Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Metformin treatment linked to slowed cognitive decline

Metformin is the first-line treatment for most cases of type 2 diabetes and one of the most commonly prescribed medications worldwide, with millions of individuals using it to optimize their blood glucose levels.

Medical research

Diabetes drug has unexpected, broad implications for healthy aging

Metformin is the most commonly prescribed type 2 diabetes drug, yet scientists still do not fully know how it works to control blood sugar levels. In a collaborative effort, researchers from the Salk Institute, The Scripps ...

Oncology & Cancer

Old drugs bring new hope to a cancer that lacks precision therapy

An estimated 15 to 20 percent of all breast cancer patients are "triple negative." These unfortunate women lack three crucial treatment targets—the estrogen receptor, the progesterone receptor and human epidermal growth ...

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Metformin

Metformin (INN, pronounced /mɛtˈfɔrmɨn/, met-fawr-min; originally sold as Glucophage) is an oral antidiabetic drug in the biguanide class. It is the first-line drug of choice for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, in particular, in overweight and obese people and those with normal kidney function. Evidence is also mounting for its efficacy in gestational diabetes, although safety concerns still preclude its widespread use in this setting. It is also used in the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome, and has been investigated for other diseases where insulin resistance may be an important factor.

When prescribed appropriately, metformin causes few adverse effects—the most common is gastrointestinal upset—and is associated with a low risk of hypoglycemia. Lactic acidosis (a buildup of lactate in the blood) can be a serious concern in overdose and when it is prescribed to people with contraindications, but otherwise, there is no significant risk. Metformin helps reduce LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and is not associated with weight gain, and is the only antidiabetic drug that has been conclusively shown to prevent the cardiovascular complications of diabetes. As of 2010[update], metformin is one of only two oral antidiabetics in the World Health Organization Model List of Essential Medicines (the other being glibenclamide).

First synthesized and found to reduce blood sugar in the 1920s, metformin was forgotten for the next two decades as research shifted to insulin and other antidiabetic drugs. Interest in metformin was rekindled in the late 1940s after several reports that it could reduce blood sugar levels in people, and in 1957, French physician Jean Sterne published the first clinical trial of metformin as a treatment for diabetes. It was introduced to the United Kingdom in 1958, Canada in 1972, and the United States in 1995. Metformin is now believed to be the most widely prescribed antidiabetic drug in the world; in the United States alone, more than 48 million prescriptions were filled in 2010 for its generic formulations.

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