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Metformin Leads to Modest Reductions in BMI Among Nondiabetic Children — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
December 17, 2013

Metformin Leads to Modest Reductions in BMI Among Nondiabetic Children

By Amy Orciari Herman

Adding metformin to lifestyle interventions in nondiabetic children leads to modest reductions in BMI, but the clinical benefit is uncertain, according to a review in JAMA Pediatrics.

Researchers examined data from 14 randomized trials comparing metformin with a control intervention in some 950 overweight or obese children aged 10 to 16 years without diabetes. For the most part, participants received metformin plus a lifestyle intervention or a lifestyle intervention alone.

In studies lasting 6 to 12 months, metformin plus lifestyle interventions conferred a 1.4-unit greater reduction in BMI than lifestyle interventions alone. Gastrointestinal events were the most common side effects.

The researchers write: "Although these findings are based on statistically significant, moderate-strength evidence, the clinical benefit of such a small reduction in BMI is certainly questionable." They call for larger trials to "determine whether there are specific patients who may have a clinical, and not just statistical, benefit from treatment."

Reader Comments (1)

Karl S. Roth, M.D. Physician, Pediatric Subspecialty, retired

Are children more or less prone to spontaneous lactic acidosis attributable to metformin? In other words, is there a favorable/unfavorable balance in risk/benefit here, even if a 1.4 greater reduction in BMI is significant?

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