Taking Popular Diabetes Drug Tied to Risk of B12 Deficiency
New Study Finds Risks Associated with Metformin
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Metformin is a drug used to control the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood by reducing how much sugar is absorbed from food and produced by the liver. It also increases the body’s response to insulin.
It is currently the most commonly used drug in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, and many people take it for several years to treat existing diabetes, according to senior study author Dr. Jill P Crandall, of Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Small numbers of people take it for prevention of diabetes.
A new study conducted by Dr. Crandall shows that people taking Metformin for a prolonged period can be at a heightened risk of vitamin b12 deficiency and anemia.
The data came from the Diabetes Prevention Program and the Prevention Program Outcomes Study using 3,000 people who were at a high risk for diabetes and following them for more than 10 years.
Participants were assigned to get metformin, a placebo, or an intensive lifestyle program that did not need medication. Participants provided blood at the 5 and 13-year points. At year five, average B12 levels were lower in the metformin group than the placebo group and deficiency was more common.
The study concludes that doctors who prescribe the medicine should consider routine checkups of B12 levels in patients. They recommend that patients ask their doctors about their B12 levels.
Dr.Crandall asserts that the risk of B12 deficiency should not be considered a reason to avoid taking the drug.
Risks and Symptoms of B12 Deficiency
Deficiency may lead to irreversible nerve damage that can be severe and irreversible. It has also been linked to impaired cognition, dementia, and anemia.
Symptoms of deficiency include: fatigue, numbness, and tingling.