A study by researchers from China, Taiwan, and Australia aimed to determine if metformin use can lower the risk of total knee or hip replacements in patients with osteoarthritis.

Data from 69,706 participants diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in Taiwan between 2000 and 2012 was analyzed and compared between those taking metformin and those who did not take metformin.

Half of the population were female, with a mean age of the cohort of 63 years.

The research team paired 20,347 metformin users with 20,347 people not taking metformin by age, gender, and time of their diagnosis of diabetes.

The researchers then estimated the daily metformin doses from the first prescription through 12 months and 24 months afterwards.

They discovered that metformin usage corresponds with “a decreased cumulative incidence probability of total knee replacements, total hip replacements, or any total joint replacement” over a 14-year follow-up period.

Roughly 90% of total joint replacements were related to osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that causes joint pain and may require knee or hip replacements. There are currently no medications that prevent or reverse the condition.

The study found that metformin use in patients with type 2 diabetes was associated with a significantly reduced risk of joint replacement, suggesting a potential therapeutic effect of metformin in patients with osteoarthritis.

The authors called for further research to determine if metformin use is effective in patients with osteoarthritis.

The research was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

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