Metformin, a common drug for type 2 diabetes, has been found to be safe for the heart – unlike other type 2 diabetes medications. The researchers found that metformin reduced the risk of mortality associated with heart attack and stroke by 30 to 40 percent, in comparison to other commonly prescribed medications. Senior author Dr. Shari Bolen said, “Pharmaceutical companies continue to make new drugs to reduce blood sugar and improve on safety concerns of the older drugs.”
“While adults with diabetes often need more than one medication to control blood sugar, the newer medications do not appear to be safer than the older drugs,” Bolen added.
A total of 204 studies were analyzed involving 1.4 million people.
Bolen explained, “The complications of untreated diabetes often outweigh these safety concerns, but consumers will need to weigh benefits and risks of the medications with their doctors when making diabetes treatment choices.”
Metformin is generally an inexpensive medication, compared to newer name brand drugs. Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center, added, “We know, or we should know, that metformin is a good first-line agent to treat adults with type 2 diabetes and that it has favorable cardiovascular mortality – certainly when compared to sulfonylureas – nothing new.”
“For instance, one of the most common and expensive reasons for acute complications is the use of sulfonylureas and insulin that cause hypoglycemia [dangerously low blood sugar]. We have many medications that don’t cause hypoglycemia and are equally or more effective,” Zonszein continued.
The findings were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.