Metformin can reduce the long-term risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes when used as alongside lifestyle modification in obese children and adolescents, say UK researchers.
The largest randomised trial to date of metformin in obese young people without diabetes found those taking the drug had a significantly greater mean drop in body mass index score, when adjusted for age and sex.
The metformin group had a BMI standard deviation at three months of 0.09, compared with 0.04 in the placebo group. This remained significant between the groups at six months.
Metformin also significantly reduced fasting glucose by 0.03 mmol/litre compared with a 0.09 mmol/litre increase for those on placebo. The reduction for those on metformin was maintained at six months, though was not statistically significant.
The trial included 151 children aged 8 to 18 years who were all referred to one of six endocrine centres in the UK for obesity. Participants received either metformin twice a day or a placebo lactose tablet, and were followed for six months.
The authors concluded: ‘Metformin may provide a stimulus for further lifestyle changes and is a useful adjunct to support lifestyle modification and potentially reduce long-term risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.’