Metformin could make you live longer, study says

Patients who are being treated with metformin for type 2 diabetes might live longer than other people with the condition who aren't taking the drug, according to researchers at Cardiff University.

Metformin has already been shown to have anticancer properties, and the 180,000-person study suggests the drug may also have other disease-preventing properties.

The study aimed to compare the survival rate of diabetes patients taking metformin with patients who were prescribed another diabetes drug called sulphonylurea.

"Patients treated with metformin had a small but statistically significant improvement in survival compared with the cohort of non-diabetics, whereas those treated with sulphonylureas had a consistently reduced survival compared with non-diabetic patients," said lead study author Professor Craig Currie. "This was true even without any clever statistical manipulation."

An option for non-diabetics?

Currie says the findings indicate metformin might be beneficial for patients who don't have diabetes, as well as people with type 1 diabetes. The drug may also prevent pre-diabetes from developing.

In the next phase of his research, Currie hopes to investigate how metformin treatment can be continued on a longer-term basis in order to bring life expectancy back to a normal rate.

"People lose on average around eight years from their life expectancy after developing diabetes," Currie said. "The best way to avoid the condition altogether is by keeping moderately lean and taking some regular light exercise."

Source: Cardiff University

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