A Review of the Impact of Pharmacogenetics and Metabolomics on the Efficacy of Metformin in Type 2 Diabetes

Int J Med Sci. 2023 Jan 1;20(1):142-150. doi: 10.7150/ijms.77206. eCollection 2023.


Metformin is the most often prescribed drug for people with type 2 diabetes (T2D). More than 120 million patients with T2D use metformin worldwide. However, monotherapy fails to achieve glycemic control in a third of the treated patients. Genetics contribute to some of the inter-individual variations in glycemic response to metformin. Numerous pharmacogenetic studies have demonstrated that variations in genes related to pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of metformin's encoding transporters are mainly associated with metformin response. The goal of this review is to evaluate the current state of metformin pharmacogenetics and metabolomics research, discuss the clinical and scientific issues that need to be resolved in order to increase our knowledge of patient response variability to metformin, and how to improve patient outcomes. Metformin's hydrophilic nature and absorption as well as its action mechanism and effectiveness on T2D initiation are discussed. The impacts of variations associated with various genes are analysed to identify and evaluate the effect of genetic polymorphisms on the therapeutic activity of metformin. The metabolic pattern of T2D and metformin is also indicated. This is to emphasise that studies of pharmacogenetics and metabolomics could expand our knowledge of metformin response in T2D.

Keywords: Metabolomics; Metformin; Metformin Transporters.; Pharmacogenetics; Type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Metabolomics
  • Metformin* / therapeutic use
  • Pharmacogenetics


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Metformin