Metformin and reduced osteoarthritis risk

Patients taking metformin for Type 2 diabetes had a lower risk of developing osteoarthritis than did patients taking a sulfonylurea, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open.

The findings fit with those seen in a 2022 review of preclinical and observational human studies finding potentially protective effects of metformin on osteoarthritis.

In the latest study, the researchers analyzed claims data from Optum’s Clinformatics Data Mart Database, which includes more than 15 million people. The researchers included all patients who were at least 40 years old, had Type 2 diabetes, were taking metformin, and had been enrolled in the database for at least one uninterrupted year. The authors then compared the incidence of osteoarthritis and joint replacement in these 20,937 participants to 20,937 control participants who were taking a sulfonylurea.

The results revealed that those who were taking metformin were 24% less likely to develop osteoarthritis at least three months after starting the medication than were those taking a sulfonylurea.

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