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.