Thursday, October 30, 2014
Sunday, July 27, 2008 SKAM, Community Member, asks

Q: Does diabetes cause migraines?

I have just been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and put on 2000 mg of metformin. I began having "ice pick"-like migraine headaches. Could there be a connection?

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Answers (9)
Eileen Gray, Health Guide
7/29/08 9:04pm

Hi Skam!


Migraine is a genetic neurological disease. To my knowledge, a medication cannot "cause" a migraine.

On the other hand, some side effects of Metformin are light-headedness and also dehydration.


It may just be coincidence, but I would let your doctor know what is going on.


In the meantime, here is some information on metformin and on migraine headaches that you might find useful:


Diabetes Treatments: An Introduction

Metformin (drug information)

Questioning Dietary Guidelines for Diabetes


Good Luck!

bridgette, Community Member
4/26/11 3:04am

I, too experience severe, stabbing, throbbing headaches and I have been getting them every since my doctor prescribed 2000 miligrams of metformin. I suspect the metformin has alot to do with it and I have decreased my dosage. The number of headache instances have greatly decreased as well

Nancy Harris Bonk, Community Member
7/31/08 11:44am



"Ice pick" headaches can be alarming because they start and stop before we really know what's going on. They often feel like an ice pick is being jammed into our head, hence the name Ice Pick Headace. We have more information for you HERE.



Glucophage (Metformin) does have headache listed as one of its potential side effects. Some of these side effects may lessen as your body adjusts to the medication. is a wonderful site that may help you with education and support with your new diagosis.


Good luck


Tanya, Community Member
11/29/08 12:06pm


I am also on metformin and have headaches everyday!!! So yes it does cause migraines because I never got headaches before taking it! now I can't even have the lights on when I get a headache however my doctor said that it is a sign that your sugar is low so eat something sweet!! Hope this helps!



Tommy, Community Member
5/ 4/09 12:55pm

I am experiencing the same issue. 

Tommy, Community Member
5/ 4/09 1:06pm

It is not low sugar.  I test my blood sugar everytime I get a migraine (which is almost every other day).  I have had migraines all my my life, however not at this frequency. The only change in my daily life is I started to take metformin.  I am going to stop taking the metformin.  I would rather have issues with my blood sugar then a migraine every other day.

Teri Robert, Health Guide
5/ 4/09 4:05pm



It may not be low blood glucose levels for you, but that is a trigger for some people.



Vicky, Community Member
12/ 8/12 9:09pm
I am with u. Had migraines since 13. But normally i have them once or twice a month or when i have a drink. Not always but sometimes. Metmorfin and some antidepressants defi ntely trigger my migraine attacks. I even experimented this. I stop taking it then no headache, i take and severe migraine. I m completly sure this is one of the triggers but dont know what to take instead of a metformin. Reply
Emily Baird, Community Member
6/15/09 9:30am

I also take metformin and have a headache everyday.  The severity of the headache differs from day to day, but there is some type of headache daily...Today is a migraine day.  And it's all I can do to hang, I work in a office setting with cubicles and LOTS OF LIGHTS....Plus my computer screen...So getting through the day is a challenge, by the time I get home it's all I can do to get to the bed...Does anyone have suggestions about how to eliminate the headache...My doctor says it isn't good to mix medicine with the metformin, and since I'm on the highest dose (2000mg/daily) you can take I dont want to chance it...Plus I HATE taking pills....

eyemale, Community Member
8/11/09 5:45am

Been taken metformin for about 3 months, the headaches started the 1st week and haven't stopped , everyday I have some kind of pain in my head,  and feel some what  dizzy ( and it isn't low blood sugar). matter of fact my last A1C show no change since I been taking metformin. So the only difference since I have been taking the drug is headaches, upset stomach and  Gas . also have less energy ( sleeping a lot more) and have no appetite. MY doctor wants me to give it another 3 months , and if no change in my A1C , want me to start taking Actos. which comes with whole other set of side effects I can look forward too. I don't mean to change the topic , but has anyone else asked themselves , what's the point of all this?  trading off one problem for another hoping to gain something in the long term?

Frank, Community Member
9/ 2/09 10:04pm

I was taking Metformin for 6 months before I got the first cluster headache.  I was liking the Metformin because it was the first medication that acted as an appetite suppressant and I was eating less and losing weight.   When the headaches came I didn't want to relate it to the Metformin but I can't think of any other reason for them.

I occasionally wake up with one during the night and the only treatment for me is to find a position that seems to alleviate it a bit and stay in that position for as long as possible.  At present it takes about 45 minutes for it to go away.  Once it's gone I can usually get back to sleep.  But I've had it occur on the road while driving as well as simply reading a book or doing nothing.  They are wicked when they hit.

Jules, Community Member
1/14/12 1:05pm

Being diabetic, (Type II) I had been taking glyburide/metformin for years with no ill effects.  I changed doctors to a diabetes specialist.  He suspected my diabetes was actually type I and had me tested for it.  The test came back positive.  I am a Type I, not type II. 


