Cardiologists to investigate metformin in ischaemic heart disease treatment

Credit: Adobe Stock
Credit: Adobe Stock

Cardiologists from the Military Institute of Medicine - National Research Institute will investigate the impact of metformin on ischaemic heart disease. They hope that it may prevent coronary re-intervention.

In a study financed by the Medical Research Agency, cardiologists from the Military Institute of Medicine - National Research Institute assess the impact of metformin used in non-diabetic patients on the risk of coronary re-intervention, i.e. stent implantation after previous successful percutaneous revascularisation due to acute coronary syndrome.

According to the Medical Research Agency press release, metformin is used to treat diabetes. So far, there have been no adequate clinical trials evaluating the effect of metformin on ischaemic heart disease. However, there are indications of benefits of this drug for the cardiovascular system.

Study coordinator Dr. Piotr Kwiatkowski said: “Metformin's mechanism of action, consisting in reducing thrombotic risk, anti-inflammatory activity, modification of known risk factors, and perhaps above all improving the energy economy of cells exposed to ischaemic stress, may reduce the risk in the study group of patients.”

Previous studies have brought promising results. They indicate a significant reduction in heart attacks in the group of patients treated with this drug (up to 33%), but the samples are too small to draw clear conclusions on their basis. 

“We hope that our study will answer the questions and will open up new therapeutic possibilities,” Dr. Kwiatkowski said.

The Medical Research Agency says that half of deaths in Poland are caused by diseases of the cardiovascular system, and the ageing population poses new challenges for doctors. Therefore, researchers are looking for new methods to prevent coronary re-intervention.

Dr. Kwiatkowski said: “Coronary artery disease is one of the most serious health problems in Poland. In this disease, due to the narrowing coronary arteries, the myocardium receives an insufficient amount of oxygenated blood for the current metabolic needs. This causes cardiac disorders and leads to serious complications such as a heart attack.”

According to the release, the treatment of coronary artery disease is a long process that requires lifestyle changes and long-term use of many drugs, including those lowering blood pressure, regulating cholesterol levels, dilating coronary vessels and antiplatelet drugs. In some cases, coronary revascularisation is also necessary, i.e. restoring normal blood flow in a narrowed coronary vessel by inserting a stent or performing a coronary artery bypass surgery.

The study authors are currently recruiting patients who are not diabetic and have not taken hypoglycaemic drugs (medicines that lower blood glucose levels), over 18 years of age, who underwent percutaneous complete and successful revascularisation of at least one coronary vessel due to acute coronary syndrome. Recruitment of about a thousand patients is planned. (PAP)

Author: Szymon Zdziebłowski

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