Metformin treatment shows no cardiovascular benefit for non-diabetics – study

Metformin treatment does not help reduce the risk factors for cardiovascular disease in non-diabetic patients, new findings have revealed.

The 18-month trial involving 173 non-diabetic subjects showed no reduction in risks for cardiovascular disease when put on Metformin, researchers reveal.

“Metformin had no effect on cIMT [the thickness of the innermost and middle layer of the carotid artery that supplies blood to the brain and which is a measure of hardening of the artery] and little or no effect on several surrogate markers of cardiovascular disease in non-diabetic patients with high cardiovascular risk, taking statins,” study’s lead author, David Preiss from the BHF Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre wrote.

The findings of the study come as a surprise as the earlier studies had established that the drug had a cardiovascular risk-reducing effect. The landmark CAMERA (Carotid Atherosclerosis MEtformin for insulin ReistAnce) trail had established that patients who took metformin ran a 39 percent lower risk of heart attack.

The study
The findings of the study are based on the analysis of 173 non-diabetic individuals with an average age of 63 years.

However, the subjects had been diagnosed with coronary heart disease and were on regular statins.

For 18 months, the participants were either put on metformin 850 mg twice daily or placebo.
At the end of the trial, researchers found no difference in the levels of HDL, triglycerides, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, or fasting glucose between members of both groups.

Furthermore, the incidence of myocardial infarction, stroke, coronary revascularization, unstable angina, or cardiovascular death was 5 percent in the metformin group and 7 percent in the placebo group, researchers highlighted.

Also, there was no statistical significant difference between the average distal carotid intima-media thickness recorded among members of the metformin group and placebo group. Likewise, the carotid plaque score was also same for both groups.

But metformin treatment significantly reduced all measures of adiposity including body weight, body fat, body mass index, and waist circumference as compared to placebo drug. It also helped improve other risk factors for the development of type 2 diabetes, researchers highlighted.

The findings of the study are reported online in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

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