Association between metformin use and cognitive and physical function in persons with HIV and diabetes.


Older persons with HIV (PWH) experience high rates of cognitive impairment and frailty, and accelerated decline in physical function compared to the general population. Metformin use has been associated with beneficial effects on cognitive and physical function among older adults without HIV. The relationship between metformin use on these outcomes in PWH has not been evaluated. AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) A5322 is an observational cohort study of older PWH with annual assessments for cognition and frailty, including measures of physical function (e.g., gait speed and grip strength). Participants with diabetes who were prescribed anti-hyperglycemic medications were included in this analysis to evaluate the association between metformin and functional outcomes. Cross-sectional, longitudinal, and time-to-event models were used to evaluate the relationship between metformin exposure with cognitive, physical function, and frailty outcomes. Ninety-eight PWH met inclusion criteria and were included in at least one model. No significant associations between metformin use, frailty, physical or cognitive function were noted in unadjusted or adjusted cross-sectional, longitudinal, or time-to-event models (p>0.1 for all models). This study is the first to examine the association between metformin use on functional outcomes among older PWH. While it did not ascertain significant associations between metformin use and functional outcomes, our small sample size, restriction to persons with diabetes, and lack of randomization to metformin therapy were limitations. Larger, randomized studies are needed to determine whether metformin use has beneficial effects on cognitive or physical function in PWH.