Possible medication induced pancreatitis?

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Hi all, I'm new here. So, about 4 years ago I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome, and educated to lose 50 pounds, and I was put on metformin for insulin resistance. About 6 months after starting metformin, I began having random pains in my mid chest, right under my sternum that would radiate around my right side, up my esophagus and into my right jaw, and pierce through my back. I let this pain go on for about 2 years because it would only last a few days. About 2 years ago, I got sick of it, decided it was my gallbladder and had that removed. I felt great for about 9 months, then I had all the same symptoms come back, and I thought this cant be, I had my gallbladder out... why in the eff do I feel this pain again. Once again, it lasted about 4 days, I wouldnt eat anything then the pain would go away. I went to the doctor, drew some labs, had an ultrasound, upper endoscopy...the works. They decided I must be having esophogeal spasms. sad 

SO... I have had about 4 attacks since then, they all last for about 3-5 days and as long as I dont eat or drink carbonated things I'm ok. This last one started 4 days ago, and it dawned on me that I am horribly nauseated and have pain that goes onto the left and right side now, and have nasty loose stools that are bright yellow. I'm also very, very tender under my sternum and along my bottom left rib cage (not to mention fatigued). Holy crap, maybe I have pancreatitis. I am a nurse, and I dont know why it took me so long to realize that! *worlds worst patient right here* 

Anyways, I got to researching about how different medications can cause pancreatititis, and I ran into a few articles on how people developed pancreatitits due to taking metformin because it overstimulates the pancreas. I rarely drink (maybe a few drinks 1-2 times a year), I eat pretty healthy, I could cut the fat out more, but for some reason I feel like I'm putting all the pieces together. All of my pain started shortly after beginning metformin for PCOS, and what I thought was gallbladder pain, probably was not. 

What I do know, is this pain sucks. Not much makes me cry in a fetal position, but this pain does. I am so sorry for anyone that suffers from this chronically, it must be a living hell... and I'm joining you on that road. Just curious if anyone else has had medication induced pancreatitis. 

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5 Replies

  • Posted

    I've recently been diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis and because I'm not much of a drinker either, I was wondering if my medications were to blame. I've been on Prilosec for over 15 years and on Simvastatin for about 10 years. Can you tell me where you've found articles linking medications to CP?
  • Posted

    Funny you should say that about Metformin, I am beginning to think that it maybe the cause for me too, I have had Chronic Pancreatitis and was diagnosed 5 yrs ago but was in pain and had the symptoms 6 and half years ago after starting Metformin to help with PCOS. I however am still on Metformin, they never told me to stop it and now I have also developed Diabetes they told me to take it twice a day and it killed, upset tummy, increased pain, so they went back to OD  with the Metformin and added in Gliclazide (apologies for my spellings). I am also on Ponstan as when my irregular periods do begin its extremely painful and ultra heavy and I read that they may cause CP too but my consultant dismissed it. I am in alot of pain, amongst over daily meds I take Zomorph 200mgs am and another 200mgs pm to help with the pain, I still feel pain but my Doctor suggests increasing the Zomorph and I would rather not, I cope with these doses, I don't want to be zoned out. 

    I am however hearing you and eager to find out more as I spend 95% of my life in bed and have done so for over 6 yrs now. My GP says and has said I am depressed, at first I wasn't and he angered me trying to get me on antidepressants, however I know that I am depressed now, I am on antidepressants but purely as a result of me CP and what it has done to my life!

  • Posted

    Hi Sarah, I too am new here but have followed a lot of these forums. When I read yours it just hit home. I have had "stomach problems" since I was little, but only diagnosed with CP 6/7 yes ago, after many hospital stays and surgeries. I don't have DM but have sure read a lot of folks that seem to believe that the meds for it may be one cause. I also have what I believe are esophageal spasms. I have severe GERD and if I forget the Prilosec... Wham, not good times. I also didn't get mine from alcohol. If I did I would have had to be drinking at age 5, my first bout of acute Pancreatitis. I really believe that there are many causes such as trauma, medications, common bile duct and pancreatic disformaties and yes alcohol. Just my 2 cents worth. I wish you pain free days...jorie
  • Posted

    Hi Sarah,  Do you have an update to the Metformin induced pancreatitis issue described? I recently went through this as well. For about 3 weeks I had been experiencing a vague pain in the middle of my stomach radiating around to the right, not too bad so I just ignored it. Then suddenly, the pain became excruciating, way beyond my tolerance level and was accompanied with bouts of intense vomiting. I am male 62 in reasonable health and a former footballer and I became doubled over and pleading for my life. The pain was shooting straight through to my back now. I spent 4 days in the hospital on morphine and IV drip and couldn't even take a small bite of food without immediately throwing it back up. The pain finally subsided, I was thanking GOD for that, and they sent me home. After several tests, Endoscopy, MRCP and a CAT scan in the hospital they diagnosed me with idiopathic pancreatitis. In other words they don't know what caused it. No gall stones, I'm not a drinker nor smoker. However about 4 months ago my cardiologist put me on a low dose 750 mgs of Metformin to control my rising glucose levels. I'm wondering if such a low dose could have caused this?




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