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Rom J Intern Med. 2003;41(3):215-25.

Current indications for metformin therapy.

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Department of Diabetology, Clinical Center of Endocrinology, Medical University, Sofia, Bulgaria.


Metformin (dimethyl-biguanide) is an oral antidiabetic drug, which decreases hepatic glucose production (gluconeogenesis) and increases peripheral glucose uptake by muscles. Metformin is a first-line drug in the treatment of overweight and obese type 2 diabetic patients, offering a selective pathophysiological approach by its effect on insulin resistance. It has been shown in a number of studies to improve clinical outcomes in type 2 diabetic patients. It has been demonstrated in a number of studies that metformin has multiple biological effects - it has been shown to have platelet antiaggregating effects, to reduce the rate of formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and to decrease the cellular oxidative reactions, thus demonstrating the antioxidant effects of the drug, which may largely explain its vascular protective effect. A number of studies have established the favorable effect of metformin on body weight, insulin resistance, hyperinsulinaemia, lipid parameters (total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides), arterial hypertension, fibrinolysis, endothelial dysfunction. Thus metformin appears to have a broad set of pharmacological properties, making the drug potentially applicable even in nondiabetic situations such as obesity, extreme insulin resistance with acanthosis nigricans, polycystic ovary syndrome, etc. Metformin has been demonstrated in the Diabetes Prevention Program to be a drug with great potential in preventing the conversion of IGT to type 2 diabetes. Thus, metformin appears to be a drug with multiple therapeutic effects far beyond its effect on lowering blood glucose in diabetes mellitus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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