ONE in three diabetics on the most commonly prescribed drug for the condition are not taking their medication due to fears over side effects, according to a study.

Researchers found those who take metformin were less likely to follow expert advice regarding their medication.

The team from the University of Surrey examined how likely people with Type 2 diabetes were to take their medication.

They found those who took metformin were the least likely to take the required dosages compared to other diabetes drugs.

It was found 30 per cent of metfor min doses prescribed to patients are not taken, compared to 23 per cent of sulfonylureas, such as gliclazide, and 20 per cent for pioglitazone.

Researchers believe the difference in adherence rates is in part due to side effects of the different drugs.

Metformin commonly causes gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea and flatulence.

It is also thought having to take the multiple doses a day required for some drugs may have an impact on people taking the required medication.

Dr Andy McGovern, clinical researcher at the University of Surrey, said: “The importance of diabetes patients taking their prescribed medication cannot be underestimated.

“A failure to do so can lead to complications in their condition, including eye disease and kidney damage. Medication which is not taken does no good for the patient but still costs the NHS money, so this is an important issue.”