Diabetes Drug Helps Prevent Miscarriage
The study offers the best evidence yet that metformin may be useful for the treatment of gestational diabetes, says lead author John E. Nestler, MD, of the Medical College of Virginia. Insulin sensitivity improved for the pregnant women on metformin, compared with their sensitivity prior to pregnancy when not taking the drug.
"Normally, insulin sensitivity gets worse during pregnancy, and that is why some women get gestational diabetes," Nestler tells WebMD. "We found just the opposite with these women. Insulin sensitivity actually got better in the treated women. This is very exciting evidence that this drug can be useful in preventing gestational diabetes."
Glueck, who is director of the Cholesterol Center in Cincinnati, is presenting even stronger evidence in a study scheduled for publication in the March issue of the journal Fertility and Sterility. The incidence of gestational diabetes in that study was just 3% among pregnant patients with PCOS taking metformin, compared with an incidence of 40% for patients not taking the drug.
The findings, Glueck says, suggest that metformin may have a role in preventing not just gestational diabetes, but type 2 diabetes that is not related to pregnancy.
"We know that 80% of women who develop gestational diabetes with go on to develop type 2 diabetes," he says. "In fact, gestational diabetes is an accelerated model for how most people develop type 2 diabetes. The fact that we can reduce the incidence of gestational diabetes in PCOS so dramatically tells us that metformin may reduce the risk of diabetes in other high-risk people."