Metformin Use in Diabetes Prior to Hospitalization: Effects on Mortality in Covid-19


      Objective: Although type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) has been reported as a risk factor for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the effect of pharmacologic agents used to treat T2DM, such as metformin, on COVID-19 outcomes remains unclear. Metformin increases the expression of angiotensin converting enzyme 2, a known receptor for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Data from people with T2DM hospitalized for COVID-19 were used to test the hypothesis that metformin use is associated with improved survival in this population.
      Methods: Retrospective analyses were performed on de-identified clinical data from a major hospital in Wuhan, China, that included patients with T2DM hospitalized for COVID-19 during the recent epidemic. One hundred and thirty-one patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and T2DM were used in this study. The primary outcome was mortality. Demographic, clinical characteristics, laboratory data, diabetes medications, and respiratory therapy data were also included in the analysis.
      Results: Of these 131 patients, 37 used metformin with or without other antidiabetes medications. Among the 37 metformin-taking patients, 35 (94.6%) survived and 2 (5.4%) did not survive. The mortality rates in the metformin-taking group versus the non-metformin group were 5.4% (2/37) versus 22.3% (21/94). Using multivariate analysis, metformin was found to be an independent predictor of survival in this cohort (P = .02).
      Conclusion: This study reveals a significant association between metformin use and survival in people with T2DM diagnosed with COVID-19. These clinical data are consistent with potential benefits of the use of metformin for COVID-19 patients with T2DM.
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