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Use of popular diabetes drug in preconception or early pregnancy may not be tied to higher birth defect risk, studies suggest

·2 mins

Some studies have raised concerns about a potential link between the widely used type 2 diabetes drug metformin and an increased risk of birth defects. However, new research suggests that the use of the medication among men planning to conceive or women in early pregnancy does not appear to be linked with an increased risk of major birth defects for their children. The two studies contradict a previous study that linked metformin use by men before conception to an increased risk of birth defects. The findings provide assurance for parents, highlighting the importance of both parents’ health during pregnancy. The increased risk of birth defects seen in previous research may be associated with the underlying condition of diabetes rather than the medication itself. Metformin is a widely prescribed medication for type 2 diabetes. The studies analyzed data on nearly 400,000 babies born in Israel between 1999 and 2020. The researchers found no increased risk of birth defects in children exposed to paternal metformin. The use of metformin along with other medications did show a slightly higher risk of birth defects. However, this was likely due to the fathers’ overall health rather than the medication itself. Another study showed that women using metformin and insulin during the first trimester of pregnancy had little to no increased risk of birth defects compared to those using only insulin. The combination of metformin and insulin helps with blood sugar control and may lower the risk of birth defects. Women with type 2 diabetes who are currently taking metformin and planning to conceive can continue using it without a significant increase in risk. Overall, the studies suggest that metformin is a safe and effective treatment option for type 2 diabetes, both for men and women planning to conceive and for managing blood sugar levels in pregnant women. It may be time to reconsider current guidelines that recommend switching to insulin therapy during pregnancy.