Understanding the Combined Benefits of Metformin and GLP-1 Medications for Weight Loss

by | May 6, 2024

Interested in boosting your weight loss journey? Adding Metformin to Tirzepatide and Semaglutide can work together to decrease appetite and increase total body weight loss. Metformin has been used for decades for diabetes treatment and has been used successfully off-label for weight loss as well. Metformin is an inexpensive pill that is taken once or twice daily.  As discussed below, metformin can be combined with Semaglutide or Tirzepatide to increase weight loss.

How Metformin and GLP-1 Medications Work Together

Metformin is traditionally used as a first-line treatment for type 2 diabetes. It works by improving insulin sensitivity and reducing glucose production in the liver, which helps lower blood sugar levels. On the other hand, GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) receptor agonists, such as Semaglutide and Tirzepatide, mimic the action of the GLP-1 hormone that is naturally produced after eating. This hormone helps in reducing appetite and increasing insulin secretion.

When used together, Metformin and GLP-1 medications can synergistically help control appetite, enhance insulin sensitivity, and improve overall metabolic health, making them a powerful duo for weight loss and diabetes management.

Benefits of the Combination

The combination of Metformin and GLP-1 medications offers multiple benefits:

  1. Enhanced Weight Loss: Both drugs have mechanisms that contribute to weight loss. GLP-1 medications reduce appetite and food intake, while Metformin reduces the liver’s sugar production and increases muscle sensitivity to insulin, potentially contributing to weight loss as a secondary effect.
  2. Cardiovascular Health: GLP-1 agonists have been shown to improve cardiovascular outcomes in people with type 2 diabetes, potentially lowering the risk of heart attack, stroke, and related conditions.
  3. Appetite Regulation: GLP-1 medications can significantly decrease appetite and caloric intake, which is complemented by Metformin’s ability to improve insulin sensitivity and potentially enhance satiety.

Potential Side Effects

While the benefits are significant, there are potential side effects associated with the use of Metformin and GLP-1 medications:

  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Both medications can cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
  • Hypoglycemia: Although less common with GLP-1 medications, combining them with Metformin might increase the risk of low blood sugar, especially if taken with other diabetes medications.
  • Lactic Acidosis: Metformin can rarely predispose to a serious metabolic condition called lactic acidosis. This risk is higher in patients with liver disease, kidney dysfunction, older age, and who use alcohol frequently. It usually causes severe feelings of illness with dizziness, muscle aches, and difficulty breathing. If these symptoms arise, seek immediate medical attention in the nearest ER.
  • IV Contrast Precaution: Individuals who are taking metformin should stop taking this medication if having a CT scan with IV contrast. Whoever is ordering/performing the study should ask about metformin use and instruct patients how long the medication should be held for. Please hold metformin if you’re having an imaging study with IV contrast and discuss with the radiology technician when you can resume taking metformin.

Expected Results

Patients often see noticeable weight loss and improved glycemic control within the first few months of treatment. The amount of weight loss can vary, but clinical trials have shown that combining GLP-1 agonists with Metformin often results in greater weight reduction compared to using either medication alone.

Weight loss not only helps with glycemic control but can also improve other health markers, including blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and liver health. However, results can vary based on individual factors such as diet, exercise, and adherence to the medication regimen.

If you would like to give your weight loss journey a boost, contact your Flow Wellness clinician!


Learn more:

What to do if you aren’t losing weight while on weight loss medication

Insulin Resistance: Understanding the Mechanism, Risks, and Treatment Options

Vitamin B12 and Weight Loss

This blog post is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice.

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