16 May, 2010

History of the wonder drug - Metformin !!

Metformin belongs to Biguanide class of anti-diabetic drugs, which also includes the withdrawn agents Phenformin and Buformin, originates from the French lilac (Galega officinalis), a plant used in folk medicine for several centuries.

Metformin was first described in the scientific literature in 1922, by Emil Werner and James Bell

In 1929, Slotta and Tschesche discovered its sugar-lowering action in rabbits, noting that it was the most potent of the biguanide analogs they studied.

In 1950, metformin Eusebio Y. Garcia, used metformin (he named it Fluamine) to treat influenza; he noted that the drug "lowered the blood sugar to minimum physiological limit" in treated patients and was non-toxic. Garcia also believed metformin to have bacteriostatic, antiviral, antimalarial, antipyretic and analgesic actions but none of these effects were confirmed.

French diabetologist Jean Sterne studied the antihyperglycemic properties of galegine, an alkaloid isolated from Galega officinalis, which is structurally related to metformin

Later, working at Laboratories Aron in Paris, he was prompted by Garcia's report to re-investigate the blood sugar lowering activity of metformin and several biguanide analogs. Sterne was the first to try metformin on humans for the treatment of diabetes; he coined the name "Glucophage" (glucose eater)

Metformin became available in the British National Formulary in 1958. It was sold in the UK by a small Aron subsidiary called Rona.

Broad interest in metformin came after the withdrawal of the other biguanides in the 1970s. Metformin was approved in Canada in 1972, but did not receive approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Type 2 diabetes until 1994. Produced under license by Bristol-Myers Squibb, Glucophage was the first branded formulation of metformin to be marketed in the United States, beginning on March 3, 1995. Generic formulations are now available in several countries, and metformin is believed to have become the most widely prescribed anti-diabetic drug in the world


  1. Truly Metformin is a wonderful drug!

  2. Helped me control my bg levels, plus i have lost 3 stone over 7 months using met.

  3. yup i totally agree... in the absence of any compelling contraindications to use of metformin every single diabetic patient irrespective of his/her age should be given the benefit of metformin.

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