Information on Metformin HCl ER 500 MG for Weight Loss

If you have high blood glucose levels, you may take metformin hydrochloride, an oral anti-hyperglycemic medication that lowers blood sugar. Metformin may also help you lose weight in some cases by decreasing your appetite. Clinical studies have not proven that metformin helps you lose weight if you don't have Type 2 diabetes or other metabolic disorders that cause insulin resistance. It may help prevent weight gain or cause modest weight loss if you're taking antipsychotic drugs that cause weight gain. Metformin comes in several doses, including a 500-milligram extended release form, which you may find easier to take.

Metformin may help you lose weight through several mechanisms. (Image: Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Insulin Resistance

Metformin might help you lose weight if you have metabolic syndrome or polycystic ovary disease, both associated with insulin resistance. The pancreas releases insulin in response to glucose in your bloodstream. Insulin helps cells remove glucose from the bloodstream. When you eat large amounts of high-carb foods, the pancreas may overproduce insulin to keep up. Eventually, your cells stop responding to the insulin and your blood glucose levels rise. Because your cells feel starved for energy, you feel hungry all the time and may crave carbohydrates. Metformin helps cells respond better to insulin, so you don't feel as hungry. Insulin can also cause your liver to convert extra calories to fat.

Other Mechanisms

Metformin decreases the amount of glucose your liver produces, and also decreases the amount of glucose absorbed in your intestines. Decreased amounts of glucose in your bloodstream results in less glucose absorbed by your cells. When you absorb less glucose, you lose weight.


An Indian study published in the March 2011 "British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology" reported that metformin increased weight loss in people taking olanzapine, an antipsychotic drug associated with weight gain. A review of studies conducted by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh reported in the April 2005 "Annals of Family Medicine" found insufficient evidence in nine studies for the effectiveness of metformin as a weight-loss drug in people who did not have either Type 2 diabetes or polycystic ovary syndrome. Extended-release metformin has the same effectiveness as immediate-release forms and produces fewer side effects, according to a study published by Thomas Jefferson University researchers in the January 2011 issue of "Postgraduate Medicine."


Studies have not proven metformin more effective for weight loss compared to a placebo in most studies, eMed TV reports. However, metformin does appear to reduce weight gain, which often accompanies use of anti-hyperglycemic drugs. For that reason, metformin might have benefits if you're already struggling with overweight and need to take medications for Type 2 diabetes. The extended-release metformin may reduce initial symptoms that can occur with metformin, such as diarrhea and nausea. Because it's taken once a day, it may also be more convenient to take.

Load Comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.