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Equine Vet J. 2008 Jul;40(5):493-500. doi: 10.2746/042516408X273648.

The effect of metformin on measurements of insulin sensitivity and beta cell response in 18 horses and ponies with insulin resistance.

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1
The Liphook Equine Hospital, Forest Mere, Liphook, Hampshire GU30 7JG, UK.

Abstract

REASONS FOR PERFORMING STUDY:

Laminitis in equids is a very common debilitating disease, and insulin resistance (IR) and hyperinsulinaemia are increasingly recognised as important predisposing factors. Pharmacological modification of IR and hyperinsulinaemia might reduce the risk of laminitis.

HYPOTHESIS:

Metformin, a drug commonly prescribed for treatment of human IR, may also decrease IR in equids.

METHODS:

Eighteen horses and ponies with IR and recurrent laminitis were treated with 15 mg/kg bwt metformin per os q. 12 h. Each animal served as its own control by comparing pre- and post treatment proxies for IR, insulin sensitivity (IS) and pancreatic beta cell function while controlling for possible dietary and managemental influences on IR.

RESULTS:

Evidence of significantly improved IS and decreased pancreatic beta cell secretion was found following metformin treatment. The magnitude of effect was greater at earlier resampling (6-14 days) than at later times (23-220 days). Apparent subjective clinical benefits were good but less favourable than effects on IR.

CONCLUSIONS:

Metformin is safe and appears to increase IS in equids.

POTENTIAL RELEVANCE:

Metformin may be indicated as a treatment for IR in equids. Further studies are required to define appropriate selection of subjects warranting therapy, dosing schedule and pharmacokinetics.

PMID:
18482898
DOI:
10.2746/042516408X273648
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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