The diabetes drug metformin could be effectively used as a treatment for people living with heart and circulatory disease, researchers suggest.
Whilst designed to lower blood sugar levels, more and more research is indicating metformin’s supplementary benefits. Last week, the drug was associated with decreased colorectal cancer risk.
Now, researchers from the University of Dundee are set to present findings on how metformin can lessen heart damage caused by high blood pressure in people with a condition called aortic stenosis, which can cause heart failure.
At the British Cardiovascular Society (BCS) Conference in Manchester, which takes place between 4-6 June, the researchers will also show how metformin helped to reduce blood pressure and body weight in people who had previously had a heart attack.
Professor Jeremy Pearso, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundatio, said: “These studies provide real hope that metformin might help to reduce deaths from heart and circulatory diseases, which currently claim thousands of lives every year.
“Repurposing of drugs like metformin is a great example of how scientists can harness the power of medications which have more than one target in the body.”
The MET-REMODEL trial found metformin was more beneficial for the heart and circulatory system compared to placebo in people with coronary heart disease over a 12-month period. Specifically, the drug was associated with a two-fold reduction in the size of the left ventricle in the heart. Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) – the thickening of the heart’s main pumping chamber – is a serious risk factor for heart attack and heart failure.
Another study revealed how people with diabetes and aortic stenosis were less likely to die from heart attack following metformin treatment when compared to other diabetes treatments.
The researchers behind the trials suggest that metformin’s beneficial effects could be because the drug tackles insulin resistance and inflammation.

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