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Diabetes drug could treat childhood obesity

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Posted: Wednesday, December 18, 2013 10:16 am | Updated: 10:21 am, Wed Dec 18, 2013.

When combined with lifestyle interventions, like exercise and diet, treatment with the diabetes drug metformin seems to be associated with a modest reduction in body mass index (BMI) in obese children.

Metformin is approved by the FDA to treat type 2 diabetes in adults and children over 10 years old. However, it has been used off-label in recent years to treat childhood obesity.

Researchers at the Oregon Health & Science University analyzed the safety and effectiveness of metformin to treat obesity in children who did not have a diagnosis of diabetes by reviewing results from 14 clinical trials, which included 946 children and adolescents with baseline BMIs from 26 to 41. They found that while metformin helped obese children reduce their BMI (a reduction of -1.38 from baseline) and weight compared with lifestyle interventions alone, the change was very small compared to what is needed for long-term health benefits.

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