Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Blacks May Respond Better Than Whites to Metformin

In study, medicine seemed to do more to help black patients manage their blood sugar

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, June 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Blacks with type 2 diabetes may fare better on the widely used drug metformin compared with whites, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 19,600 Americans who were prescribed metformin between 1997 and 2013. The team found that blacks had greater improvements in their blood sugar control than whites.

Study participants underwent at least two A1C blood tests at least four months apart while they took metformin. An A1C test measures a person's average blood sugar level over the previous three months.

The maximum dose of metformin was associated with a 0.9 percent decrease in A1C results among blacks, compared with a 0.42 percent decrease among whites -- a significant improvement.

The study is published online June 12 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

"Metformin is normally the first treatment physicians prescribe for type 2 diabetes, but the standard of care is based on clinical trials where the vast majority of participants were white," Dr. L. Keoki Williams, of Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, said in a journal news release.

"We wanted to examine how the drug performed in an African American population. Our findings suggest that African Americans who have [type 2] diabetes actually respond better to metformin than whites."

The target A1C level for diabetes patients is less than 7 percent, but the average A1C level among the patients in the study was about 7.5 percent. This makes the differences in responses of black and white patients to metformin "clinically important," Williams explained.

"Moreover, since African Americans are more likely to suffer from diabetic complications when compared with white individuals, it is heartening to observe that metformin is likely more effective at controlling blood glucose [sugar] in the former group," the researcher added.

About 26 million Americans have diabetes, with the vast majority of cases being type 2. Blacks are twice as likely as whites to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and have a higher rate of diabetes-related complications such as kidney failure, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health.

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner