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Impact of the timing of metformin administration on glycaemic and glucagon-like peptide-1 responses to intraduodenal glucose infusion in type 2 diabetes: a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, crossover study.

Diabetologia 2024 April 2
AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Metformin lowers postprandial glycaemic excursions in individuals with type 2 diabetes by modulating gastrointestinal function, including the stimulation of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). The impact of varying the timing of metformin administration on postprandial glucose metabolism is poorly defined. We evaluated the effects of metformin, administered at different intervals before an intraduodenal glucose infusion, on the subsequent glycaemic, insulinaemic and GLP-1 responses in metformin-treated type 2 diabetes.

METHODS: Sixteen participants with type 2 diabetes that was relatively well-controlled by metformin monotherapy were studied on four separate days in a crossover design. On each day, participants were randomised to receive a bolus infusion of metformin (1000 mg in 50 ml 0.9% saline) via a nasoduodenal catheter at t = -60, -30 or 0 min (and saline at the other timepoints) or saline at all timepoints (control), followed by an intraduodenal glucose infusion of 12.56 kJ/min (3 kcal/min) at t = 0-60 min. The treatments were blinded to both participants and investigators involved in the study procedures. Plasma glucose, insulin and total GLP-1 levels were measured every 30 min between t = -60 min and t = 120 min.

RESULTS: There was a treatment-by-time interaction for metformin in reducing plasma glucose levels and increasing plasma GLP-1 and insulin levels (p<0.05 for each). The reduction in plasma glucose levels was greater when metformin was administered at t = -60 or -30 min vs t = 0 min (p<0.05 for each), and the increases in plasma GLP-1 levels were evident only when metformin was administered at t = -60 or -30 min (p<0.05 for each). Although metformin did not influence insulin sensitivity, it enhanced glucose-induced insulin secretion (p<0.05), and the increases in plasma insulin levels were comparable on the 3 days when metformin was given.

CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: In well-controlled metformin-treated type 2 diabetes, glucose-lowering by metformin is greater when it is given before, rather than with, enteral glucose, and this is associated with a greater GLP-1 response. These observations suggest that administration of metformin before meals may optimise its effect in improving postprandial glycaemic control.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ACTRN12621000878875 FUNDING: The study was not funded by a specific research grant.

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