16 Of these, only three patients were taking metformin. All patients had evidence of significant systemic disease associated with the development
of lactic acidosis and there was no increased risk for the condition demonstrated with metformin. The risk of lactic acidosis has been reported to be increased in patients with renal impairment, heart failure, liver disease, high alcohol intake or a previous history of lactic acidosis.17 Renal dysfunction Selumetinib manufacturer appears to be the most common risk factor implicated with lactic acidosis and many current guidelines suggest discontinuation of metformin at a glomerular filtration rate (GFR) of <60 mL/min. Despite this, there are a large number of patients with renal impairment using metformin with no reported increase in the incidence of lactic acidosis.18 For these reasons, the recently published National Evidence Based Guidelines
for Blood Glucose Control in type 2 diabetes5 have stated that lactic acidosis is rare and have suggested that an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) cut-off of <60 mL/min/1.73 m2 is overly conservative, recommending that although metformin is contraindicated in those with an eGFR of less than 30 mL/min selleck kinase inhibitor per 1.73 m2, it can be used with caution in those with a GFR of 30–45 mL/min per 1.73 m2. While there is no clear data to define specifically at which level of renal impairment metformin should be contraindicated, the risk of lactic acidosis in those with mild to moderate renal impairment is believed to be less than in those
with more severe renal impairment. The primary indication for metformin use is treatment of hyperglycaemia although it is also potentially useful for promotion of ovulation in polycystic ovary syndrome19 and is used for the treatment Cediranib (AZD2171) of obesity.20 The effects of metformin have been compared with those of other diabetes treatment in a recent Cochrane review examining 29 trials with 37 treatment arms.21 This systematic review demonstrated that metformin is highly efficacious at improving glycaemic control with a significant improvement in HbA1c compared with placebo or diet. Comparisons with sulphonylureas are varied, with the Cochrane review demonstrating a benefit in HbA1c and fasting plasma glucose in patients treated with metformin compared with sulphonylureas.21 A summary of metformin’s effects on glycaemia is appended in Table 1. The risks and benefits of intensive glycaemic control have been extensively studied in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Intensive glycaemic control has been shown to reduce both microvascular and macrovascular disease in those with type 1 diabetes.22,23 In type 2 diabetes, however, the benefits of tight glycaemic control are less clear. While good glycaemic control has been shown to reduce the development and progression of microvascular disease, in particular retinopathy and nephropathy;24,25 recent studies have failed to show a reduction in macrovascular events with intensive glucose lowering.