Spotlight on pharmacology of a noble oral hypoglycaemic agent: Metformin
The management of T2DM requires aggressive treatment to achieve glycemic and cardiovascular risk factor goals. In this setting, metformin, an old and widely accepted first line agent, stands out not only for its antihyperglycaemic properties but also for its effects beyond glycemic control such as improvements in endothelial dysfunction, hemostasis and oxidative stress, insulin resistance, lipid profiles, and fat redistribution. These properties may have contributed to the decrease of adverse cardiovascular outcomes otherwise not attributable to metforminís mere antihyperglycaemic effects. Metforminís negligible risk of hypoglycemia in monotherapy and few drug interactions of clinical relevance give this drug a high safety profile. The tolerability of metformin may be improved by using an appropriate dose titration, starting with low doses, so that side-effects can be minimized or by switching to an extended release form. We reviewed the role of metformin in the treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes and describe the additional benefits beyond its glycemic effect. We also discuss its potential role for a variety of insulin resistant and pre-diabetic states, obesity, metabolic abnormalities associated with HIV disease, gestational diabetes, cancer, and neuroprotection.
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