In a new study, researchers found a common diabetes drug metformin may help maintain weight loss in the long run.
The finding may help develop a new method to help overweight and obese people control body weight.
Previous research has shown that weight loss plays an important role in preventing or delaying type 2 diabetes.
However, many people find it hard to keep their weight loss in the long run.
It is important to find an effective way to manage body weight easily.
In this Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) clinical trial and its long-term follow-up study, the team tested people who lost at least 5% of their body weight during the first year.
More than 3,000 participants with pre-diabetes were tested.
The team compared weight loss and diabetes prevention with metformin, intensive lifestyle intervention or placebo.
They found that during the first year, twice as many participants in the lifestyle intervention group versus the metformin group lost at least 5% of their body weight.
However, people who were assigned to the metformin group had greater success at maintaining their weight loss between years 6 and 15.
The effect of metformin was higher than lifestyle intervention.
Metformin is marketed under the trade name Glucophage among others. It is the first-line medication for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, especially in people who are overweight.
The team also found that greater weight loss at one year could predict long-term weight loss in all groups.
This is important because early weight loss is linked to a lower risk of diabetes.
The team suggests that future work need to examine if metformin could help maintain weight loss after people lose weight with lifestyle interventions, antiobesity drugs or bariatric surgery.
The DPP was a randomized controlled trial that compared among, and its Outcomes Study (DPPOS) observed patients after the treatment phase ended.
The DPP/DPPOS is the largest and longest-running study of metformin for the prevention of diabetes.
The study is published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
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