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Metformin is an oral drug used primarily to treat type II diabetes. It can be used in combination with other drugs, and cannot treat type 1 diabetes. The derivative of Metformin is a plant called Galega officinalis, which is a French lilac. In medieval Europe, this plant was thought to have had herbal benefits, containing guanidine which showed hypoglycaemic properties. Unfortunately, it was too toxic to use as a treatment[1].

Metformin works primarily by reducing hepatic gluconeogensis, ultimately lowering blood/sugar levels and preventing hyperglycemia[2].

Metformin has also shown to inhibit the growth of pancreatic cancer by disrupting crosstalk between G protein-coupled receptors and insulin receptor signalling systems in the pancreas[3].

You should not take metformin if you have any history of liver or heart disease.


  1. Biochemical Journal Oct 16, 2015, 471 (3) 307-322
  2. Kirpichnikov D, McFarlane SI, Sowers JR. Metformin: an update. Ann Intern Med. 2002;137(1):25–33. PMID 12093242
  3. Krisztina Kisfalvi, Guido Eibl, James Sinnett-Smith, and Enrique Rozengurt. Cancer Res August 15, 2009 69; 6539

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