Use Of Diabetes Medication Linked To Vitamin B-12 Deficiency
May 27, 2010 by Special To Personal Liberty
Diabetic patients who are prescribed the drug metformin may be at an increased risk of developing a vitamin B-12 deficiency, according to a new European study.
Lead author Coen Stehouwer believes that individuals who take the medication should routinely monitor their vitamin B-12 levels and may want to consider taking nutrient supplements.
For the study, the research team recruited 390 patients with type-2 diabetes and assigned them to take either metformin or a placebo three times each day for four years.
At the point of follow-up, participants who were prescribed the diabetes medication experienced a 19 percent reduction in their vitamin B-12 levels. A total of 17 once-healthy participants developed a severe nutrient deficiency over the course of the research.
"Our study shows that it is reasonable to assume harm will eventually occur in some patients with metformin-induced low vitamin B-12 levels," said Stehouwer. "Our data provide a strong case for routine assessment of vitamin B-12 levels during long-term treatment with metformin."
Vitamin B-12 deficient patients often experience fatigue, anemia and significant mental changes.