Metformin is among the most prescribed medications in the world. It is commonly used as the first-in-line treatment for type 2 diabetes but is also used to treat polycystic ovarian syndrome, prediabetes, and gestational diabetes. Researchers conducted a study to assess the risk of taking metformin if pregnant. Of the group taking metformin, the risk was 7.8% in patients with pre-gestational diabetes and 1.7% in those without pre-gestational diabetes. The risk of pregnancy losses which include stillbirths and spontaneous abortions was 20.8% in women taking metformin during the first trimester and 10.8% in the reference group. Women taking metformin with pre-gestational diabetes had a 24% risk while those without pre-gestational diabetes taking metformin had a 16.8% risk when compared to the reference group. The researchers conclude in their study abstract that “Pregnant women with pre-gestational diabetes on metformin are at a higher risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes than the general population. Metformin is an oral hypoglycaemic medication with a long history. First isolated in 1922, it has been available in Australasia for more than 40 years. Metformin is central to local and international guidelines for the management of type 2 diabetes and has other widening clinical indications. Apart from lowering blood glucose levels, metformin helps combat hypertriglyceridemia, has some vasoactive properties and does not cause weight gain. Metformin is usually well tolerated, however, minor side effects such as nausea and diarrhoea are relatively common. The more serious side effect of lactic acidosis is very rare. For many years, metformin was tainted by experience with a related compound, phenformin, which could cause lactic acidosis due to variations in metabolism by the liver.
Why is a diabetes drug being used to treat PCOS and infertility? Can it really help you get pregnant? Learn about metformin and PCOS here. Read what you should know about taking metformin during pregnancy if you have PCOS. It may lead to complications.