16 Jan COVID-19 and Diabetes: Metformin Linked to Reduced Risk of Death
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Anath Shalev, M.D.
Professor of Medicine
Nancy R. and Eugene C. Gwaltney Family
Endowed Chair in Juvenile Diabetes Research
Director, Comprehensive Diabetes Center
University of Alabama at Birmingham
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What is metformin normally prescribed for?
Response: Diabetes has been recognized as one of the major comorbidities associated with higher mortality in the context of the spreading COVID-19 pandemic, but ways to improve outcome in this at-risk population are lacking.
Metformin is the most common medication used for type 2 diabetes. In addition, it is sometimes prescribed to people with prediabetes or to women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Our study demonstrates that diabetes remains an independent risk factor for adverse COVID-19 outcome in a racially diverse population with high proportion of Blacks/African-Americans. Moreover, it revealed that metformin treatment of the diabetes prior to diagnosis with COVID-19 was associated with dramatically, 3-fold reduced mortality in subjects with type 2 diabetes even after correcting for multiple covariates, such as age, sex, race, obesity, and hypertension or chronic kidney disease and heart failure.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Now more than ever, it is important to follow general diabetes treatment guidelines and not to delay or discontinue any metformin treatment of individuals with type 2 diabetes. Especially during this pandemic that puts subjects with diabetes at particularly high risk, this treatment might not only help with diabetes management, but also reduce the risk of adverse outcome in case of a COVID-19 infection.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Future research should include prospective, randomized controlled trials to prove the beneficial effects of metformin and to assess the risk-benefit ratio of continuing treatment in some hospitalized patients with COVID-19 as well as of potentially widen the treatment indications for metformin in the context of COVID-19. In addition, it should try to investigate the mechanisms by which metformin confers its protective effects.
None of the authors have any conflict of interest or any disclosures.
Andrew B. Crouse, Tiffany Grimes, Peng Li, Matthew Might, Fernando Ovalle, Anath Shalev. Metformin Use Is Associated With Reduced Mortality in a Diverse Population With COVID-19 and Diabetes. Frontiers in Endocrinology, 2021; 11 DOI: 10.3389/fendo.2020.600439
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