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Can a Type 2 diabetes drug increase lifespan?

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A new study is being reported in the news todaysuggesting that people treated with Metformin, a blood glucose lowering drug widely prescribed for Type 2 diabetes, can live longer than people without the condition.

The study compared the survival rates of Type 2 diabetes patients prescribed with Metformin with patients prescribed with sulphonylurea, another Type 2 drug, with people without condition.Diabetes UK has responded to the study, which was published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.Simon O’Neill, Director of Health Intelligence and Professional Liaison at Diabetes UK, said: “This study supports the recommendation that Metformin be the first line drug of choice for lowering blood glucose levels in people with Type 2 diabetes because it shows the drug to have a better survival rate when compared to sulphonylurea. But Metformin isn’t suitable for everyone with the condition so there should be alternative treatments available, such as sulphonylurea, to be used when appropriate.“Although it may seem to imply that Metformin could lead to increased life expectancy, this study doesn’t take into consideration other factors which could mean that people with Type 2 diabetes taking the drug might live longer than people without the condition, such as undetected health conditions. Until we see further research and clinical trials in this area, the prescribing of Metformin should be limited to people with Type 2 diabetes, for whom we know it can successfully help to manage their condition.”

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