Association between metformin use and risk of lactic acidosis or elevated lactate concentration in type 2 diabetes

Eun Young Lee, Sena Hwang, Yong Ho Lee, Seo Hee Lee, Young Mi Lee, Hua Pyong Kang, Eugene Han, Woonhyoung Lee, Byung Wan Lee, Eun Seok Kang, Bong Soo Cha, Hyun Chul Lee

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Metformin can reduce diabetes-related complications and mortality. However, its use is limited because of potential lactic acidosis-associated adverse effects, particularly in renal impairment patients. We aimed to investigate the association of metformin use with lactic acidosis and hyperlactatemia in patients with type 2 diabetes. Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional study from a tertiary university-affiliated medical center. A total of 1954 type 2 diabetes patients were recruited in 2007–2011, and stratified according to the estimated glomerular filtration rate of 60 mL/ min/1.73 m2. Lactic acidosis was defined as plasma lactate levels >5 mmol/L and arterial pH <7.35. Results: Metformin was used in 61.4% of the patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Plasma lactate levels were not different in the patients with and without metformin use. There was no difference in prevalence of hyperlactatemia and lactic acidosis between the patients with and without metformin use (18.9% vs. 18.7%, p=0.905 for hyperlactatemia and 2.8% vs. 3.3%, p=0.544 for lactic acidosis). Similar results were observed in the patients with estimated glomerular filtration rate <60 mL/min/1.73 m2. Most patients with lactic acidosis had at least one condition related to hypoxia or poor tissue perfusion. Multiple regression analysis indicated no association between metformin use and lactic acidosis, whereas tissue hypoxia was an independent risk factor for lactic acidosis [odds ratio 4.603 (95% confidence interval, 1.327–15.965)]. Conclusion: Metformin use was not associated with hyperlactatemia or lactic acidosis in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-318
Number of pages7
JournalYonsei medical journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Yonsei University College of Medicine 2017.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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