Metformin is one of the most commonly prescribed FDA-approved medications to treat type 2 diabetes and help control blood sugar. In addition, Metformin is also commonly used to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in high risk patients—and there is plenty of research to support its effectiveness.
One of the most notable clinical trials to date is the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2002. Over three years, researchers monitored over 3,200 non-diabetic persons to determine “whether either diet and exercise or the oral diabetes drug Metformin could prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in people with Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT).”
In the DPP, participants were split into three groups: The Lifestyle Intervention Group (intensive training in diet, exercise, and behavior modification), the Metformin Group (850mg of Metformin twice daily), and the Placebo Group (a blank pill that contains no Metformin). Both the Metformin and placebo groups were also provided information on diet and exercise, but no behavioral modification or counseling.
The results of the study were striking. The DPP tells us that participants in the Lifestyle Intervention Group “reduced their risk of developing diabetes by 58%… across all participating ethnic groups and for both men and women.” Furthermore, for participants aged 60 and older, lifestyle changes reduced their risk by 71%.
Supporting Metformin’s effectiveness in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes, “participants taking Metformin reduced their risk of developing diabetes by 31%.” Per the DPP, Metformin was especially effective for both men and women between the ages of 25 and 44. While Metformin was less effective for people aged 45 and older, the results still suggest a worthwhile treatment option in combination with lifestyle changes.
The bottom line? Lifestyle changes and treatment with Metformin both reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
To read the full DPP trial findings, click here.