He put me on 2000mg/day of Metformin alone. (said I did not need the Glyburide) and within 2 weeks I was getting daily headaches.  I experimented with all the drugs I take but the only relief I got was when I quit the Metformin.  The headaches went away completely.  I started back on some leftover Glyburide/metformin tablets to at least get a little bit if metformin in me I had and the headaches came back but not as severe.


I have not tried hydrating yet but I will today as it was a suggestion on this forum.


There are two types of headaches I get.  Type 1 occurs seemingly behind the eyeballs and can be agitated by doing nodding movements.  Type 2 is what I call the "loose brain" headache and can be agitated by side-to-side head movements and feels like the brain is loose inside my skull and just slopping around when I shake my head from side-to-side.


I never had any headaches (except for hangover headaches) before being diagnosed with diabetes, now they are a daily occurrence.

raula, Community Member
4/12/10 5:17pm

hi im going through the same symtoms .my doctor has asked me to take this so that i could try to get pregnent again. wat did you do ?? did you stop the tablets?

Nancy Nurse, Community Member
12/15/11 5:03pm
Yes I have asked myself that question and decided for me to give up the medications. I cut out all sweets, bread, pasta, fruit, and potatoes,and white flour. I live on meat,cheese eggs and vegs, with the occasional berry for desert with whip cream, and a glassmof red wine if I want it The blood sugar dropped to normal, cholesterol went down to under 300 which is an improvement for me. I do not exercise so making the diet changes is all I did to get it under control. Lost 20 pounds and did not suffer too much except for missing bread. I do cheat occasionally with a piece of whole wheat chewy bread. I felt worse on the Metformin than I did at the start of the diet. Reply
Patty Blaine, Community Member
12/16/11 12:24am

I can see where you are coing from on the headaches.  I was a Pharmacy Buyer in a large hospital for 30 years.  I understand drugs.  I can tell you, I have been on

Metformin/Diabeta for 7 years.  I too had a headache every day.  I have come to

realize that Metformin does cause dehydration.  Once I figured my problem was

really caused by Dehydration, I started trying to drink more water.  I am still not

great, but I also drink 1 low sugar gatorade a day and the headaches are few and

far between.  Also - Metformin depletes your B-12 and Magnesium.  You should

have those levels checked.  Mine were both low.... Hope this info helps.

Simmo, Community Member
5/21/10 9:41am

I have always had migraines and to be honest the main triggers are caffeine and lack of quality sleep (generally out of my control). Started metaformin (2000mg daily) and have had a bad migraine every week. Personally I think it is dehydration becuase the one this morning I was so thirsty, I am drinking more water than ever but it isnt enough. I am starting on Powerade Zero today (no sugar but the electrolytes hydrate the system faster) I have used these drinks in the past and they have lessened the severity of a migraine so am hoping they will help. Will report back!



MariAnne, Community Member
9/12/10 4:56pm

Metformin is a mitochondrial toxin. Migraines (and the comorbid epilepsy) are very common in mitochnodrial disfunction - do a search.


I went on a ketogenic diet about ten years ago, for an unrelated condition (I was overweight and had earlier tried Meformin for the Metabolic Syndrome).


I lost weight, and my migraines stopped. I thought it was the ketones, but I am beginning to consider the role of increased mitochondrial density as well.


Metoformin decreases mitochondrial density.

Ketosis diets increase mitochondrial density. So does thyroid hormone. So does exercise.


Good luck.

Jen, Community Member
4/16/11 10:01am
I've been struggling with managing chronic headaches/migraines for 4 years now and have learned that for me there are no easy answers. Headaches can be "triggered" by all kinds of things depending on your specific body make-up — the food you eat, your sleep schedule, the weather, medication, and much more. I have been getting a handle on my triggers and was recently put on metformin to treat PCOS. It seemed like my headaches flared up almost immediately. I told my Dr. and he had me try the brand version Fortamet. I really think this helped. It's expensive though unfortunately :-( I'm experimenting now to see if I can try metformin again — if it will trigger the headaches again. Has anyone else had this experience? Headaches with metformin but not with Fortamet? Reply
sick-and-tired, Community Member
8/28/11 1:23pm

to me it seems like it causes migraines. i had migraines before but not as frequently... I am so touchy to light, to sounds, i have taken tension headache, i've tried to eat sweets, nothing works, except sleep, but even when i wake up i still feel like crap... i've been doing nothing but eating, drinking juice and water, i can't focus...i feel cramps on my ovaries more than ever, i have pcos, insulin resistance but just borderline and infertility. i have tried excersising but i feel very dizzy.. i felt so much better when i wasn't on the medication. but doctor says to continue

ddadmire, Community Member
5/13/12 4:50pm

As soon as I started taking metformin the migraines started. I do not think hydration is an issue for me at this point. I have started supplements but after one week no change has occured. St this point I am going to start a Raw Food Diet. I think it will be my saaving grace since my diabetes is most likely weight related.

Vicky, Community Member
12/ 8/12 9:02pm
Oh yes. I am using metformin and will stop to use it due to severe migraine attacks. Also antidepressants like zoloft and prozac have the same migraine side effect on me. I stopped using them. Reply
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By SKAM, Community Member— Last Modified: 09/16/14, First Published: 07/27/08