Pharmacist review prevents evolving metformin-associated lactic acidosis

Naunton, M., Kyle, G., Owoka, F., & Nauton-Boom, K. (2014) Pharmacist review prevents evolving metformin-associated lactic acidosis. Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 39(5), pp. 567-570.

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What is known

There is controversy surrounding the risk of metformin and the development of lactic acidosis. There have been no reports of a pharmacist preventing a patient developing metformin-associated lactic acidosis.


Our objective was to report on a pharmacist potentially preventing an evolving case of metformin-associated lactic acidosis (MALA).

Case description

A patient who had been having episodes of nausea and vomiting for a year was referred for a home medicines review (HMR) by his general practitioner. The pharmacist who conducted the HMR suspected that the patient's symptoms could have been due to metformin. It was recommended to measure the serum lactate level and suspend metformin. Our patient was found to have a high lactate level and was referred to the emergency department by his general practitioner. Recovery was prompt with symptomatic support and cessation of metformin.

What is new

This appears to be the first case reported in the literature of a pharmacist recognizing an evolving case of MALA.


Although the incidence of MALA is rare, health professionals should be aware of the initial symptoms of lactic acidosis, especially in elderly patients with risk factors, to prevent a fatal lactic acidosis event.

Impact and interest:

1 citations in Scopus
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1 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 91693
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: pharmacist, diabetes, Metformin, Aged, Community Pharmacy Services, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Hypoglycemic Agents, Lactic Acid
DOI: 10.1111/jcpt.12187
ISSN: 1365-2710
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Past > Schools > Pharmacy
Deposited On: 11 Jan 2016 01:18
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2016 00:12

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