May 20, 2016 – Metformin


Anchor lead:  There’s a clear winner in the first choice of drugs to manage type two diabetes, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Metformin is the drug of choice when it comes to first line oral therapy for type 2 diabetes, research by Nisa Maruthur, an internal medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues, confirms.

Maruthur: We had enough evidence that we were able to demonstrate that metformin was associated with lower cardiovascular disease mortality than another drug sulfonylurea.  That is the first comparative effectiveness evidence that we have that one of these drug classes might be better than another for one of these long term outcomes.   :16

Maruthur says it’s been known for quite a while that avoiding eye, nerve and kidney complications of diabetes is possible with medications, but this study points to reducing the heart and stroke risk also.  She says metformin offers a number of other benefits as well.

Maruthur: Metformin’s been around for a long time, it’s inexpensive, it has a very good safety profile in terms of long term effects, and a lot of the newer drugs we just don’t know their long term side effects.  :10

Maruther says as more people develop type 2 diabetes worldwide, this analysis helps clinicians and patients make choices regarding good management, but stresses that things like weight loss, exercise and diet are also important.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.