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Metformin’s Effect on Mortality in Patients with Heart Failure and Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes mellitus plus chronic heart failure is a common but lethal combination and therapeutic options are limited. Metformin is perceived as being relatively contraindicated in this context….

Even as metformin may be perceived as being relatively contraindicated in this context, mounting evidence indicates that it may be beneficial.

This study was carried out to investigate the use of metformin therapy for treating patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) and chronic heart failure (CHF) in a large population-based cohort study. The Health Informatics Centre-dispensed prescribing database for the population of Tayside, Scotland (population 400,000) was linked to the Diabetes Audit and Research in Tayside Scotland (DARTS) information system.

Patients with DM and incident CHF from 1994 to 2003 receiving oral hypoglycemic agents but not insulin were identified. Cox regression was used to assess differences in all-cause mortality rates between patients prescribed metformin and patients prescribed sulfonylureas with adjustment for co-morbidities and other therapies. Four hundred twenty-two study subjects (mean ± SD 75.4 ± 0.5 years of age, 46.2% women) were identified: metformin monotherapy (n = 68, mean age 75.5 ± 1.1 years, 48.5% women), sulfonylurea monotherapy (n = 217, mean age 76.7 ± 0.7 years, 45.2% women), and combination (n = 137, mean age, 73.4 ± 0.7 years, 46.7% women).

Fewer deaths occurred in metformin users, alone or in combination with sulfonylureas, compared to the sulfonylurea monotherapy cohort at 1 year (0.59, 95% confidence interval 0.36 to 0.96) and over long-term follow up (0.67, 95% confidence interval 0.51 to 0.88).

In conclusion, this large observational data suggest that metformin may be beneficial in patients with CHF and DM. These findings need to be verified by a prospective clinical trial.

Am J Cardiol. 2010 Oct 1;106(7):1006-10.