Metformin is an anti-inflammatory agent commonly used to lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. It is a widely available and affordable generic drug, taken by approximately 150 million people worldwide. The study suggests that metformin could serve as an affordable preventive measure for long Covid, potentially providing a treatment option for a condition that has been challenging to address effectively.
In addition to reducing long Covid rates, the study found that patients receiving metformin at the time of infection also had a 42% reduction in emergency room visits, hospitalisations, or death. This suggests that metformin could also be effective as an outpatient treatment for Covid-19.
The researchers behind the study believe that metformin could be an alternative treatment option to Pfizer's oral Covid-19 antiviral medication Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir + ritonavir). While Paxlovid is considered the standard of care, some individuals may be unable to take it due to potential cross-interactions with other medications. Therefore, the researchers advocate for updating treatment guidelines to include metformin as a potential treatment option for people with Covid-19, considering its widespread availability and low cost.
The Parsemus Foundation, a research funder involved in the trial, supports efforts to advance innovative and neglected medical research to improve human and animal health. They have funded rigorous clinical studies, including the COVID-OUT trial, to evaluate the effectiveness of existing medications in treating Covid-19.