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Use Of Diabetes Medication Linked To Vitamin B-12 Deficiency

May 27, 2010 by  

Use of diabetes medication linked to vitamin B-12 deficiency 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.

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