Type 2 diabetes is initially managed by dietary modification, weight control and increasing exercise. If blood glucose levels are not adequately lowered by these measures, medications such as metformin or insulin may be needed.
Metformin in Type 2 diabetes treatment
Metformin is a convenient medicine: it is a tablet that can be taken just before meals and it controls glucose metabolism in various ways that help the body’s own insulin to work more effectively. It also avoids the injections required for insulin therapy, and the frequent checks on blood glucose to make sure that glucose levels do not dip too low.
Although metformin was introduced as a diabetes therapy in the 1950s, it was little used and was all but discontinued in the 1980s. However, research at Aston University gave rise to a new appreciation of this medicine.
The research revealed new mechanisms relating to its efficacy and safety. This in turn provided the impetus for further clinical research and renewed therapeutic application.
Metformin is now the most prescribed medication for type 2 diabetes worldwide. Research at Aston has given rise to a new appreciation for the drug
The unexpected benefits of metformin were its diverse effects at different concentrations in different tissues. These enabled glucose taken in during a meal to be distributed to tissues more in keeping with their metabolic needs, and to prevent the body from over-producing glucose in the liver.
The research at Aston was also reinforced with a concerted education programme for healthcare professionals, including high-profile scholarly reviews and treatment guidelines. Overall the laboratory and clinical research at Aston and the associated education messaging have provided a foundation for improved treatment of type 2 diabetes on a global scale.