Metformin adherence and the risk of cardiovascular disease: a population-based cohort study

Shun Fan Yu, Chien Tai Hong, Wan Ting Chen, Lung Chan*, Li Nien Chien*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Metformin is a potent antiglycemic agent, but its importance has receded owing to the launch of novel antidiabetic medications. The benefit of metformin includes not only blood sugar control but also anti-inflammation, autophagy activation, and neuroprotection. This study investigated the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in people with type II diabetes mellitus (T2DM) who adhered to metformin after adding on a second-line antiglycemic agent. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate the benefits of metformin in CVD prevention in patients with T2DM. Design: We designed the study by comparing the incident rate of CVD events in patients with T2DM who received metformin continually and who ceased metformin during 2002–2014. Methods: Medical information was obtained from the National Health Insurance Research Database, and patients with T2DM receiving second-line antiglycemic agents were categorized into metformin-adherent and nonadherent groups according to prescription claims. The study outcomes were the incidence of CVD hospitalization, including stroke (ischemic and hemorrhagic) and myocardial infarction (MI). Results: A total of 31,384 patients with T2DM constituted the metformin-adherent group and were 1:1 matched to nonadherent patients. Metformin adherence was associated with a lower risk of hospitalization due to stroke [adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) = 0.51, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.43–0.59, p < 0.001] and MI (aHR = 0.47, 95% CI: 0.43–0.53, p < 0.001). The risk reduction persisted in both ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes. Our subgroup analysis revealed that the protective effect on stroke and MI hospitalization persisted in metformin-adherent patients, both sexes, patients aged ⩽65 or >65 years, and patients with or without concurrent insulin treatment. Conclusions: This study revealed that metformin adherence in patients with T2DM who required a first-line treatment may reduce the risk of subsequent CVD. Despite the availability of numerous novel antiglycemic agents, metformin adherence by patients who require a combination of antiglycemic agents provides an additional benefit of CVD protection.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • cardiovascular disease
  • diabetes
  • metformin
  • myocardial infarction
  • stroke


Dive into the research topics of 'Metformin adherence and the risk of cardiovascular disease: a population-based cohort study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this