Background: Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is related to high mortality and morbidity. There are no proven therapeutic measures however, to improve the clinical course of ARDS, except using low tidal volume ventilation. Metformin is known to have pleiotropic effects including anti-inflammatory activity. We hypothesized that pre-admission metformin might alter the progress of ARDS among intensive care unit (ICU) patients with diabetes mellitus (DM). Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study from January 1, 2005, to April 30, 2005 of patients who were admitted to the medical ICU at Seoul National University Hospital because of ARDS, and reviewed ARDS patients with DM. Metformin use was defined as prescribed within 3-month pre-admission. Results: Of 558 patients diagnosed with ARDS, 128 (23.3%) patients had diabetes and 33 patients were treated with metformin monotherapy or in combination with other antidiabetic medications. Demographic characteristics, cause of ARDS, and comorbid conditions (except chronic kidney disease) were not different between metformin users and nonusers. Several severity indexes of ARDS were similar in both groups. The 30-day mortality was 42.42% in metformin users and 55.32% in metformin nonusers. On multivariable regression analysis, use of metformin was not significantly related to a reduced 30-day mortality (adjusted β-coefficient, -0.19; 95% confidence interval, -1.76 to 1.39; p=0.816). Propensity score-matched analyses showed similar results. Conclusion: Pre-admission metformin use was not associated with reduced 30-day mortality among ARDS patients with DM in our medical ICU.