Long-term use of metformin as a weight loss aid is both safe and effective in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes, says the Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group.
Researchers found that patients taking an 850 mg. dose of the drug twice daily enjoyed stable weight loss, a prime factor in slowing or stopping the progression from prediabetes to type 2.
The weight loss, 2 percent of body weight over a 10-year period, was modest. But researchers noted that the loss was “durable” and that metformin itself was safe and showed negligible side effects.
Metformin, introduced to the US market in 1996, is a low-cost medication that works by controlling the amount of glucose produced by the liver. Long the preferred first drug therapy among physicians and endocrinologists for newly diagnosed type 2s, it is also becoming the therapy of first choice for preventing diabetes.
An abstract of the research, published in the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Care journal, is available at http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/35/4/731.