Metformin: University Of Minnesota Researchers Discover That Metformin May Lower Risk Of COVID-19 Deaths In Obese And/Or Diabetic Women
: Medical researchers from the University Of Minnesota have found in an observational study that the diabetes drug Metformin may lower risk of COVID-19 death in women especially those already with type 2 diabetes and/or those who are obese.
It is already a known fact that type2 diabetes (T2DM) and obesity are significant risks for mortality in Covid19. Metformin has been hypothesized as a treatment for COVID19.
Interestingly, metformin has sex specific immunomodulatory effects which may elucidate treatment mechanisms in COVID-19
It was found that women taking the widely used oral diabetes medication metformin may be at lower risk for fatal COVID-19.
The study findings which have yet to have been peer-reviewed are published on a preprint server. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.06.19.20135095v1
In the study, among more than 6,200 adults with diabetes or obesity and commercial insurance who were hospitalized with COVID-19, there were fewer deaths among women who had filled their 90-day metformin prescriptions than among those not taking the medicine.
It was found that after adjusting for other risk factors, they were roughly 21% to 24% less likely to die of the disease.
However the link was not seen in men.
Study coauthorDr Carolyn Bramante of the University of Minnesota told Thailand Medical News, "We know that metformin has different effects between men and women. In a diabetes prevention trial, metformin reduced CRP (the inflammation marker C-reactive protein) twice as much in women as men. Metformin also decreases levels of TNF-alpha, an inflammation protein that appears to make COVID-19 worse.”
Past studies have suggested metformin may bring down TNF-alpha levels to a greater extent in women than in men.
Dr Bramante added, "The fact that we saw the benefit in women only, and the fact that metformin lowers TNF-alpha in female mice, might suggest that the TNF-alpha effects of metformin are why it helps in COVID-19."
Significantly, this sex-specific finding is consistent with metformin reducing TNF-alpha in females over males, and suggests that metformin conveys protection in Covid-19 through TNF-alpha effects.
Further studies are needed to understand mechanism and causality.
The researchers added, “Metformin is a safe, cheap and widely available medicine, making it ‘a very realistic treatment’ if proven in larger trials.”
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