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[IP] Common drug can kill diabetics


Common drug can kill diabetics

Some patients inappropriately prescribed metformin: study


May 14  A significant number of patients with diabetes are inappropriately 
prescribed a common drug that potentially could kill them, a study suggests

THE STUDY on metformin, also sold as Glucophage, is one of several on 
diabetes published in Wednesdays Journal of the American Medical 
Association. Its the first JAMA issue devoted entirely to research on 
diabetes, which has reached epidemic levels and afflicts about 17 million 
people nationwide.
       Glucophage helps the body use insulin and is among the most common 
drugs for Type II diabetes, which is linked to obesity and is sometimes 
called adult-onset, although it has started showing up in children.
       The drug package insert warns that Glucophage can cause a rare side 
effect called lactic acidosis, a buildup of lactic acid in the blood that is 
fatal in about half of all cases. The label says it should not be used by 
patients with kidney disease or those who are taking drugs for heart 
       But nearly one-fourth of patients met at least one of those criteria 
in the study, which involved 100 Glucophage outpatient prescriptions from a 
University of North Carolina hospital pharmacy in Chapel Hill. Patient 
charts also were studied, and none had developed lactic acidosis, said lead 
researcher Cheryl Horlen, who now works at Campbell University in Buies 
Creek, N.C.

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