How does Metformin treat prediabetes and type 2 diabetes?

By Dr. Jeff Stanley

Metformin was first synthesized in the 1920s, but actually wasn’t approved for use for type 2 diabetes in the United States until 1995, under the brand name “Glucophage.” Metformin is also used for the treatment of prediabetes and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), although it is not currently FDA approved for this use.

Interestingly, the mechanism of action of metformin is not fully understood. It appears to reduce glucose production in the liver, although there is now evidence that other factors may also play a role. Metformin is generally safe and well-tolerated by patients and does not tend to cause low blood glucose, so it is recommended as the first-line pharmacologic treatment for type 2 diabetes.

Learn more about the dietary changes required to reverse diabetes without increasing medication in Reversing Diabetes 101 by Dr. Sarah Hallberg.

Citations:

Metformin for Prediabetes. JAMA. 2017;317(11):1171. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.17844

Rena G, Hardie DG, Pearson ER. The mechanisms of action of metformin. Diabetologia. 2017;60(9):1577-1585.

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