Pharmacological treatment and therapeutic perspectives of metabolic syndrome

Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2014 Dec;15(4):329-41. doi: 10.1007/s11154-014-9298-4.


Metabolic syndrome is a disorder based on insulin resistance. Metabolic syndrome is diagnosed by a co-occurrence of three out of five of the following medical conditions: abdominal obesity, elevated blood pressures, elevated glucose, high triglycerides, and low high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) levels. Clinical implication of metabolic syndrome is that it increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Prevalence of the metabolic syndrome has increased globally, particularly in the last decade, to the point of being regarded as an epidemic. The prevalence of metabolic syndrome in the USA is estimated to be 34% of adult population. Moreover, increasing rate of metabolic syndrome in developing countries is dramatic. One can speculate that metabolic syndrome is going to induce huge impact on our lives. The metabolic syndrome cannot be treated with a single agent, since it is a multifaceted health problem. A healthy lifestyle including weight reduction is likely most effective in controlling metabolic syndrome. However, it is difficult to initiate and maintain healthy lifestyles, and in particular, with the recidivism of obesity in most patients who lose weight. Next, pharmacological agents that deal with obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia can be used singly or in combination: anti-obesity drugs, thiazolidinediones, metformin, statins, fibrates, renin-angiotensin system blockers, glucagon like peptide-1 agonists, sodium glucose transporter-2 inhibitors, and some antiplatelet agents such as cilostazol. These drugs have not only their own pharmacologic targets on individual components of metabolic syndrome but some other properties may prove beneficial, i.e. anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative. This review will describe pathophysiologic features of metabolic syndrome and pharmacologic agents for the treatment of metabolic syndrome, which are currently available.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Obesity Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Life Style
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Metabolic Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Metabolic Syndrome / therapy*
  • Risk Factors
  • Weight Loss


  • Anti-Obesity Agents