Metformin abuse: A novel and dangerous purging behavior in anorexia nervosa
Objective: To report a case of severe multisystem illness, near death and permanent kidney failure in a woman with a history of anorexia nervosa-binge purge type due to abuse of prescription metformin, an approved oral diabetes medication obtained surreptitiously via the internet.
Method: Psychiatric and medical records were reviewed from the medical care of this patient. A literature search was also performed on prescription medication abuse as a mode of purging.
Discussion: Metformin abuse in a patient with an eating disorder as a purging behavior is a rarely reported, albeit very dangerous entity. Clinicians treating eating disorders should increasingly be aware of the potential abuse of prescription medications, unapproved for weight loss but which have weight loss, as a reported side effect. This is particularly important as the ability to obtain prescription medications via the internet, without a prescription, becomes more ubiquitous.