Drug combination could help reduce risk of death in type 2 diabetes

May 5, 2016

People with type 2 diabetes treated with insulin plus metformin had a reduced risk of death and major cardiac events compared with people treated with insulin alone, a new study by Cardiff University shows.

Led by Professor Craig Currie of the University's School of Medicine, the retrospective research looked at people with type 2 diabetes who were treated with with or without from the year 2000 onwards.

12,020 people were identified from a general practice data source, and the research team tracked them for three and a half years on average, from the time they were first prescribed insulin.

The researchers found than when used in conjunction with insulin, metformin had the potential to reduce mortality and heart attacks. They also found that there was no difference in the risk of cancer between people treated with insulin as a single therapy or in combination with metformin.

Professor Currie said: "Since 1991, the rate of insulin use in type 2 diabetes increased more than six-fold in the UK. In more recent years, metformin has also been used alongside insulin as a treatment.

"Previously, our work showed that increased insulin dose is linked with mortality, cancer and heart attacks. Existing studies have also shown that metformin can attenuate the risks associated with insulin.

"In this research we examined insulin dose along with the impact of combining insulin with metformin. We found that there was a considerable reduction in deaths and heart problems when this cheap and common drug was used in conjunction with insulin.

Around 3.9m people live with diabetes in the UK, with more than 90% of those affected having type 2 diabetes.

"While this research indicates the potential of using these treatments together, further studies are needed to determine the risks and benefits of insulin in type 2 and the possible benefits associated with the administration of metformin alongside insulin," added Professor Currie.

The paper 'Association between insulin monotherapy versus insulin plus metformin and the risk of all-cause mortality and other serious outcomes: a retrospective cohort study' was published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Explore further: CVD risk similar for metformin + insulin or sulfonylureas

Related Stories

CVD risk similar for metformin + insulin or sulfonylureas

July 20, 2015
(HealthDay)—For patients with type 2 diabetes, the risk of myocardial infarction (MI) or stroke is similar for treatment with insulin or sulfonylureas in combination with metformin, according to a study published online ...

Add-on sitagliptin cuts risk of insulin initiation in T2DM

October 3, 2015
(HealthDay)—For patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) treated with metformin, add-on sitagliptin is associated with a lower risk of insulin initiation than add-on sulphonylurea, according to a study published in ...

Metformin usually adequate for control of gestational diabetes

August 18, 2013
(HealthDay)—Among women with gestational diabetes mellitus, those receiving metformin achieve lower mean glucose levels compared with those receiving insulin, but some require supplemental insulin therapy, according to ...

Study reveals record rise in insulin use

February 6, 2014
The use of insulin to treat type 2 diabetes has trebled in the UK over the last 20 years, a new study has revealed.

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.

Metformin does not improve glycemic control for overweight teens with type 1 diabetes

December 1, 2015
In a randomized trial that included overweight and obese adolescents with type 1 diabetes, the addition of metformin to insulin did not improve glycemic control after 6 months, according to a study in the December 1 issue ...

Recommended for you

Smart mat detects early warning signs of foot ulcers

August 16, 2017
While completing his residency in anesthesiology at Massachusetts General Hospital in the mid-2000s, Jon Bloom saw his fair share of foot amputations among patients with diabetes. The culprit: infected foot ulcers.

The best place to treat type 1 diabetes might be just under your skin

August 14, 2017
A group of U of T researchers have demonstrated that the space under our skin might be an optimal location to treat type 1 diabetes (T1D).

New measure of insulin-making cells could gauge diabetes progression, treatment

August 10, 2017
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a new measurement for the volume and activity of beta cells, the source of the sugar-regulating hormone insulin.

Pioneering immunotherapy shows promise in type 1 diabetes

August 9, 2017
It may be possible to 'retrain' the immune system to slow the progression of type 1 diabetes, according to results of a clinical trial published today in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Online team-based game helps patients with diabetes lower blood glucose

August 8, 2017
Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System have found that an online, team-based game designed to teach patients about diabetes self-management had a sustained and meaningful ...

Oxidative stress biomarkers don't always signal diabetes risk

August 7, 2017
High levels of compounds found in the body that are commonly associated with oxidative damage may actually be a good sign for some people, according to a recent review of multiple human studies led by an epidemiologist at ...

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.