The diabetes drug metformin can improve the life expectancy of people with certain long-term conditions, research has concluded.
Metformin, most commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes, was found in a new study to help people with chronic kidney disease (CKD), congestive heart failure (CHF) and chronic liver disease (CLD) live longer.
The research, conducted by Dr Matthew J. Crowley and colleagues from Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, US examined data between January 1994 and September 2016.
All of the databases scoured sought to analyse health outcomes of metformin in people with type 2 diabetes and either moderate-to-severe CKD, CHF or CLD.
“Metformin use in patients with moderate CKD, CHF, or CLD with hepatic impairment is associated with improvements in key clinical outcomes,” said the researchers.
Metformin was also associated with a reduction in hospital readmissions for heart failure in people who have CKD or CHF.
The study was conducted in response to adjusted US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines in 2016 recommending that metformin be expanded to certain people with reduced kidney function.
Cowley’s team hoped to analyse how metformin affected health outcomes for people with chronic conditions to provide a clear picture of treatment options for clinicians.
Crowley said: “Recent changes to the US boxed warning for metformin will increase its use in persons with historical contraindications or precautions … prescribers must understand the clinical outcomes of metformin use in these populations.
“Our findings support the recent FDA labelling changes, point toward areas for future research, and may help inform clinical practice and revision of clinical guidelines.”
The study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal.

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