Retrospective Evaluation of Metformin and/or Metformin Plus a New Polysaccharide Complex in Treating Severe Hyperinsulinism and Insulin Resistance in Obese Children and Adolescents with Metabolic Syndrome

Nutrients. 2017 May 20;9(5):524. doi: 10.3390/nu9050524.


Background: Pharmacological treatment of obesity and glucose-insulin metabolism disorders in children may be more difficult than in adults. Thus, we evaluate the effects of metformin in comparison with metformin plus a polysaccharide complex (Policaptil Gel Retard®, PGR) on body weight and metabolic parameters in obese children and adolescents with metabolic syndrome (MetS). Patients and methods: We retrospectively collected 129 children and adolescents (67 girls, 62 boys; median age 12.6 years) treated for a minimum of two years with metformin and low glycemic index (LGI) diet. Of these, 71 patients were treated with metformin plus PGR after at least 12 months of metformin alone. To minimize the confounding effect of the LGI on auxological and metabolic parameters, the patients were compared with age-, sex-, and BMI-matched control group with obesity and MetS (51 subjects; 24 males, 27 females) treated only with a LGI diet. Assessments included lipids, glucose and insulin (fasting and after oral glucose tolerance test) concentrations. The Homeostatic Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR), Matsuda, insulinogenic and disposition indices were calculated. Results: Metformin treatment led to a significant reduction in BMI SDS (p < 0.0001), with a significant difference in ΔBMI SDS between patients and controls (p < 0.0001). Moreover, metformin treated patients showed a reduction in HOMA-IR (p < 0.0001), HbA1c levels (p < 0.0001) and a significant increase in Matsuda index (p < 0.0001) in respect to the reduction discovered in controls (p < 0.05). Moreover, in contrast to the group treated with metformin alone and controls, patients treated with metformin plus PGR showed a further reduction in BMI SDS (p < 0.0001), HOMA-IR (p < 0.0001), HbA1c (p < 0.0001), total, HDL and LDL cholesterol (p < 0.0001), as well as an increase in Matsuda (p < 0.0001), disposition (p < 0.005) and insulinogenic (respectively, p < 0.05 and p < 0.0001) indices. Conclusions: Metformin appears to show short-term efficacy in reducing BMI, adiposity and glucose and insulin parameters in obese children and adolescents with MetS. However, PGR added to metformin may be useful to potentiate weight loss and to improve glucose-insulin metabolism and adiposity parameters in these patients.

Keywords: Policaptil Gel Retard®; adolescents; children; cholesterol; haemoglobin A1c; hyperinsulinism; insulin; insulin resistance; metabolic syndrome; metformin; obesity; treatment; triglycerides; type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperinsulinism / drug therapy*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome*
  • Metformin / administration & dosage
  • Metformin / therapeutic use*
  • Obesity*
  • Polysaccharides / administration & dosage
  • Polysaccharides / therapeutic use*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Polysaccharides
  • Metformin