Longevity and Three “Super Drugs”

Wouldn’t it be great if we could just pop a little pill every day and live a longer life because of it?! Sure, diet and exercise have a big impact on our overall health. So do illness and disease, some of which we can help regulate with medications. Aging is the number-one factor in developing chronic conditions, but scientists are searching harder than ever for the key to longevity. And, along the way, they’ve discovered that some drugs which are used to treat specific conditions may also help us celebrate more birthdays. While a lot more scientific research is needed before these medications can be prescribed solely for the intent of extending our lifespans, it’s interesting to think what the possibilities could be in the future.


Metformin is a medication that is used to treat Type 2 diabetes, particularly in people who are overweight. It is also used for those who have polycystic ovary syndrome. While researching this drug, they discovered that the medication also positively affected other bodily systems… in mice and worms. However, it raised the question as to whether it could have similar effects on humans.

In an article on everydayhealth.com, they discussed a meta-analysis (in Aging Cell in 2022) which found that while Metformin wasn’t significantly associated with extending lifespans for mice or worms, the mice did show improvements in insulin resistance and lower levels of oxidative stress, both of which play a key role in many chronic diseases. Lower levels of oxidative stress allow cells to more effectively repair any damage that they have endured, and this could mean more and healthier years of life.

Even earlier than that – in 2017 – research in 53 different human studies showed that Metformin impacted mortality because it reduced all-cause mortality and diseases of aging, independent of its effect on diabetes. It lowers the risk not only of cancer, but also cardiovascular disease, stroke and death.

While scientists might agree that Metformin could be a very effective way to prolong someone’s life, it will take a lot more research before this medication can be prescribed solely to help a person live longer. Additionally, it is still unclear as to whether it’s safe to take Metformin if you don’t have diabetes. Only time will tell whether this becomes a mortality med.


Rapamycin was initially developed to be an immunosuppressant for organ transplant patients. It is also used to coat coronary stents, as well as to treat both a rare lung disease called lymphangioleiomyomatosis and perivascular epithelioid cell tumours. This med has a very specific purpose; however, scientists are now questioning whether it could also be used to help extend one’s life. According to the American medical journal The Lancet, Rapamycin and its derivatives (rapalogs) are inhibitors of mTOR, a major regulator of the aging process. They studied the effect of the medication on those who were healthy or had age-related diseases, and it improved physiological parameters associated with aging in the immune, cardiovascular and integumentary systems.

The National Library of Medicine published an article by Mikhail V. Blagosklonny which stated that Rapamycin (Sirolimus) is the only drug that consistently extends lifespan in countless animal studies in all species tested. However, it was pointed out that there are other factors to consider. For example, what are the side-effects for healthy adults taking Rapamycin daily? In animal studies in which mortality was extended, it was important that they start taking the medication when very young – how does this timeline translate to humans? And what kind of dosage is recommended? Blagosklonny believes that optimal treatment involves giving low doses of the drug every day, not intermittently, which may rejuvenate stem and wound healing cells.


Rilmenidine is a more commonly known prescription medication used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure), and it’s marketed under brand names such as Albarel, Hyperium, Iterium and Tenaxum. Last year, it was reported by Medical News Today that researchers from the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom, in collaboration with the Institute of Translational Medicine in Switzerland and Harvard Medical School in the United States, found that a hypertension drug called Rilmenidine could be repurposed to help extend a person’s lifespan. Scientists demonstrated these benefits using a roundworm and searched for known compounds that mimic a caloric-restriction diet, which is known to be linked to longevity. They found that animals treated with Rilmenidine lived significantly longer lives (about 20%) and experienced lifespan and health-span benefits, regardless of their age.

However, like the other medications mentioned here, further research and studies need to be done before Rilmenidine can be safely prescribed exclusively to extend one’s life cycle.

In the end, there isn’t just one magic cure-all for aging. But science could be getting close. Researcher Dr. João Pedro Magalhães wrote: “I think first we will see longevity drugs being repurposed for other age-related diseases and, if successful, I envision a future where we have longevity drugs used as anti-aging as a form of preventive intervention or prophylaxis.”

By Jennifer Cox