Metformin Link to Neuropathy, Vitamin B12 Deficiency, in Diabetes
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Wednesday, November 04, 2015 08:03 AM

Metformin-related vitamin B12 deficiency might contribute to clinically significant peripheral neuropathy in diabetes patients, new research suggests.

Guidelines from European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) and the American Diabetes Association do mention vitamin B12 deficiency as a risk of metformin treatment for type 2 diabetes.  Previous research has linked metformin use to vitamin B12 deficiency, raising concern that the drug may be contributing to peripheral neuropathy separate from the effect of the diabetes itself.

With over 100 million prescriptions of metformin per year, many patients may be at risk, adding that clinical options include screening for vitamin B12 deficiency after 4 years of metformin use or simply supplementing all patients, possibly with a combination metformin-vitamin B12 pill.

"I think it's always a problem when a side effect is doctor-induced. I think there are enough data to suggest supplementation."