In a new study, researchers found a common diabetes drug, metformin, could help reduce heart disease risk even in people who have no diabetes.
The drug could reverse the harmful thickening of the heart muscle that leads to heart disease.
The finding shows metformin has the potential to be repurposed as a heart disease treatment in non-diabetic patients.
The research, MET-REMODEL trial, was funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
Metformin has been used to treat type 2 diabetes safely for the last six decades.
In the current study, the team found that metformin could reduce left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) in patients with pre-diabetes and heart disease.
LVH is the thickening of the muscle wall in the heart’s left pumping chamber. Previous research has shown that It is a big risk factor for heart attack, stroke and heart failure.
The major causes of LVH include high blood pressure, obesity, and insulin resistance.
Because LVH has no clear symptoms and signs, most people do not know they have the disease until they have a heart attack or stroke.
Currently, blood pressure drugs are the standard treatment for LVH but this method was not very effective because many people with normal blood pressure have LVH.
In the study, the research team treated prediabetic people with coronary artery disease with metformin or a placebo over a period of 12 months.
They aimed to see how the drug could affect the heart muscle wall.
The results showed that the dangerous thickening of the left ventricle was cut by twice as much in patients who took metformin compared to the placebo.
In addition, metformin helped reduce blood pressure, oxidative stress, and body weight.
The researchers suggest that as a non-blood pressure medication, metformin can help reduce thickening of the heart muscle wall.
The drug has the potential to improve heart health and can help improve the life expectancy of patients with LVH.
This is the first time scientists confirm the effects of metformin on LVH in people with coronary artery disease but no diabetes.
The team hopes a larger study can confirm the effects in the future and they believe that metformin could offer hope for millions of patients across the globe.
The leader of the study is Professor Chim Lang, Head of the Division of Molecular and Clinical Medicine at Dundee.
The study is published in the prestigious European Heart Journal.
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