Most diabetics are familiar with metformin because that is one of the first medicines a doctor prescribes when a person is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Diabetics are prescribed a low dosage at first to be taken once a day to see how their bodies adjust to the medicine. A higher dosage is prescribed later to keep the glucose numbers within the acceptable range.
Yahoo! News on Aug. 9, reports that a large-scale study conducted by researchers at Cardiff University says that type 2 diabetes patients live longer than people without the disease because of metformin.
The results of the recent study were announced on Friday. Over 180,000 people treated with the widely prescribed diabetic drug metformin can live longer than those who don't take metformin. So metformin can help non-diabetics.
The findings in the study show that metformin could offer prognostic and prophylactic benefits to people with and without diabetes.
Metformin has anti-cancer and anti-cardiovascular disease benefits and can offer surprising health benefits to non-diabetics also. So people who take metformin, whether they are diabetics or not, get a cushion against cancer and cardiovascular diseases even though they are taking metformin for diabetes.
While this is true with metformin, it wasn't found to be true with sulphonylurea, another common diabetes drug. Metformin was the drug that was found to have a statistically significant improvement in survival, according to Craig Currie, professor at Cardiff University's school of medicine.
Dr. Currie points out that taking metformin before you get diabetes can prevent those at risk for diabetes from actually developing the disease.
This, however, does not mean that people with type 2 diabetes who take metformin should relax. When their disease progress, diabetes will be typically be taken off metformin and switched to more aggressive treatment. Therefore, a long life expectancy is not guaranteed.
While metformin is commonly taken by diabetes, the medicine is prescribed to patients for the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome, and has been investigated for other diseases where insulin resistance may be an important factor. Metformin works by suppressing glucose production by the liver.
The study was published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.