A randomized controlled trial on the efficacy, safety, and pharmacokinetics of metformin in severe traumatic brain injury.


Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, 14155-6451, Tehran, Iran. [Email]


OBJECTIVE : Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Metformin is reported to have pleiotropic neuroprotective effects through anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and anti-ischemic activity, and improvements in vascular hemodynamics and endothelial function. The aim of this study is to examine the efficacy and safety of metformin therapy in severe TBI patients.
METHODS : This single-blind, parallel-group, randomized controlled trial enrolled adult TBI patients. Of 158 trauma patients assessed, 30 met the eligibility criteria and were randomly allocated in a one-to-one ratio to receive 1 g metformin every 12 h for five consecutive days (intervention group) or to usual management only (control group). For efficacy analysis, temporal profiles of serum levels of S100b, neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR), and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) were assessed. For pharmacokinetic analysis, serum concentrations of metformin were evaluated in the intervention group.
RESULTS : The two study groups were similar in terms of demographics, baseline clinical characteristics, and on-admission biomarkers' serum levels. Longitudinal analysis of S100b and NLR levels showed statistically significant declines in values toward normal levels in the intervention group (p values of < 0.001 and 0.030, respectively), different from the profiles of the control group (p values of 0.074 and 0.645, respectively). Pharmacokinetic analysis demonstrated that metformin absorption is delayed in TBI patients. No events of hypoglycemia and lactic acidosis occurred.
CONCLUSIONS : Metformin could potentially be an effective and safe therapeutic intervention in patients with severe TBI. Large-scale, multicentre studies are needed to confirm our encouraging results.


Biomarker,Head trauma,Metformin,Pharmacokinetics,S100b,Traumatic brain injury,