Dr David Lloyd discusses using diabetes drug for anti-aging

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Veteran GP Dr David Lloyd said experts are “very interested” in metformin. Often sold under the brand name Glucophage, among others, the drug is the first-line medication for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Metformin lowers your blood sugar levels by improving the way your body handles insulin.

It’s usually prescribed for diabetes when diet and exercise alone have not been enough to control your blood sugar levels.

But a study is now looking at whether its use could be much broader.

Dr Lloyd told Sky news: “There is a research study that is looking at using metformin to counteract ageing.

“We know that it’s a wonder-drug for diabetes – every diabetic should be on it.

“We know that there is some research that shows metformin can prevent diabetes as well.

“We are very interested in it, it’s been around for a long time.”

It comes after medical records from 180,000 NHS patients were analysed to see how metformin stacked up against other diabetes drugs, and a “control” group of people without diabetes, and therefore not taking medicine for it.

The breakthrough finding was that diabetics taking metformin actually outlived the non-diabetic controls who weren’t on the drug.

Dr Lloyd added: “If you look at the way metformin works, you could say there might be some anti-ageing potential.

“I’m impressed with it, you might find that there is some good evidence that will come out of it.

“We should see some research emerge in the next two to three years which tells us the answer.

“I wouldn’t want everyone to start taking metformin, there are downsides. Please don’t go and buy it.”

Other studies have shown metformin may decrease the risk of cancer, heart disease and dementia, too. So should we all be taking it?

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Though the evidence is compelling, experts want to wait and see the results from a new trial before jumping the gun and recommending it.

The TAME trial ‑ short for Targeting Ageing with Metformin ‑ will give 1,500 60-80-year-old volunteers the drug while another 1,500 receive placebo tablets.

Then the patients will be watched for several years.

If those taking the real pills get less life-threatening diseases, then its use for anti-ageing may be justified.

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