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14-09-2009 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Metformin moderately reduces BMI and insulin resistance in obese children


Free abstract

MedWire News: Metformin treatment is moderately effective at reducing body mass index (BMI) and insulin resistance in obese children and adolescents, show results from a systematic review and meta-analysis.

“Metformin has been shown to reduce weight gain, hyperinsulinemia, and hyperglycemia in adults with Type 2 diabetes and to reduce progression from impaired glucose tolerance to diabetes in those without diabetes,” say Russell Viner (University College London, UK) and colleagues.

“These benefits have led to an increase in the use of metformin in obese children with hyperinsulinemia,” they add. This is concerning as obesity is not currently a licensed indication for metformin in either the USA or the UK, but use of metformin in these children has increased faster than the evidence of clinical benefit.

In this study, Viner and team carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis of five trials containing data on metformin use in obese children with a total of 320 participants.

Studies were included if they were double blind randomized controlled trials of 6 months or longer in duration and included obese individuals aged 19 years or younger who did not have diabetes or secondary syndromic obesity.

The researchers report in the journal Diabetes Care that, treatment with metformin reduced BMI by an average of 1.42 kg/m2 and homeostasis model assessment insulin of resistance (HOMA-IR) score by 2.01 compared with placebo.

“Metformin may be efficacious in reducing BMI and insulin resistance among obese hyperinsulinemic children and adolescents in the short term,” say the authors.

However, they conclude: “Larger, long term studies across different populations are needed to establish the role of metformin as therapy for obesity and cardiometabolic risk in young people.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a part of Springer Science+Business Media. © Current Medicine Group Ltd; 2009

By Helen Albert

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