history and list of medications. It is absolutely unfair to live your life fifteen feet from a restroom.

    I wish I had a real suggestion other than that. I know a person who has Crohn's disease, and it is miserable when it flairs up.
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  16. #16
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    Feb. 25, 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by spacytracy View Post
    I have Crohns so no stranger to issues like this.

    I would try a few things, if medication must be continued.

    Immodium- you can get a prescription for it, so it's cheaper. Loperamide. Start slow or you might get the opposite effect.

    Metamucil wafers. Metamucil can help you've more regular, in both directions. If you have diarrhea, it can help bind you. If you are constipated it can help move things.

    Culturelle- you are losing nutrients and good bacteria when you go so much. So the more you go, the more irritated you get. Take that to put good flora back in your system.
    Thanks for these, great suggestions!



  17. #17
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    Thank you for bringing this TMI subject to the light. I take (only) Metformin 2x a day and I already have the fears you mention. But even prior to starting Metformin, I could experience the same BATHROOM NOW! feelings. Lettuce, oil, mayonnaise, milk (not all dairy, just milk) were the triggers. I still say I only rent lettuce But since Metformin I can count on bathroom needs four hours after taking it. Sometimes it's so bad, I skip my meds the next day just to give my hinney a rest. I never did a formal journal (but I should) but I know that I MUST take it 20 minutes before eating, but that is so hard to do. I pay for it dearly.

    Mine is definitely cause/effect. If I need to be somewhere or go out to work I will not take my meds until I come back home. That relieves a LOT of nervousness (which definitely makes an episode worse and more immediate).

    I began taking Tru-Biotics in hopes it would regulate things, but after a few days, the relief ended but I continue taking it purely for the good pro-biotics it puts back into me.

    I'm going to use several of the suggestions here to see if they will help.
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  18. #18
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    Jul. 3, 2012
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    First of all, let me say that I totally count my blessings with this because I do have the option to not take it unlike people with Crohn's and REAL g.i. problems.

    This doesn't happen often enough to treat it. Is it reasonable to take Imodium or other such things everyday for an event that might happen a few times a year? I don't know....

    I do take a basal insulin...Lantus. If I really REALLY mind what I'm eating and the quantity (volume raises my blood sugar, no matter what the food is) AND get in my 1 hour workout each day AND ride a lot, and eat tuna every day I can get by without hardly any fast acting insulin at all. I'm very sensitive to exercise.

    I just wish I could go forth with less worry. Last summer I missed a trip to the ball park with our son and his family, visiting from New York because I was afraid to go. Missed a great time with the grandchildren.

    And it isn't like no one understands or gives me a hard time. My family is always considerate and willing to help me make the trip. It's me who finds this embarrassing and annoying and worrisome.

    edited to add: If I ever DID have an accident in the car or during an outing, I'm pretty sure I would never come out from under my rock EVER AGAIN. That is really scary...I feel I'm really on the edge of having no life at all.



  19. #19
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    Dec. 31, 2007
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    Interesting thread! I'm glad you guys are sharing your stories here. I'm a nurse and work with a lot of diabetic patients. I haven't heard of the metformin/trots connection before but with a couple of my people, it does make me wonder. I pass out a lot of metformin and glipizide every day. I think the ones on that regimen have much more controlled CBG's than the insulin only group. But for your case and quality of life issues with the oral meds, OP, I think I'd be asking about going the insulin only route, with a long acting insulin for control between meals.


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  20. #20
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    Sep. 20, 2009
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    this may be what MsWillie suggested, but can you just get an injectable version of that same drug? If you say there is still medicine left in the capsule, I would assume it isn't working because you're not getting the full dose. I'm a big fan of injectables as I don't absorb the pill form of some things very well. The same dose of an injectable makes a world of difference!


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