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Nephrology/metformin and renal function

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Question
I am a certified diabetes educator - RN.

My question is regarding metformin and kidney function. My understanding is that metformin itself does NOT cause kidney damage itself but it is excreted through the kidneys and therefore that is why creatinine is monitored. I feel like a lot of people believe metformin causes kidney damage and I have never read that.

If a female patient had one reading of  serum creatinine of 1.4 mg/dl several years ago and since then has had creatinine readings of 1.2 and 1.1 for several readings in a row with an absence of liver disease or CHF should I have the endocrinologist re-evaluate placing the patient back on metformin since more recent creatinine levels have been 1.1?

Obviously every patient should consult with their specialist before making any changes to medicine but just asking for your general advice for educational purposes.

Thanks,

Bob

Answer
Bob,

Thanks for asking my opinion on Allexperts.

You are absolutely right. Metformin does not cause kidney damage. Given its low cost, proven effectiveness against hyperglycemia, and positive secondary effects (eg, weight loss), metformin is an attractive drug for many patients with diabetes, including those with kidney disease.

Because the kidneys excrete metformin, any degree of kidney dysfunction would increase the level of metformin and the subsequent lactic acid produced. Currently, the recommendation is to avoid its use in those with an eGFR below 30 mL/min/1.73 m2.

I feel that your patient should have no problem going back to Metformin.

Sincerely,

Dr. Shah

Nephrology

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Dr. Shamik Shah, MD, DNB (Nephrology), ISN Fellow

Expertise

I can answer all questions related to kidney diseases, hypertension, plasmapheresis and kidney transplantation. I am an Indian-Board certified Nephrologist. I was a post-Doctoral Scholar at the Division of Nephrology & Hypertension,Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego. My area of interest is Critical care Nephrology and Acute Kidney Injury.

Please mention the units in which your lab results were reported and the normal reference range for your laboratory.


Alternative Website
http://www.syndeohealth.com/doctors/shamik-shah/91

Experience

Ten years as a Critical Care & Transplant Nephrologist

Organizations
International Society of Nephrology
Indian Society of Nephrology
Indian Medical Association
European Renal Association


Publications
- Shah SH, Cerda J. Acute Tubular Necrosis; Lerma, Edgar V., Rosner, Mitchell eds. Clinical Decisions in Nephrology, Hypertension and Kidney Transplantation. Springer ISBN 978-1-4614-4453-4, pp. 191-198
- Shah SH, Cerda J. Management of Acute Kidney Injury; Lerma, Edgar V., Rosner, Mitchell eds. Clinical Decisions in Nephrology, Hypertension and Kidney Transplantation. Springer ISBN 978-1-4614-4453-4
- Cerda J, Tolwani A, Shah SH, Ronco C. Continuous Renal Replacement Therapies in Modeling and Control of Dialysis Systems edited by Azar AT, Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg, Germany (In Press)
- Shah SH, Cerda J, Kellum JA. Acute Kidney Injury in Special Circumstances. John Kellum, Jorge Cerda, eds. Renal and Metabolic Disorders, Oxford University Press (In press)
- Shah SH, Mehta RL. “Anticoagulation in CRRT: Is Citrate better?”; Vineet Nayyar Ed. Critical Care Update 2009, Jaypee Brothers (In press)
- Shah SH, Mehta RL. “Non-dialytic management of acute kidney disease”; Evidence based Nephrology, BMJ, (In press)
- Shah SH, Mehta RL. “Epidemiology of Community-acquired AKI”; Ronco C, Bellomo R, Kellum J Eds. Critical Care Nephrology, Saunders. ISBN 1-4160-4252-0
- Abdeen O, Shah SH, Mehta RL; “Dialysis therapies in the surgical intensive care unit”; William Wilson, Christopher Grande, David Hoyt Eds. Trauma: Resuscitation, Anesthesia, and Critical Care, Informa Healthcare, NY 2007. ISBN 0-8247-2920-X
- Shah SH, Mehta RL. Acute kidney injury in critical care: time for a paradigm shift? Curr Opin Nephrol Hypertens. 2006 Nov;15(6):561-5.
- Shah, SH, Soroko S, Lischer E, Mehta RL. Delivered vs. Prescribed dose of Dialysis in Hospitalized Patients: Results of an Audit. J Am Soc Nephrol 17(Abstracts Issue): 2006, 107A.
- Shah SH et al “Biochemical Nutritional Parameters in Non-vegetarian and Vegetarian CAPD patients” Perit Dial Int 2001; 21 Suppl 2: S1-182


Education/Credentials
MBBS, MD (Internal Medicine), Diplomate of National board (Nephrology), ISN Fellow

Awards and Honors
Educational Ambassador of the International Society of Nephrology 2010
Fellowship of the International Society of Nephrology 2005.
Young Investigator Award by the International Society of Peritoneal Dialysis 2001

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