Diabetes drug may kick depression to the curb

A 12-year study on Taiwanese adults shows there may be a strong link between diabetes and depression.

The study found that the risk for developing a mood disorder increased significantly when a person had diabetes. But another interesting, and more hopeful, result also came from the research: Scientists found that diabetics being treated with metformin--a popular drug used to manage type 2 diabetes--had a 50 percent lower rate of mood disorders like depression.

Double duty drug

Lead author of the study, Mark Wahlqvist of Monash University, says that potential mental health complications for diabetics are only just beginning to be understood by medical professionals. Wahlqvist notes that earlier research found a link between diabetes and the onset of dementia and Parkinson's disease, and that depression may be another condition to add to the list.

"We found depression and diabetes are more likely to occur together than would be expected from their respective separate prevalences," said Wahlqvist.

And not only did metformin appear to reduce the risk for depression in diabetic patients, but it also decreased the risk for all mood disorders, including dementia and Parkinson's. The risk was even lower when metformin was used with a sulfonylurea drug, which helps to stimulate cells into producing more insulin.

Wahlqvist notes that certain "neurodegenerative processes" seem to happen in diabetic patients, but with metformin treatment these processes may be inhibited or stalled.

"As the global burden of diabetes to health care systems increases, these findings may be relevant to the reduction of mental health complications associated with diabetes," Wahlqvist said.

Source: Futurity.org

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