Effects of treatment with metformin on TSH levels: A meta-analysis of literature studies

Roberta Lupoli, Alessandro Di Minno, Anna Tortora, Pasquale Ambrosino, Gelsy Arianna Lupoli, Matteo Nicola Dario Di Minno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context: Some data suggest that metformin affects the thyroid profile in patients with type 2 diabetes, but contrasting results are reported in different settings. Objective: The aim of this meta-analysis was to assess the effect of metformin treatment on TSH in subjects with or without thyroid dysfunction. Data Sources: We performed a systematic search of articles evaluating changes in TSH levels in patients receiving metformin. Study Selection: Studies evaluating TSH levels before and after metformin treatment were included. Data Extraction: Clinical data, demographic variables, and TSH levels before and after treatment with metformin were extracted. Data were analyzed according to the underlying thyroid disease. Data Synthesis: A total of 7 datasets (206 patients) were included in the final analysis. After metformin treatment, a slight but significant reduction in TSH levels was found in 4 datasets on 119 patients with overt hypothyroidism receiving L-T4 replacement (mean difference, 1.08; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.50, 1.65; P = .0003). Similarly, in 2 datasets reporting on a total of 33 patients with subclinical hypothyroidism not receiving treatment with L-T4, a significant reduction in TSH levels was reported (mean difference, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.32, 1.87; P = .00001) after treatment with metformin. In 1 dataset, including 54 euthyroid patients not receiving L-T4, no changes in TSH levels were reported after treatment with metformin (mean difference, 0.18; 95% CI, -0.20, 0.56; P = .35). Conclusions: Metformin induces a reduction in TSH levels both in overt and in subclinical hypothyroidism. In contrast, no change in TSH levels is found in euthyroid patients. (J Clin Endocrinol Metab 99: E143-E148, 2014).

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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