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Off Label Uses of Metformin – Things You Should Know

Updated on April 11, 2012

Metformin is an anti-diabetic drug belonging to the biguanide class. It is indicated in patients with type 2 diabetes. A lot of researches have been done proving the efficacy of metformin in the treatment of type 2 diabetes; however aside from lowering your blood sugar it could do a lot more. Below is a list of off label uses of metformin making this drug not only for diabetics but for other people as well.

courtesy of metforminfacts.org
courtesy of metforminfacts.org

Off Label Uses of Metformin

Metformin as a Treatment for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) – polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the important causes of menstrual irregularity as well as androgen excess in woman. Females with PCOS usually take contraceptives to restore their menses into their usual state however some women are not comfortable taking contraceptives especially for those who are planning a baby. Metformin is an alternative therapy that will restore ovulatory menses in 50 percent of patients with PCOS.

Metformin as a Treatment for Obesity – Females with PCOS and who are obese could benefit with metformin. Aside from the possibility of restoring regular menses, metformin could also decrease body weight. In one study, metformin was compared with an appetite depressant, and after 6 months the results were noted to be the same, concluding that metformin can achieved weight loss as much as with other anti-obesity medication.

Metformin as a Treatment for HIV-associated lipodystrophy - HIV-associated lipodystrophy refers to changes in fat distribution associated with metabolic abnormalities. In one study, metformin has been noted to reduce visceral and subcutaneous abdominal fat among HIV-patients with central obesity and hyperinsulinemia.

Metformin as a Treatment for Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) – Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH is a clinical entity wherein patients who lack significant history of alcohol intake have liver biopsy findings of alcoholic steatohepatitis. Some randomized trials have shown the benefit of metformin for this type of patients.

Metformin as a drug for Diabetes Prevention – patients or individuals who are high risk for having diabetes could start taking metformin to prevent diabetes or prolong its onset. In one trial, it was noted that lifestyle modification and metformin have lowered the incidence of type 2 diabetes among individuals who are high risk for the disease.

Metformin as a drug for Gestation Diabetes – cases of gestational diabetes are much higher among women who have PCOS. Metformin given in the 2nd and 3rd trimester appears to be safe in many women, however some of them will still insulin supplementation to control their sugar levels.

Aside from diabetes, the list above mentions other benefits of metformin. Hopefully the list would grow in the near future.


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    • jhunpaler profile imageAUTHOR

      jhunpaler 

      6 years ago from Philippines

      thanks for the comment thesingernurse :) Metformin could decrease insulin resistance in DM and NASH patients.

    • thesingernurse profile image

      Tina Siuagan 

      6 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      These are very good information. As far as I can remember, people who are obese and has diabetes can be affected with NASH. But of course, there are still some patients who develop the disease even in the absence of the said risk factors. Having mentioned Metformin as treatment for NASH really sparked my interest.

      Thank you very much for another informative hub Doctor. :) I enjoyed reading.

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