Common, inexpensive diabetes drug could cut long COVID risk, study finds
A well-known, inexpensive diabetes drug appears to cut the risk of developing long COVID, hopeful-but-early new research suggests.
The study, published Thursdayin the peer-reviewed journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, found outpatient treatment with the drug metformin a common treatment for Type 2 diabetes reduced long COVID incidence among infected patients by 41 per cent.
Roughly six per cent of those taking metformin went on to develop the condition, compared toclose to 11 per cent of those in the placebo group. Participants on metformin were also less likely to be hospitalized roughly a month after infection by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
"Metformin has clinical benefits when used as outpatient treatment for COVID-19 and is globally available, low-cost and safe," wrote the research team.
Lead author Dr. Carolyn Bramante, a physician-scientist with the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, told CBC News that the effect was even larger when metformin was given quickly in less than four days during someone's infection. She said metformin may be helping patients fight off the virus, or reducing inflammation, though more research is needed to figure out why the drug appears to work.