Tags: diabetes | medication | metformin | sulfonylurea | osteoarthritis | oa | risk

Study: Diabetes Drug Lowers Risk for Osteoarthritis

woman holds knee in pain, illustration shows an x-ray view of osteoarthritis
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Wednesday, 22 March 2023 01:17 PM EDT

Metformin may help reduce the risk of osteoarthritis (OA) in people with Type 2 diabetes. A study of nearly 21,000 adults with diabetes found that those who were taking metformin had a 24% lower risk of developing OA compared to those taking a sulfonylurea, a different class of medicines used to manage diabetes. The study appeared last week in JAMA Network Open. According to Everyday Health, diabetes has been associated with a greater risk of osteoarthritis, a chronic  joint disorder that often leaves older people in pain and unable to walk or perform other daily functions.

The researchers, led by Dr. Matthew Baker of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, found that individuals who had previously been treated with metformin and were now taking a sulfonylurea drug also had a significantly lower OA risk, says MedPage Today. There was no significant difference in joint replacement, however, among those who used metformin compared to taking a sulfonylurea.

“One possible hypothesis for this finding is that individuals in the sulfonylurea group with prior exposure to metformin derived a degree of long-lasting protection associated with metformin protection,” the researchers wrote. Their findings parallel previous research on the protective benefits of metformin on OA risk. Baker and his colleagues said that while metformin causes more weight loss than sulfonylurea drugs, they “believe metformin exerts protective associations beyond what can be attributed to weight loss alone.”

The new information differs from research published last year that found daily metformin use was linked to a 30% lower risk for total knee and hip replacement compared to not taking metformin in people with Type 2 diabetes. Dr. Marilyn Tan, an endocrinologist at Stanford University in California said that metformin may guard against OA by reducing overall inflammation.

“Improved glucose control can improve overall infection risk and inflammation,” Tan told Everyday Health. She warns that that she would not go as far as recommending metformin at this time for people who have OA but don’t have diabetes. But more research would be warranted.

“Metformin is not FDA-approved for use in patients without diabetes, but it would be interesting to see the effects of metformin on osteoarthritis in patients who do not have diabetes,” she said.

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Health-News
Metformin may help reduce the risk of osteoarthritis (OA) in people with Type 2 diabetes. A study of nearly 21,000 adults with diabetes found that those who were taking metformin had a 24% lower risk of developing OA compared to those taking a sulfonylurea, a different...
diabetes, medication, metformin, sulfonylurea, osteoarthritis, oa, risk
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2023-17-22
Wednesday, 22 March 2023 01:17 PM
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