Metformin: More Effective in Blacks Than Whites

Diabetes Self-Management has some of the details.

The implication is that the genetically determined physiology of black diabetics is different from whites. There could be other explanations, admittedly.


Here’s why I bring this to your attention. You don’t see me review many scientific articles involving mice, rats, pigs, or rabbits. In fact, I hardly ever read them. I take care of human patients. I suspect there are too many genetic differences between us and them that clinically pertinent studies are rare.

If you read my blogs carefully, you’ll also note I often hesitate to generalize clinical study results from one ethnic group to others. The different black/white responses to metformin validates my approach.

Type 2 diabetes in whites and blacks may not be the same disease, and it could be different in Asians, Australian aborigines, and North American Native Americans. For that matter, Ethiopian black diabetes may not be the South Africa black diabetes.

You may also be starting to understand why there’s so much confusion about which diabetic drugs are the best. We have 12 different classes of drugs now; what’s best for me may not be best for you.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: Type 1 diabetes, on the other hand, is probably more homogenous across ethnic and national boundaries.

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