Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New study examines risks and benefits of the first line treatment for diabetes

Date:
April 10, 2012
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Although the drug metformin is considered the gold standard in the management of type 2 diabetes, a study by a group of French researchers suggests that the long-term benefits of this drug compared with the risks are not clearly established -- an important finding given that currently, thousands of people around the world are regularly taking metformin to help control their blood sugar levels in the belief that it also has long-lasting health benefits.

Although the drug metformin is considered the gold standard in the management of type 2 diabetes, a study by a group of French researchers published in this week's PLoS Medicine suggests that the long-term benefits of this drug compared with the risks are not clearly established -- an important finding given that currently, thousands of people around the world are regularly taking metformin to help control their blood sugar levels in the belief that it also has long-lasting health benefits.

For the past 14 years, metformin has been recommended as the first-line treatment for type 2 diabetes after a landmark study (the UK Prospective Diabetes Study) reported that when combined with dietary control measures, metformin reduced death from all causes in overweight people with type 2 diabetes. However, an overlooked finding from this study was that in non-overweight people with type 2 diabetes, metformin may actually increase the risk of death.

In this new analysis, the authors led by Catherine Cornu from the Clinical Investigation Centre, in Lyon, France, analysed the data available from all relevant studies to re-evaluate the balance of the benefits versus the risks of taking metformin for type 2 diabetes.

Using information from 13 randomized controlled trials (which included a total of more than 13,000 patients) the authors found that compared to other drugs, metformin had no effect on the risk of death from all causes or on the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, metformin had no significant effect on the risk of developing cardiovascular conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure.

The authors conclude: "We cannot exclude beyond any reasonable doubt that metformin use increases or decreases the risk of all-cause mortality or cardiovascular mortality."

They explain: "The specific efficacy of metformin to prevent death or cardiovascular events has not been proven by current studies. The number and quality of available studies are insufficient."

The authors recommend: "Further studies are needed to clarify this problematic situation. Metformin may not be the best comparator [drug] for evaluating new hypoglycaemic [blood sugar-lowering] drugs. However, it is not clear which comparator [drug] has the most favourable risk/benefit ratio."

It is essential that patients taking metformin who have any concerns do not stop the drug without consulting their doctor, especially as the authors conclude that "Compared with other antidiabetic treatments, metformin may be the one with the least disadvantages. It does not induce hypoglycaemia, weight gain, and heart failure. It is also associated with a reduced rate of mortality among patients with atherothrombosis."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rιmy Boussageon, Irθne Supper, Theodora Bejan-Angoulvant, Nadir Kellou, Michel Cucherat, Jean-Pierre Boissel, Behrouz Kassai, Alain Moreau, Franηois Gueyffier, Catherine Cornu. Reappraisal of Metformin Efficacy in the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes: A Meta-Analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials. PLoS Medicine, 2012; 9 (4): e1001204 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001204

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "New study examines risks and benefits of the first line treatment for diabetes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120410210942.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2012, April 10). New study examines risks and benefits of the first line treatment for diabetes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120410210942.htm
Public Library of Science. "New study examines risks and benefits of the first line treatment for diabetes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120410210942.htm (accessed April 15, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) — The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) — A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) — British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Newsy (Apr. 14, 2014) — Richard van As lost all fingers on his right hand in a woodworking accident. Now, he's used the incident to create a prosthetic to help hundreds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins