Popular diabetes medication not linked to an increased risk of risk of Alzheimer’s disease

Research from the Monash University’s Centre for Medicine Use and Safety (CMUS) at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences has found that people with Type 2 diabetes who took metformin for more than 10 years or were treated with higher doses had a lower risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

The findings are important because Type 2 diabetes has been linked with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Type 2 diabetes affects one in 20 Australian adults. Previous studies investigating the link between metformin and Alzheimer’s disease have reported conflicting results.


Dr Janet Sluggett and Professor Simon Bell from CMUS collaborated with researchers at the University of Eastern Finland to conduct the study. The team analysed data for 9862 people with diabetes subsequently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease between 2005 and 2011.

Dr Sluggett, NHMRC Early Career Fellow at CMUS, said “Improving our understanding of the safety of metformin use is important because this is the most commonly prescribed medication to help manage blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.”

“The results provide reassurance that that taking metformin does not increase a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. This is an important finding because metformin is one of the most widely prescribed diabetes medications.”

Dr Marjaana Koponen from the University of Eastern Finland, who co-led the study, said “the findings were based on being able to analyse up to 16 years of detailed medication dispensing data for each person”.

The study was supported with funding from the NHMRC Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre and NHMRC Boosting Dementia Fellowship Schemes.

This study was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism https://doi.org/10.1210/clinem/dgz234

Contact: Divya Krishnan


Email: divya.krishnan@monash.edu