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Vitamin B12 deficiency in metformin-treated T2D and peripheral neuropathy

There is a known association between long-term metformin use and a low vitamin B12 level, but there is considerable variation among study findings. Here, researchers sought to understand the prevalence of B12 deficiency and whether this had an impact on peripheral neuropathy. They found that almost one-third of metformin-treated people with type 2 diabetes had vitamin B12 deficiency but that this deficiency was not associated with peripheral neuropathy.

By Colin Kenny, GP, Dromore

In this prospective study conducted in South Africa, consecutive patients attending a diabetes clinic were assessed. They had vitamin B12 levels taken and were assessed for peripheral neuropathy using a Neuropathy Total Symptom Score-6 questionnaire.

Among 121 participants, the prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency was 28.1%. There was no difference in the presence of neuropathy between those with normal and those with deficient vitamin levels. Being of Black African descent seemed to protect against vitamin B12 deficiency in the study.

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