(HealthDay News) — In US adolescents, off-label use of metformin is common, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics.
Tongtong Wang, PhD, and colleagues from Merck & Co. in Kenilworth, New Jersey, examined metformin prescription patterns among US adolescents from 2009 to 2013. They analyzed data from the National Disease and Therapeutic Index (NDTI) database, the MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database, and the Multi-State Medicaid database.
The researchers found that the most common diagnoses associated with metformin use in the NDTI database were diabetes, metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and obesity (34.9%, 20.9%, 17.2%, and 6.5%, respectively).
Type 2 diabetes was the most common diagnosis associated with metformin use among girls aged 10 to 14 years (22.8% to 23.6%), boys aged 10 to 14 years (20.5% to 24.5%), and boys aged 15 to 19 years (37.1% to 43.1%), while for girls aged 15 to 19 years, PCOS was the most common diagnosis (24.1% to 28.3%) in the MarketScan Commercial database.
Among all 4 groups, type 2 diabetes was the most common diagnosis associated with metformin use in the Medicaid database, with higher proportions seen than in their counterparts in the Commercial database.
“To avoid potential overestimation, caution should be exercised when utilizing metformin prescription as a proxy measure to estimate the burden of type 2 diabetes in adolescents,” the researchers wrote.
The authors were all employed by Merck & Co., a manufacturer of metformin.