Hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance are common features of obesity in humans and experimental animals. It has been demonstrated that metformin, an antihyperglycemic agent, decreases hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance leading to decreased adiposity in obese and non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) adults. To evaluate the antiobesity effect of metformin, we conducted a randomized double-blind placebo controlled trial in 24 hyperinsulinemic nondiabetic obese adolescents (body mass index [BMI] >30 kg/m(2)). All subjects were placed on a low-calorie (1,500 kcal for women and 1,800 kcal for men) meal plan. After an initial 1-week lead-in period, 12 subjects (mean +/- SE for age and BMI, 15.6 +/- 0.4 and 41.2 +/- 1.8, respectively) received metformin (850 mg twice daily) for 8 weeks, and 12 subjects (mean +/- SE for age and BMI, 15.7 +/- 0.5 and 40.8 +/- 1.4, respectively) received placebo. Compared to the placebo group, the metformin group had greater weight loss (6.5% +/- 0.8% v 3.8 +/- 0.4%, P <.01), greater decrease in body fat (P <.001), greater increase in fat-free mass to body fat ratio (P <.005), and greater attenuation of area under the curve (AUC) insulin response to an oral glucose tolerance test (P <.001). This was associated with enhanced insulin sensitivity, as determined by the fasting plasma glucose:insulin, 2-hour glucose:insulin, and AUC glucose:AUC insulin ratios, in the metformin group compared to controls (P <.01). This corresponded to a significant reduction in plasma leptin (P <.005), cholesterol, triglycerides, and free fatty acid (FFA) levels (P <.05) only in the metformin-treated subjects. Combined metformin treatment and low-calorie diet had a significant antiobesity effect in hyperinsulinemic obese adolescents compared to a low-calorie diet alone.
Copyright 2001 by W.B. Saunders Company