Metformin reduces body weight safely in individuals with simple obesity
Patients with simple obesity may fare well with metformin, which yields reductions in body weight without inducing hypoglycaemia as a side effect, a recent study reports.
Researchers performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of metformin in patients diagnosed as being overweight or obese. None of the patients had an obesity-related disease, such as diabetes mellitus (DM) or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Outcomes investigated included body weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and fasting blood glucose.
Pooled data from 13 studies revealed that compared with placebo, metformin significantly reduced body weight (n=327; weighted mean difference [WMD], 2.33 kg; 95 percent CI, 0.31–4.35; p=0.02, I², 88 percent) and BMI (n=487; WMD, 0.57 kg/m²; 0.35–0.79; p<0.00001; I², 94 percent). Heterogeneity was considered significant.
There was no significant between-group difference observed in terms of waist circumference (n=417; p=0.05).
Meanwhile, metformin yielded greater reductions in fasting blood glucose levels compared with placebo (n=426; p<0.00001; I², 0 percent). Hypoglycaemia did not occur in the metformin group.
The present data show that the drug can reduce weight and BMI and effectively control blood sugar in patients without diabetes, researchers said.
Despite the promising results, the meta-analysis has a number of limitations. Among those researchers cited include the small number of studies and population, the lack of sensitivity analysis, and the short duration of studies.