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Posted by on Jul 18, 2016 in Diabetes mellitus | 2 comments

In a nutshell

This study examined whether metformin can reduce the risk of mortality, cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) events, and cancer in patients with type 2 diabetes when combined with insulin. The authors concluded that a combination of insulin and metformin reduces the mortality and cardiovascular risk. 

Some background

Insulin is a hormone in the body that lowers blood glucose levels. Patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) may be treated with insulin. However, a higher insulin dose can increase the risk of mortality.

Insulin therapy may be combined with a drug known as metformin (Glucophage). Metformin helps insulin work in the body. Patients treated with metformin often require a lower dose of insulin. Metformin has been reported to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (the narrowing or blockage of blood vessels that can lead to heart failure or stroke). It is also associated with a lower risk of cancer. A combination of insulin and metformin may be associated with a lower risk of mortality, cardiovascular (CV) events, and cancer compared to insulin therapy alone.

Methods & findings

This study aimed to determine whether metformin can reduce the risk of mortality, CV events and cancer in insulin-treated T2D patients.

This study involved 12,020 T2D patients. 6,484 of the patients were treated with insulin alone. 5536 were treated with insulin and metformin. Patients were followed for an average of 3.5 years.

Patients treated with insulin and metformin had a 40% lower mortality risk from all causes compared to insulin alone. They were also 25% less likely to experience a CV event compared to insulin alone. There was no difference in the risk of cancer between people treated with insulin alone or in combination with metformin.

The bottom line

This study concluded that T2D patients treated with a combination of insulin and metformin have a lower mortality and CV risk.

The fine print

The results demonstrated that there is an association between metformin and reduced risks. The authors did not show that metformin reduces the risks.

What’s next?

Consult your physician regarding the risks and benefits of metformin combination treatment.

Published By :


Date :

May 06, 2016

Original Title :

Association between Insulin Monotherapy versus Insulin plus Metformin and the Risk of All-Cause Mortality and Other Serious Outcomes: A Retrospective Cohort Study.

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