Treatment of hypertriglyceridemia with metformin. Effectiveness and analysis of results

Cesare R. Sirtori, Elena Tremoli, Marina Sirtori, Franco Conti, Rodolfo Paoletti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The triglyceride-lowering effect of metformin (N,N-dimethylbiguanide) was tested in a series of patients with stable hypertriglyceridemia (types IIB, III and IV) and with variable degrees of glucose intolerance. Metformin caused a 38% mean decrease of plasma triglycerides. A selective decrease of very low density lipoprotein cholesterol was observed without reciprocal increase of low density lipoproteins. Thirty patients completed the study. Eighteen, who showed a hypotriglyceridemic effect exceeding 30%, were considered as "Responders"; the other 12, where the effect was negligible, were considered as "Non-Responders". Analysis of the pre- and post-treatment glucose tolerance tests of Responders and Non-Responders showed that the former had, on the average, a normal glucose tolerance and insulin secretion, whereas the latter had an impaired glucose tolerance with increased insulin secretion. These parameters were only slightly modified by metformin. The conclusions of this study support the hypothesis that biguanides exert a triglyceride-lowering effect by decreasing lipoprotein secretion, independent of changes in glucose tolerance and/or insulin secretion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-592
Number of pages10
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1977


  • Glucose tolerance
  • Hypertriglyceridemia
  • Insulin secretion
  • Metformin
  • Very low density lipoproteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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