Clinical outcomes with metformin use in diabetic patients with compensated cirrhosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2024 May 1;36(5):674-682. doi: 10.1097/MEG.0000000000002754. Epub 2024 Mar 11.

Abstract

Background: Previous studies have demonstrated a beneficial effect of metformin in patients with cirrhosis, but no improvement in liver histology.

Aim: To investigate the impact of metformin on mortality and hepatic decompensation in people with diabetes with compensated cirrhosis.

Methods: Medline, Embase and Cochrane databases were searched from inception to February 2023 for studies reporting results regarding the impact of metformin on all-cause mortality and hepatic decompensation in people with diabetes with compensated cirrhosis. The risk of bias was assessed by ROBINS-I Cochrane tool. R software 4.3.1 was used for all analyses.

Results: Six observational studies were included in the final analysis. Metformin use was associated with reduced all-cause mortality or liver transplantation [hazard ratio (HR): 0.55; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.37-0.82], while no benefit was shown in the prevention of hepatic decompensation (HR: 0.97; 95% CI: 0.77-1.22). In the subgroup analysis, metformin use was associated with reduced all-cause mortality or liver transplantation (HR: 0.50; 95% CI 0.38-0.65) in patients with metabolic-associated steatohepatitis cirrhosis, while two studies reported no survival benefit in patients with cirrhosis due to hepatitis C (HR: 0.39; 95% CI 0.12-1.20).

Conclusion: Metformin use is associated with reduced all-cause mortality, but not with the prevention of hepatic decompensation in people with diabetes with compensated cirrhosis. The mortality benefit is most likely driven by better diabetes and cardiovascular health control.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus* / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus* / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis C* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications
  • Liver Cirrhosis / diagnosis
  • Liver Cirrhosis / drug therapy
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Metformin* / therapeutic use

Substances

  • Metformin