Metformin has been shown to have positive health benefits in people with type 1 diabetes, according to results unveiled at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) 2017 Scientific Sessions.
A Scottish study, entitled Reducing with Metformin Vascular Adverse Lesions (REMOVAL), found that metformin, a commonly-used type 2 diabetes drug, reduced the risk of long-term heart disease in adults with type 1 diabetes.
The three-year research project involved 428 people who all had the condition and were aged 40 or over. It is the largest clinical trial to have ever been carried out on metformin therapy in people with type 1 diabetes.
The participants were split into two groups, where one received metformin and the other were given a placebo. The researchers then monitored several markers including HbA1c, cholesterol and Body Mass Index (BMI).
Lead author Professor John Petrie, from the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, said: “The results from this trial are significant because currently cardiovascular disease is a major cause of reduced life expectancy in type 1 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease rates are more than double those of the background population.”
The findings, which were presented at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) 2017 Scientific Sessions, showed there was a decrease in the thickening of the heart’s arteries among those who took metformin, which led to the reduction in heart-related health problems.
The research team believes the results suggest metformin should be made more accessible to people who may be at risk of heart disease. Currently in Scotland only 15 per cent of people with type 1 diabetes have ever been given the drug.
The study also showed that metformin does not improve glycemic control, although in the first three months of the trial, participants’ HbA1c levels did improve. Metformin also reduced lower body weight, cholesterol levels and insulin doses.
The study was published online in The Lancet.

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