Metformin Has No Heart Benefits For Non-Diabetics: JAMA

Researchers say that the findings of a recent study dashes hopes that the diabetes drug metformin could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease among people who do not have diabetes.  

In a clinical trials update published on Christmas in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers point to increasing data that the metformin has no positive effects on the risks of heart disease for healthy patients.

One of the recent studies looked at 173 patients taking statins who already had cardiovascular risk, and another looked at patients with diabetes over 10 years of taking metaformin. In the latter case, the patients overall improved. However, JAMA editors note that until the Carotid Atherosclerosis: Metformin for Insulin Resistance (CAMERA) trials, there had been no testing of metformin on people without diabetes or heart disease.

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The results of CAMERA were first published in November in the Lancet: Diabetes & Endocrinology. The researchers could not find any evidence that metformin helped those without diabetes avoid cardiovascular disease.

The clinical trials update came just days after another study was published that found that men and women’s hearts handle metformin differently. This difference appears to increase the heart risks for men over time. The research suggests that all diabetes drugs may affect men and women differently, which could explain conflicting studies over Actos bladder cancer risk, Avandia heart attack risks, and the risk of pancreatic cancer linked to incretin mimetics like Byetta, Januvia, Janumet, and Victoza.

Metformin is a commonly drug used as a front-line treatment for type 2 diabetes. It is sold under several brand names, including Glucophage, Carbophage, Fortamet, Diabex and Riomet. It is also often used in combination with other diabetes drugs. Janumet is a combination of Januvia and metformin, while Actoplus Met is a combination of Actos and metformin, for example. The drug Avandamet, a combination of Avandia and metformin, was also used by some of the patients in this recent study.


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