Should we continue giving metformin to obese children?
Diabetes drug metformin has been shown to be an effective way to help obese children reduce body mass index (BMI), according to a new study from the Oregon Health & Science University.
A statement released about the study reiterates that childhood obesity is a public health problem in the U.S., with nearly 17 percent of children being obese. Metformin, which improves glucose control, is currently used to treat type 2 diabetes in adults and children over age 10. In recent years, however, it has been used off-label to treat obesity in children.
More than 900 children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 16 were analyzed for the trial. Their BMIs ranged from 26 to 41, and none of them had a diabetes diagnosis.
Results showed that while metformin did help kids reduce their BMI about 1.38 from baseline when compared with lifestyle interventions alone, the changes seen were modest. The researchers noted that long-term benefits – or risks – of children taking metformin haven't been established.
"While our results indicate that some obese children and adolescents may benefit from short-term treatment with metformin combined with lifestyle interventions, these benefits were very modest, not achieving a 5 percent reduction in BMI," the study concluded.
Results of the study are published in JAMA Pediatrics.