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Effects of metformin on blood lipid profiles in nondiabetic adults: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

  • Shuwei Weng
  • Yonghong Luo
  • Ziyu Zhang
  • Xin Su
  • Daoquan PengEmail author



To evaluate the effects of metformin on serum lipid profiles in nondiabetic adults through a comprehensive meta-analysis.


In the present meta-analysis, randomized and controlled trials were collected by searching PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Libraries from inception to April 2019. Compared with placebos, the effects of metformin treatment on lipid profiles in nondiabetic adults were evaluated.


Forty-seven studies from 45 articles including 5731 participants were enrolled. Pooled results showed that metformin had significant effects on total cholesterol (mean change −6.57 mg/dl; 95% CI −9.66, −3.47; P = 0.000) and LDL-c (mean change −4.69 mg/dl; 95% CI −7.38, −2.00; P = 0.001), but insignificant effects on HDL-c (mean change −4.33 mg/dl; 95% CI −9.62, 0.96; P = 0.109) and triglyceride (mean change −0.85 mg/dl; 95% CI −0.36, 2.06; P = 0.169). Significant heterogeneities were found for all lipid profiles (HDL-c = 85.5%; LDL-c = 59.9%; total cholesterol = 75.3% and triglyceride = 67.1%). Different from the pooled data, in a subgroup analysis, the effect of metformin on triglyceride in patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) was significant with a mean reduction of 8.15 mg/dl. In addition, sensitivity analysis showed that the pooled effects of metformin on serum lipid profiles were stable. Publication bias derived from funnel plots or Begg’s tests (P = 0.933, 0.860, 0.904, and 0.567 for HDL-c, LDL-c, total cholesterol, and triglyceride, respectively) was not significant.


This meta-analysis revealed that metformin could reduce total cholesterol and LDL-c in nondiabetic adults. In addition, metformin might exert a triglyceride-lowering effect in nondiabetics with PCOS status.


Metformin Meta-analysis Nondiabetic Serum lipid 



This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China [nos. 81870336 and 81670426 to D.P.].

Authors contributions

S.W. conceived the study and participated in its design. S.W. and Y.L. conducted the systematic literature review. S.W. and X.S. performed data analyses. S.W. and Z.Z. drafted the manuscript. If there would be an inconformity, corresponding author would make a final decision. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors have no relevant affiliations or financial involvement with any organization or entity with a financial interest in or financial conflict with the subject matter or materials discussed in the manuscript, including employment, consultancies, honoraria, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, grants or patents received or pending, or royalties. Peer reviewers on this manuscript have no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors. We admit that this meta-analysis is complied with ethical standards. Since this is a meta-analysis based on the published articles, therefore the ethical approval is not applicable.

Supplementary material

12020_2020_2190_MOESM1_ESM.docx (54.3 mb)
Supplementary Information


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, The Second Xiangya HospitalCentral South UniversityChangshaChina

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