The most prevalent treatment for type-2 diabetes is in the form of metformin. It is believed to be a more secure medication for patients with mild to severe kidney sickness according to medical specialists at Yale as published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

For a long time, metformin has been utilized by physicians in the US to lower glucose levels in individuals with type-2 diabetes. It’s the first line of defense, with most specialists and physicians using it to treat glucose increments in the body. Even with its documented effects in helping diabetes patients, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved it.

The reason being the purported side effects of metformin with mellow to moderate kidney ailment. This is because of the lactic acidosis, a possible and genuine condition that kidney ailment can be caused by its use.

Until now that is, since those decades-old rules are being reinvestigated.

According to Yale Professor of Medicine, Dr. Silvio E. Inzucchi and his colleagues, the Aston University in the UK and the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center, they carried out a review of metformin in diabetes patients. The range of disease was from mild to moderate in the sample size. At the end of their findings, they believed the risk of contracting lactic acidosis is significantly low at best. There’s zero evidence that metformin is risky for patients, provided that kidney function is not severely impaired.

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A Common Misconception Cleared

It was observed that most doctors had stopped prescribing metformin to senior citizens with diabetes. Their reasoning was that after a certain age, kidneys would lose their function slowly. However, that’s not always the case and there was no reason to stop metformin.

This has been a key reason behind most individuals, who also happen to have healthy functioning kidneys, see their diabetes go out of control. Even with other substituted drugs, the cost and the side effects become too much to bear. Metformin, on its part, is a generic drug, easily available and affordable, and comes with minimal side effects as compared to other alternatives.

The review carried out by Inzucchi also noted that despite the side effects, most of the patients with mild to moderate kidney diseases as well as type-2 diabetes are being administered metformin. Caution is exercised, however, in most of these cases metformin has not resulted in an adverse reaction in patients. This is one reason why specialists continue to trust metformin for treating diabetes.

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Severe Kidney Disease Patients Take Note

The only instance where metformin should not be administered is for patients with severe kidney disease. Dosage of metformin can however be reduced, cognizant with the level of kidney function. There is a need to constantly monitor kidney function in such individuals, ensuring that they remain stable.

What the Future Holds

In light of these studies and practical implications, Dr. Inzucchi and his colleagues have recommended that the FDA revamp their guidelines and policies regarding metformin usage. This small change at the regulatory level will ensure that at least 2.5 million Americans who live with type-2 diabetes can enjoy a better quality of life.

As a part of ratifying the FDA guidelines, Dr. Inzucchi is rallying the medical community by having 100 healthcare professionals (particularly in the field of diabetic healthcare), deliver their signatures on a petition for the FDA to revise and update its policies. Some of the luminaries in the medical world nationwide, including Yale’s Dr. Kasia J. Lipska, Clifford J. Bailey of Aston University, and Helen Mayo and Dr. Darren K. McGuire from the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center have also thrown their weight behind this initiative.