Using metformin as a way of treating type 2 diabetes has been shown to help reduce the risk of developing the condition, as well as lowering healthcare costs, according to a new study from the United States.
The National Institutes of Health scheme found implementing an intensive lifestyle intervention was better at reducing the danger of developing diabetes as compared to metformin, but that it cost much more over a 10-year period.
The study compared use of the diabetes drug metformin with a lifestyle intervention programme aimed at helping people lose at least 7 per cent of their body weight through things like diet and taking more exercise, as well as behavioural counselling. People taking part in the research were overweight and suffered from high levels of blood sugar, putting them at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The scientists assessed the cost of the medical care both in and outside the study, such as the both the cost of metformin, which is usually offered to patients just diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and the lifestyle intervention. It was found that over the first three years, the lifestyle intervention reduced the risk of developing diabetes by 58 per cent, and that metformin reduced it by 31 per cent, as compared to patients who received no treatment .
For the full 10 years of the research, patients in the lifestyle intervention group experienced 31 per cent less risk of developing diabetes, while patients on metformin saw a reduction of 19 per cent compared to patients who received no treatment.

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