Metformin: Potential analgesic?

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



To determine the association of self-report use of metformin and pain intensity.


Survey-based cross sectional.


Primary care in an academic medical center.


Three hundred and twenty nine participants with diabetes.


A total of 329 men and women, aged 18–65, completed a phone-based survey. We utilized the Brief Pain Inventory to assess for pain intensity ratings; Leeds Assessment of Neuropathic Symptoms and Signs to screen for neuropathy; and the Personal Health Questionnaire (PHQ8) Depression Scale to assess for depression.


Three hundred and twenty nine diabetics (mean age 54- ± 8-year old) completed the study (162 metformin users, 167 nonusers). Compared with non-users, metformin users were used more often [38% vs 20%,P= 0.001]; had lower mean depression scores [6.8 vs 8.3;P= 0.026] and fewer comorbidities [1.5 vs 1.8,P= 0.022]. Adjusting for those three variables, pain scores were not significantly different between groups. In a subset analyses of those with neuropathic pain (n = 156), there were no differences in pain scores found between groups.


In a clinic sample of patients with diabetes, the use of metformin at an average dose of 1,432 mg (SD = 596 mg) was not associated with lower pain scores. Given the anti-nociceptive effects of metformin in the animal models of pain, and the relative safety of metformin, future research should evaluate the effect of the higher dose of metformin as a potential analgesic.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles