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The function, mechanisms, and clinical applications of metformin: potential drug, unlimited potentials

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Metformin has been used clinically for more than 60 years. As time goes by, more and more miraculous effects of metformin beyond the clinic have been discovered and discussed. In addition to the clinically approved hypoglycemic effect, it also has a positive metabolic regulation effect on the human body that cannot be ignored. Such as anti-cancer, anti-aging, brain repair, cardiovascular protection, gastrointestinal regulation, hair growth and inhibition of thyroid nodules, and other nonclinical effects. Metformin affects almost the entire body in the situation taking it over a long period, and the preventive effects of metformin in addition to treating diabetes are also beginning to be recommended in some guidelines. This review is mainly composed of four parts: the development history of metformin, the progress of clinical efficacy, the nonclinical efficacy of metformin, and the consideration and prospect of its application.

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This work was supported partly by The National Natural Science Foundation of China (81972366); The Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong (2022A1515012606); The Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Commission projects (JCYJ20220818101808018, KCXFZ202110203002406).

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Correspondence to Xiao Zhu.

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Liu, J., Zhang, M., Deng, D. et al. The function, mechanisms, and clinical applications of metformin: potential drug, unlimited potentials. Arch. Pharm. Res. 46, 389–407 (2023).

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