WEDNESDAY, Dec. 9, 2020 (HealthDay News) — For women with type 2 diabetes or obesity who are admitted to the hospital with COVID-19, metformin use is associated with significantly reduced mortality, according to a study published online Dec. 3 in The Lancet Healthy Longevity.

Carolyn T. Bramante, M.D., from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort analysis to examine whether metformin use reduced COVID-19-related mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes or obesity who were admitted to the hospital for confirmed COVID-19. Data were included for 6,256 individuals with pharmacy claims data from Jan. 1 to June 7, 2020 (52.8 percent women).

The researchers found that in the overall sample of men and women, metformin use was not associated with significantly reduced mortality by either the Cox proportional hazards stratified model (hazard ratio, 0.887; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.782 to 1.008) or by propensity matching (odds ratio, 0.912; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.777 to 1.071; P = 0.15). In women, metformin use was associated with reduced mortality by Cox proportional hazards (hazard ratio, 0.785; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.650 to 0.951) and propensity matching (odds ratio, 0.759; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.601 to 0.960; P = 0.021). Among men, no significant reduction was observed (hazard ratio, 0.957; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.82 to 1.14; P = 0.689 by Cox proportional hazards).

“Metformin has a good safety profile, availability, and needs to be prospectively assessed in patients with COVID-19 to understand mechanism, duration, and timing of treatment necessary for benefit,” the authors write.

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