Comparative effects of phenformin, metformin and glibenclamide on metabolic rhythms in maturity-onset diabetics

Diabetologia. 1977 Apr;13(2):145-52. doi: 10.1007/BF00745143.


Twelve hour metabolic rhythms have been performed on six maturity-onset diabetic subjects during successive periods of therapy with phenformin, metformin, and glibenclamide. Moderate control of blood glucose concentration was achieved with phenformin and metformin, the lowest concentrations being found with glibenclamide. Mean blood lactate concentration was grossly elevated during phenformin therapy, moderately elevated with metformin and normal during glibenclamide treatment. Similar patterns were found for the lactate/pyruvate ratio, alanine, glycerol and ketone bodies. Serum triglyceride concentrations were significantly higher during phenformin treatment than with the other two regimes. Serum insulin concentration was higher on glibenclamide than with either biguanide. Most of these effects of the biguanides could be accounted for by an inhibitory effect on hepatic gluconeogenesis. It is concluded that the use of biguanides as hypoglycaemic agents in diabetes is associated with the production of multiple metabolic abnormalities.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alanine / blood
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Circadian Rhythm / drug effects*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Gluconeogenesis / drug effects
  • Glyburide / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Ketone Bodies / blood
  • Lactates / blood
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Metformin / pharmacology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenformin / pharmacology*
  • Pyruvates / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Ketone Bodies
  • Lactates
  • Lipids
  • Pyruvates
  • Metformin
  • Phenformin
  • Alanine
  • Glyburide