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Metformin use and B12 deficiency: What nurses need to know

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Metformin has proved a very effective medication Metformin has proved a very effective medication, but can cause a range of side effects

Type 2 diabetes is increasing in prevalence and has an enormous impact on healthcare resources as well as causing a number of healthcare problems, some of which can impact on quality of life. The number of patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes has risen steadily in recent years and based on current population trends, it is estimated that by 2035, 4.9 million people in England alone will have the condition.1

There are many medications available to treat the disease, and despite the development of many newer agents, metformin continues to be widely used as a treatment option. The drug has stood the test of time and is still recommended by NICE as the first line treatment for this condition.2 Practice nurses are at the forefront of diabetes care and those involved in the management of diabetes will be familiar with its common side effects, however rarer less frequently seen problems are less frequently encountered.

This article therefore aims to educate practice nurses on the benefits and adverse effects of metformin and its association with B12 deficiency.

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