New research links metformin to decreased mortality risk in female patients hospitalised with COVID-19

pharmafile | December 4, 2020 | News story | Medical Communications, Research and Development COVID-19, Vaccine, metformin 

Researchers from the University of Minnesota Medical School (UMMS) and UnitedHealth Group have uncovered potential benefit of metformin, a generic drug used to regulate blood glucose levels, in reducing mortality risk in patients hospitalised with COVID-19.

In a retrospective analysis of around 6.000 participants with type 2 diabetes or obesity who had been hospitalised with COVID-19, female patients who had fulfilled a 90-day prescription for metformin were associated with a 21-24% reduction in the risk of death compared to those who were not receiving the drug. There was no such impact seen in male patients in the analysis group.

“Observational studies like this cannot be conclusive, but contribute to growing bodies of evidence. Seeing a bigger association with protection in women over men may point towards inflammation reduction as a key way that metformin reduces risk from COVID-19,” commented principal investigator Dr Carolyn Bramante, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at UMMS. “However, more research is needed. A large database covering different geographic areas is rarely available. We were fortunate to have the opportunity to do this research alongside UnitedHealth Group.”

While there is more work to be done, Dr Bramante has partnered with Dr Christopher Tignanelli, Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at UMMS, to prepare and submit a now-approved investigational new drug application with the FDA for the use of metformin in treating COVID-19 patients.

On the back of funding from the Parsemus Foundation, a multi-site pilot study is set to begin enrolment on 8 December to further test these findings, with larger trials to follow if additional funding can be secured.

Matt Fellows

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