Posted on Jan 19, 2017, 6 a.m.
Metformin, the most commonly prescribed drug for treatment of type 2 diabetes, has recently shown to be beneficial in various other treatments.
Most prescription medications also carry risks from negative side effects, but Metformin appears to have quite a few positive side effects. It is not uncommon for research to discover new uses for drugs currently prescribed for a specific disease. This drug has been used for more than 60 years to treat Type II diabetics, and it's long-term use has provided the information needed for additional research. Some of the most promising additional uses for Metformin are listed below:
- Anti-aging - health care professionals have noted that those patients who have been taking Metformin over a considerable length of time seem to develop fewer age-related diseases than those Type II diabetics not using the drug. Researchers are conducting a six year placebo-controlled study involving 3,000 elderly people at risk to develop cancer, cognitive problems or heart disease. It is hoped the study will determine whether Metformin is able to prevent these age-related health problems.
- Cancer - is one of the most feared diseases that threatens people of every age, but the incidence increases as people age. Metformin is a drug used to treat diabetics, but additional research reveals that it could also be an effective tool in the prevention and treatment of cancer. While the process that allows normal cells to become cancerous is complicated, scientists have found that Metformin is able to suppress the growth of cancerous cells. This has resulted in a reduction between 14 to 40 percent of breast, pancreatic, lung, colon and liver cancer. Additionally, it has proven to be effective in combating leukemia in combination with Syrosingopine, an antihypertensive drug. In samples from leukemia patients, it was demonstrated that nearly all tumor cells were killed by this cocktail. Additionally, this was by use of doses that are not toxic to normal cells.
- Brain cell regeneration - children with cerebral palsy have traditionally been treated through rehabilitation which was limited at best. Metformin research showed that brain neuron cells were stimulated to multiply in mice, offering hope to children born with cerebral palsy. Additional research is needed to determine the most effective time period during which the drug can be administered. Medalloblastoma is a type of brain cancer affecting children which can be successfully treated with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Unfortunately, the treatment often results in cognitive and/or motor impairment. Scientists hope Metformin could help these young patients through the regeneration of damaged brain cells.
- Proven health benefits - lowering of LDL cholesterol and fat in the blood as well as minimizing weight gain. Metformin has been effective in preventing or delaying the development of Type II diabetes in overweight patients diagnosed with prediabetes.
Nearly any effective prescription medication will have some negative side effects, but Metformin is a drug with only minimal side effects; the most common being diarrhea or nausea. Often these relatively mild problems can be reduced or eliminated through reducing the dosage or changing to an extended-release form of the drug. Metformin is one of several prescription drugs that is being studied to discover which other diseases it could be used to treat. Its use has already demonstrated some important benefits outside of a treatment for Type II diabetes.