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Lifestyle Changes Can Reduce Incidence of Diabetes

Study suggests metformin also leads to weight loss and reduced diabetes after 10 years

THURSDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Lifestyle changes and metformin lead to weight loss and a reduced incidence of diabetes in high-risk individuals that is maintained for 10 years, according to a study published online Oct. 29 in The Lancet.

William C. Knowler, M.D., from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in Phoenix, and colleagues analyzed 10-year follow-up data from a clinical trial of adults at high risk of diabetes who had been randomly assigned to placebo, an intensive lifestyle intervention, or metformin. Long-term follow-up data was available for 910 patients from the lifestyle group, 924 from the metformin group, and 932 were from the original placebo group.

The researchers found that since the last follow-up after 2.8 years, the lifestyle group lost, then partially regained the weight, while the metformin group maintained their modest weight loss. Per 100 person-years, diabetes incidence was 4.8 for lifestyle intervention, 7.8 for metformin, and 11.0 for placebo; however, incidence rates since the last follow-up were similar at 5.9, 4.9, and 5.6 per 100 person-years, respectively. Diabetes incidence on long-term follow-up was 34 percent lower for the lifestyle group and 18 percent lower for the metformin group, compared with the placebo group.

"During follow-up after the Diabetes Prevention Program, incidences in the former placebo and metformin groups fell to equal those in the former lifestyle group, but the cumulative incidence of diabetes remained lowest in the lifestyle group," Knowler and colleagues conclude. "Prevention or delay of diabetes with lifestyle intervention or metformin can persist for at least 10 years."

Lipha (Merck-Sante) provided medicines, and LifeScan donated materials for the study.

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