Lactic Acidosis Lactic acidosis is a rare, but serious, metabolic complication that can occur due to metformin accumulation during treatment with metformin hydrochloride tablets; when it occurs, it is fatal in approximately 50% of cases. Lactic acidosis may also occur in association with a number of pathophysiologic conditions, including diabetes mellitus, and whenever there is significant tissue hypoperfusion and hypoxemia. Lactic acidosis is characterized by elevated blood lactate levels (>5 mmol/L), decreased blood pH, electrolyte disturbances with an increased anion gap, and an increased lactate/pyruvate ratio. When metformin is implicated as the cause of lactic acidosis, metformin plasma levels >5 mcg/mL are generally found. The reported incidence of lactic acidosis in patients receiving metformin hydrochloride is very low (approximately 0.03 cases/1000 patient-years, with approximately 0.015 fatal cases/1000 patient-years). In more than 20,000 patient-years exposure to metformin in clinical trials, there were no reports of lactic acidosis. Reported cases have occurred primarily in diabetic patients with significant renal insufficiency, including both intrinsic renal disease and renal hypoperfusion, often in the setting of multiple concomitant medical/surgical problems and multiple concomitant medications. Patients with congestive heart failure requiring pharmacologic management, in particular those with unstable or acute congestive heart failure who are at risk of hypoperfusion and hypoxemia, are at increased risk of lactic acidosis. The risk of lactic acidosis increases with the degree of renal dysfunction and the patient's age. The risk of lactic acidosis may, therefore, be significantly decreased by regular monitoring of renal function in patients taking metformin hydrochloride tablets and by use of the minimum effective dose of metformin hydrochloride tablets. In particular, treatment of the elderly should be accompanied by careful monitoring of renal function. Metformin hydrochloride tablet treatment should not be initiated in patients > 80 years of age unless measurement of creatinine clearance demonstrates that renal function is not reduced, as these patients are more susceptible to developing lactic acidosis. In addition, metformin hydrochloride tablets should be promptly withheld in the presence of any condition associated with hypoxemia, dehydration, or sepsis. Because impaired hepatic function may significantly limit the ability to clear lactate, metformin hydrochloride tablets should generally be avoided in patients with clinical or laboratory evidence of hepatic disease. Patients should be cautioned against excessive alcohol intake, either acute or chronic, when taking metformin hydrochloride tablets, since alcohol potentiates the effects of metformin hydrochloride on lactate metabolism. In addition, metformin hydrochloride tablets should be temporarily discontinued prior to any intravascular radiocontrast study and for any surgical procedure (see also PRECAUTIONS ). The onset of lactic acidosis often is subtle, and accompanied only by nonspecific symptoms such as malaise, myalgias, respiratory distress, increasing somnolence, and nonspecific abdominal distress. There may be associated hypothermia, hypotension, and resistant bradyarrhythmias with more marked acidosis. The patient and the patient's physician must be aware of the possible importance of such symptoms and the patient should be instructed to notify the physician immediately if they occur (see also PRECAUTIONS). Metformin hydrochloride tablets should be withdrawn until the situation is clarified. Serum electrolytes, ketones, blood glucose, and if indicated, blood pH, lactate levels, and even blood metformin levels may be useful. Once a patient is stabilized on any dose level of Metformin hydrochloride tablets, gastrointestinal symptoms, which are common during initiation of therapy, are unlikely to be drug related. Later occurrence of gastrointestinal symptoms could be due to lactic acidosis or other serious disease. Levels of fasting venous plasma lactate above the upper limit of normal but less than 5 mmol/L in patients taking metformin hydrochloride tablets do not necessarily indicate impending lactic acidosis and may be explainable by other mechanisms, such as poorly controlled diabetes or obesity, vigorous physical activity, or technical problems in sample handling. (See also PRECAUTIONS.) Lactic acidosis should be suspected in any diabetic patient with metabolic acidosis lacking evidence of ketoacidosis (ketonuria and ketonemia). Lactic acidosis is a medical emergency that must be treated in a hospital setting. In a patient with lactic acidosis who is taking metformin hydrochloride tablets, the drug should be discontinued immediately and general supportive measures promptly instituted. Because metformin hydrochloride is dialyzable (with a clearance of up to 170 mL/min under good hemodynamic conditions), prompt hemodialysis is recommended to correct the acidosis and remove the accumulated metformin. Such management often results in prompt reversal of symptoms and recovery. (See also CONTRAINDICATIONS and PRECAUTIONS.)
INDICATIONS AND USAGE Metformin hydrochloride tablet are indicated as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults and children with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
CONTRAINDICATIONS Metformin hydrochloride tablets are contraindicated in patients with: Renal disease or renal dysfunction (e.g., as suggested by serum creatinine levels ≥1.5 mg/dL [males], ≥1.4 mg/dL [females] or abnormal creatinine clearance) which may also result from conditions such as cardiovascular collapse (shock), acute myocardial infarction, and septicemia (see WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS ). Known hypersensitivity to metformin hydrochloride. Acute or chronic metabolic acidosis, including diabetic ketoacidosis, with or without coma. Diabetic ketoacidosis should be treated with insulin. Metformin hydrochloride tablets should be temporarily discontinued in patients undergoing radiologic studies involving intravascular administration of iodinated contrast materials, because use of such products may result in acute alteration of renal function (see also PRECAUTIONS).
ADVERSE REACTIONS In a US double-blind clinical study of metformin hydrochloride tablets in patients with type 2 diabetes, a total of 141 patients received metformin hydrochloride tablets therapy (up to 2550 mg per day) and 145 patients received placebo. Adverse reactions reported in greater than 5% of the metformin hydrochloride tablets patients, and those were more common in metformin hydrochloride tablets- than placebo-treated patients, are listed in Table 7. Table 7: Most Common Adverse Reactions (>5.0 Percent) in a Placebo-Controlled Clinical Study of Metformin Hydrochloride Tablets Monotherapy Reactions those were more common in metformin - than placebo-treated patients. Adverse Reaction Metformin HCl Monotherapy (n = 141) Placebo ( n = 145) % of Patients Diarrhea 53.2 11.7 Nausea/Vomiting 25.5 8.3 Flatulence 12.1 5.5 Asthenia 9.2 5.5 Indigestion 7.1 4.1 Abdominal Discomfort 6.4 4.8 Headache 5.7 4.8 Diarrhea led to discontinuation of study medication in 6% of patients treated with metformin hydrochloride tablets. Additionally, the following adverse reactions were reported in ≥ 1.0 - ≤ 5.0% of metformin hydrochloride tablets patients and were more commonly reported with metformin hydrochloride tablets than placebo: abnormal stools, hypoglycemia, myalgia, lightheaded, dyspnea, nail disorder, rash, sweating increased, taste disorder, chest discomfort, chills, flu syndrome, flushing, palpitation. Pediatric Patients In clinical trials with metformin hydrochloride tablets in pediatric patients with type 2 diabetes, the profile of adverse reactions was similar to that observed in adults.