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HOME > PAST ISSUE > March-April 2017 > Article Detail

FEATURE ARTICLE

Metformin: Out of Backwaters and into the Mainstream

This ubiquitous diabetes drug took a convoluted route to become the standard of care, and is still finding new uses.

Philip A. Rea, Anderson Y. Tien

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Metformin has come to prominence despite a checkered history. Its story is one of delays, uncertainties, and dead ends, as well as fortuitous accidents. It is a drug, born of folklore, with reasonably well-established clinical benefits but whose precise mechanism of action has resisted definition. Yet, metformin is the current standard of care for the treatment of one of the most common chronic conditions in the modern world—type 2 diabetes—and its chemical structure is remarkably simple by comparison with that of many other drugs.


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