Impact of Metformin on Male Reproduction

Curr Pharm Des. 2015;21(25):3621-33. doi: 10.2174/1381612821666150710150041.


Male infertility has been increasing over the last decades being nowadays a pressing health problem. Diabetes mellitus (DM) can contribute directly or indirectly to male infertility due to an abnormal spermatogenesis, which results in a decreased sperm quality. Type 2 Diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is responsible for the vast majority of DM cases, being frequently treated with oral antidiabetic drugs. Metformin is the most cost-effective therapy for the treatment of T2DM. This biguanide is an oral insulin-sensitizing agent capable of increasing insulin sensitivity and decreasing plasma fasting insulin levels. The main metabolic action of this drug occurs in the liver. However, it has been shown that metformin acts on a variety of organs including the male reproductive system. With the rising numbers of diabetic individuals among younger populations, there is an increase in the consumption of metformin in individuals of this age group. As a result, it is important to discuss the role of metformin in male fertility. This review presents the most recent data available from studies on the effects of metformin on male reproductive system. Together with the discussion of these effects, their significance to male fertility is also debated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Infertility, Male / etiology*
  • Infertility, Male / metabolism
  • Infertility, Male / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Metformin / adverse effects
  • Metformin / pharmacology*
  • Metformin / therapeutic use
  • Reproduction / drug effects*
  • Sertoli Cells / drug effects
  • Sertoli Cells / metabolism
  • Spermatogenesis / drug effects


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Metformin