Q: I take metformin twice a day. Recently, my A1C (a long-term measure of glucose control) came down from 6.7% to 6.2%. When can I stop taking metformin and consider myself no longer diabetic?
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A: Nice job on the A1C reduction! Something tells me you have also been exercising and eating better to achieve that kind of result.
The thing about diabetes is that it does not just “go away.” Even though your A1C is close to normal, there will always be a tendency for it to go back up as soon as you stop paying attention to it. This is due to the presence of insulin resistance — the cells of your body have a hard time using the insulin that your body produces. Medications such as metformin and healthy lifestyle choices are effective ways to overcome insulin resistance, but the effects don’t last forever.
Some people are successful (under the guidance of their physicians) at eliminating the need for medication to control their glucose levels. In most cases, this requires substantial weight loss and significant lifestyle changes. Even if you don’t require medications, you still have diabetes. But you can take great pride in the fact that it is effectively controlled without (or with minimal) medications.
Want to learn more about metformin? Read “What to Know About Metformin,” “Diabetes Medicine: Metformin,” and “Metformin: The Unauthorized Biography.”