Considerably more patients may benefit from effective antidiabetic drug

September 17, 2012

The antidiabetic drug metformin is not prescribed for patients with reduced kidney function because the risk of adverse effects has been regarded as unacceptably high. A study at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, has found that the risks have been substantially overrated. As a result, many more patients with diabetes may be able to enjoy the benefits of the medication.

, a very common condition, is increasingly prevalent around the world. Keeping diabetes under control and preventing complications requires not only , but drug therapy to reduce .

Among the most effective and frequently prescribed antidiabetics is metformin, which has been shown in a number of studies to lower the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Because the drug has been considered causing an increased risk of developing a rare but life-threatening adverse effect known as lactic acidosis, it is not prescribed for patients with reduced kidney function.

Researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg and Uppsala University have conducted a study involving 51,700 patients with type 2 diabetes from the Swedish national diabetes register and found that the risks are exaggerated.

The Gothenburg study shows that metformin is more effective than other glucose lowering drugs when it comes to reducing the , serious infection and death in patients with normal kidney function, but also in patients with mild kidney impairment.

"Furthermore, patients with mild to moderate kidney impairment do not run an elevated risk of from metformin,"says Nils Ekström, a researcher at Sahlgrenska Academy. "Thus, the drug can be prescribed for many more patients with diabetes than is currently the case."

According to Nils Ekström, a number of other countries already recommend metformin for patients with mild kidney impairment. "It is important to keep in mind that the results are for patients with mild to moderate kidney impairment," he says. "Metformin still cannot be recommended for patients with severe kidney impairment and should be prescribed with great caution for those patients. During periods of acute illness with dehydration, should never be used"

Explore further: Diabetes drug can prevent heart disease

More information: BMJ Open published the article, "Effectiveness and Safety of Metformin in 51,675 Patients with Type 2 Diabetes and Different Levels of Renal Function: a Cohort Study from the Swedish National Diabetes Register" in July.

Related Stories

Diabetes drug can prevent heart disease

March 26, 2012
The widely used diabetes medicine metformin can have protective effects on the heart, reveals a new study conducted at the Sahlgrenska Academy, at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

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

April 10, 2012
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 ...

Metformin may lower cancer risk in people with Type 2 diabetes

June 25, 2012
A commonly prescribed diabetes drug, metformin, reduces the overall cancer risk in people with Type 2 diabetes, a large systematic review study finds. The results to be presented at The Endocrine Society's 94th Annual Meeting ...

Lung cancer risk unaffected by metformin use in diabetes

August 30, 2012
(HealthDay)—Patients with type 2 diabetes who take metformin do not have a reduced risk of lung cancer, in contrast to previous observational studies, according to a study published online Aug. 24 in Diabetes Care.

Some diabetes drugs are better than others, according to new study

April 7, 2011
New research suggests that several commonly prescribed drugs for type 2 diabetes may not be as effective at preventing death and cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks and stroke, as the oral anti-diabetic drug, metformin.

Patients with Type 2 diabetes may not benefit from oral medication as well as insulin

April 20, 2012
Patients suffering from type 2 diabetes may not benefit from taking both an oral glucose lowering drug (metformin) and insulin instead of insulin alone, a study published on bmj.com claims.

Recommended for you

Diabetes pill might replace injection to control blood sugar

October 17, 2017
(HealthDay)— An injectable class of diabetes medication—called glucagon-like peptide-1 or GLP-1—might one day be available in pill form, research suggests.

Skimping on sleep may contribute to gestational diabetes

October 17, 2017
The amount of time spent sleeping in the United States has dropped significantly in the past twenty years with almost a quarter of women and 16 percent of men experiencing insufficient sleep. Now, a new study has found that ...

Artificial pancreas performs well in clinical trial

October 16, 2017
During more than 60,000 hours of combined use of a novel artificial pancreas system, participants in a 12-week, multi-site clinical trial showed significant improvements in two key measures of well-being in people living ...

Omega-6 fats may help prevent type 2 diabetes

October 11, 2017
The risk of developing type 2 diabetes could be significantly reduced by eating a diet rich in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, a new study suggests.

Where there's type 1 diabetes, celiac disease may follow

October 10, 2017
(HealthDay)—Parents of young children with type 1 diabetes need to be on the lookout for symptoms of another autoimmune condition—celiac disease, new research suggests.

Type 1 diabetes and the microbiota—MAIT cells as biomarkers and new therapeutic targets

October 10, 2017
Together with colleagues from AP-HP Necker–Enfants Malades Hospital in Paris, scientists from the Cochin Institute (CNRS / INSERM / Paris Descartes University) have discovered that the onset of type 1 diabetes is preceded ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.