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December 4, 2001

Pills for Diabetes

Question from San Diego, California, USA:

Why do they say metformin is not recommended for people who are not obese? Does lactic acidosis tend to happen in thin people?


Lactic acidosis tends to occur in people with conditions in which the medicine is not appropriately eliminated and the drug hangs around a long time. Such conditions include heart failure, liver failure, and kidney failure. These happen to be the contraindications for Glucophage [metformin] use.


[Editor’s comment: Depending on circumstances, lactic acidosis could occur to anybody no matter what their weight. I am unaware that there is any recommendation about using or not using metformin based on body weight.