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Metformin May Help Decrease Body Mass Index in Teens

Combined with lifestyle intervention, study suggests drug can modestly decrease BMI

TUESDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Obese adolescents who take extended-release metformin alongside a lifestyle intervention are more likely to see a decrease in body mass index (BMI) than their counterparts who make lifestyle changes alone, according to a study in the February issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Darrell M. Wilson, M.D., of Stanford University in California, and colleagues in the Glaser Pediatric Research Network conducted a study of 77 13- to 18-year olds whose BMI was at or above the 95th percentile. All the participants followed a lifestyle intervention program and, while 39 were treated with 2,000 mg a day of metformin hydrochlorideXR, 38 were given placebo.

After 48 weeks of monitoring, there was a 0.2 increase in BMI among the placebo group and a 0.9 decrease in the metformin group, the investigators discovered, and the effects continued 12 to 24 weeks after the treatment stopped.

"Metformin, in combination with lifestyle modification, had a small but statistically significant effect to reduce BMI in obese adolescents," the authors write. "Metformin was safe and tolerated in this population. These results indicate that metformin may have an important role in the treatment of adolescent obesity. Longer-term studies will be needed to define the effects of metformin treatment on obesity-related disease risk in this population."

The drug and both placebos used in the study were supplied by Bristol-Myers Squibb.

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