Diabetes drug could extend lifespan
A drug commonly prescribed for type 2 diabetes may increase the lifespan of even people who do not have the disease, according to a new study.
The drug metformin is an oral medication that works by decreasing the amount of glucose one absorbs from food and the amount of glucose made by the liver. Metformin also increases the body's response to insulin and ultimately helps people with diabetes maintain control of their blood sugar levels.
In the study, scientists at Cardiff University in the U.K. compared the lifespan of patients taking either metformin or a drug called sulphonylurea with that of individuals without diabetes. The researchers accounted for factors such as age, gender and smoking status.
The researchers analyzed data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), which included more than 78,000 people treated with metformin, more than 12,000 people treated with sulphonylurea and more than 90,000 people without diabetes.
The study's results, published in the journal Diabetics, Obesity and Metabolism, showed that the patients treated with metformin demonstrated what the researchers called a "statistically significant" improvement in survival when compared with non-diabetics. The people treated with sulphonylurea were found to have consistently lower survival rates when compared with non-diabetics.
The findings suggest that metformin may be beneficial not only for people with type 2 diabetes, but also for people with type 1 diabetes and people without diabetes, researchers said.