Hyperglycemia is the elevation of blood glucose concentrations above the normal range. Prolonged uncontrolled hyperglycemia is associated with serious life-threatening complications. Hyperglycemia arises from an imbalance between glucose production and glucose uptake and utilization by peripheral tissues. Disorders that compromise pancreatic function or affect the glucose counter-regulatory hormones cause hyperglycemia. Acute or serious illness or injury may also bring about hyperglycemia, as can many classes of drugs. Metformin lowers blood glucose levels by inhibiting the production of glucose by the liver whilst enhancing uptake of circulating glucose and its utilization in peripheral tissues such as muscle and adipose tissue. Metformin suppresses hepatic gluconeogenesis by inhibiting mitochondrial respiration and causing a reduction of cellular ATP levels. Metformin may also modulate the gut-brain-liver axis, resulting in suppression of hepatic glucose production. Metformin also opposes the hyperglycemic action of glucagon and may ameliorate pancreatic cell dysfunction associated with hyperglycemia. Metformin is therefore recommended for use in the prevention of hyperglycemia, including drug-induced hyperglycemia, in at risk patients. The benefits of metformin in the prevention of hyperglycemia are unmatched despite its contraindications.
Part of the book: Metformin