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NEW YORK — A commonly prescribed diabetes drug also may have the capability of protecting the heart, according to a Swedish study.
Researchers at the University of Gothenburg's Sahlgrenska Academy, in collaboration with a research group from Naples, found that when metformin was prescribed to rats in a preliminary study, the drug also had a protective effect on the heart by helping increase pumping capacity, improving energy balance, reducing the accumulation of fat and limiting the loss of heart cells through programmed cell death. This compared with other animals, which did not experience positive effects on the heart when given metformin.
The study results were published in the journal Diabetes.
"The animals in our study were treated with metformin for a whole year, so the effect seems to persist," said Jörgen Isgaard, the researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy who led the Swedish research group involved in the study. "Our results nevertheless strengthen the indication for metformin as a diabetes medicine and we hope that they are now followed up with studies on actual patients."