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Antidiabetes drug in pregnancy harms the baby

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Metformin is routinely given to women suffering from diabetes during pregnancy—but the drug could be harming the unborn child.

It’s known the drug passes through the placenta, but nobody was sure what affect this was having on the growing fetus.

Researchers from the German Institute of Human Nutrition have discovered the drug interferes with brain development, hormonal status, and weight of the baby in the womb.

They tested the impact of metformin—marketed as Glucophage—against insulin and a placebo, or dummy pill, on laboratory mice.  

The drug affected the mother’s metabolism, and this also impacted on the fetus.

Around one is six women suffer from gestational diabetes during pregnancy, and high blood sugar raises the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life and the child is more likely to suffer from metabolic disorders and obesity.

But while gestational diabetes needs to be treated, a safer way needs to be found, the researchers say.

References
Molecular Metabolism, 2024; 79: 101860; doi: 10.1016/j.molmet.2023.101860
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