A Patient With Metformin-associated Lactic Acidosis Successfully Treated With Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy

A Case Report

Hiroki Kinoshita; Machi Yanai; Koichi Ariyoshi; Motozumi Ando; Ryo Tamura


J Med Case Reports. 2019;13(371) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: Metformin has been widely used as a first-line agent to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus. Lactic acidosis is a rare but serious adverse effect in patients treated with metformin. Recent studies noted a correlation between metformin accumulation and lactic acidosis. Continuous renal replacement therapy for the treatment of metformin-associated lactic acidosis has been documented in some case reports; however, there is currently no specific treatment for metformin-associated lactic acidosis.

Case presentation: A 70-year-old Japanese woman with type 2 diabetes mellitus presented to an emergency room with metformin-associated lactic acidosis. She was found to be hypotensive and laboratory examinations revealed severe lactic acidosis: pH 6.618, partial pressure of carbon dioxide in arterial blood 17.3 mmHg, bicarbonate 1.7 mmol/L, and lactate 18 mmol/L. Severe acidemia persisted despite supportive care including intravenously administered fluids, sodium bicarbonate, antibiotics, and vasopressors. Continuous renal replacement therapy was initiated in our intensive care unit. After dialysis for 3 days, her lactate level and pH value completely normalized. The concentration of metformin detected was 77.5 mg/L, which is one of the highest in metformin-associated lactic acidosis successfully treated without overdose.

Conclusions: The present case had one of the highest metformin concentrations in metformin-associated lactic acidosis successfully treated with continuous renal replacement therapy, and serum metformin concentrations may be useful for the diagnosis of metformin-associated lactic acidosis. Metformin-associated lactic acidosis is a rare but important etiology of lactic acidosis. Continuous renal replacement therapy is advantageous for the treatment of hemodynamically unstable patients with metformin-associated lactic acidosis.