Long COVID News: University Of Minnesota Study Shows That Early Use Of Metformin During SARS-CoV-2 Infection Can Prevent Long COVID
Long COVID News
: In a recent study, researchers from the University of Minnesota-USA investigated the potential benefits of early outpatient treatment of COVID-19 patients with metformin, ivermectin, or fluvoxamine in preventing the development of Long COVID
, also known as post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC).
Their study findings showed that early use of metformin during initial SAR-CoV-2 infection stages shows promise in preventing Long COVID development in individuals.
The study findins showed a 42% relative decrease and 4.3% absolute decrease in the Long COVID incidence occurred in participants who received early outpatient COVID-19 treatment with metformin compared to exact-matching placebo.
Long COVID encompasses a range of symptoms that persist for months after individuals recover from the initial SARS-CoV-2 infection. These symptoms include fatigue, dyspnea, cognitive impairments, and cardiovascular complications, among others.
Estimates from the U.S .Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that at least 15% of adults in the U.S. develop Long COVID-like symptoms after recovering from the SARS-CoV-2 infection. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the factors determining the incidence of Long COVID and find therapies that can potentially prevent the development of Long COVID.
The study was conducted as a large-scale, quadruple-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled, phase three clinical trial that assessed the efficacy of early outpatient treatment of COVID-19 patients with fluvoxamine, ivermectin, or metformin.
The study participants were overweight or obese adults between the ages of 30 and 85 who had laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection within the previous week and had no other history of COVID-19. Regular medication with any one of the three medications being studied or an emergency use authorized treatment with any one of the three medications resulted in the exclusion of the participant, but COVID-19 vaccination was not an exclusion criterion. While pregnant or lactating women were included in the study, the treatment consisted only of metformin or a placebo. Neither of the other two medications was used since there was insufficient information on the safety of fluvoxamine and ivermectin use in pregnant or lactating women.
Varying doses and regimens of the three medications were tested against a placebo through a randomized study design. The participants were actively followed-up for four weeks, post which surveys were used to follow up every month for 300 days. The measured outcomes included a Long COVID diagnosis from a medical practitioner that the participant reported. A time-to-event approach was used to analyze these diagnoses.
The study findings indicated that early outpatient treatment of COVID-19 patients with metformin resulted in a relative decrease of 42% and an absolute decrease of 4.3% in the incidence of Long COVID, compared to a placebo, and reduced the Long COVID hazard ratio to 0.58.
Treatment with ivermectin and fluvoxamine did not show similar results.
Interestingly, among the group treated with metformin, the incidence rate of Long COVID was 6.3% as compared to the placebo g
roup, which reported a 10.6% Long COVID incidence rate.
Furthermore, metformin treatment was also seen to reduce the incidence of severe COVID-19-related hospitalization, emergency department visits, and mortality by 40%.
The cumulative Long COVID incidence among the group treated with ivermectin was 8%, as compared to those treated with the placebo, who had a Long COVID incidence rate of 7.5%, indicating that ivermectin did not have any Long COVID preventative benefits.
Similarly, the fluvoxamine treatment group had a Long COVID incidence rate of 10.1%, as compared to the placebo group, which had an incidence rate of 7.5%.
The study also reported that female participants had a higher incidence (11.1%) of long COVID diagnoses than male participants (4.9%).
The study findings have important implications for the management of COVID-19 patients, particularly those who are at high risk of developing Long COVID.
Metformin, an oral medication used to treat type 2 diabetes, is a relatively safe and widely available drug that has been shown to have potential therapeutic benefits for COVID-19 patients. The results of this study suggest that early treatment of COVID-19 patients with metformin could be an effective strategy for reducing the risk of long COVID, as well as the risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.
It is important to note that this study has several limitations. First, the study was conducted in a specific population of overweight or obese adults, so the results may not be generalizable to other populations. Second, the study was conducted during a specific time period when there were specific COVID-19 variants circulating, so the results may not be applicable to other variants. Third, the study was conducted in an outpatient setting, so the results may not be applicable to hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Finally, the study was conducted as a preprint and has not yet been peer-reviewed, so the results should be interpreted with caution.
In conclusion, the findings of this study suggest that early outpatient treatment of COVID-19 patients with metformin could reduce the risk of developing long COVID, as well as the risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings and to determine the optimal dose and duration of metformin treatment for COVID-19 patients.
Nonetheless, the study provides important insights into the potential therapeutic benefits of metformin for COVID-19 patients and highlights the need for effective COVID-19 therapies to prevent the development of Long COVID.
The study findings were published on a preprint server and are currently being peer reviewed.
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