Routine medication with Metformin could offer longer life

A diabetes medication that costs just ten pence per day could offer an extra three years of life to sufferers. A study carried out by Cardiff University involving more than 180,000 participants showed that life expectancy rises among users of Metformin. Diabetes sufferers have a reduced lifespan of an average of eight years.

The results of the study were published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism. Half of the participants had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Survival rates were higher in those who had been given Metformin. Comparisons made with a control group demonstrated that survival rates in Metformin users were as much as 15 per cent higher.

Lead author Professor Craig Currie, from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine, reveals:

“What we found was illuminating. Patients treated with metformin had a small but statistically significant improvement in survival compared with the cohort of non-diabetics, whereas those treated with sulphonylureas had a consistently reduced survival compared with non-diabetic patients. This was true even without any clever statistical manipulation.”

“Surprisingly,” he adds, “the findings indicate that this cheap and widely prescribed diabetic drug may have beneficial effects not only on patients with diabetes but also for people without, and interestingly, people with type 1 diabetes. Metformin has been shown to have anti-cancer and anti-cardiovascular disease benefits. It can also reduce pre-diabetics’ chances of developing the disease by a third.”

The number of diabetes sufferers in the UK is predicted to reach five million by 2025.  The secondary effects of diabetes put huge pressure on all health-care systems.