Using metformin may lower the risk for asthma attacks in people with both diabetes and asthma, according to a new study in the journal Annals of the American Thoracic Society. Metformin is one of the most commonly used diabetes treatments, with more than 120 million people being prescribed the medicine worldwide.
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Diabetes has been associated with worsened asthma control. To evaluate the effects of metformin on asthma, researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine looked at prescription claims from 23,920 adults with both asthma and diabetes. After excluding patients with certain conditions that could affect the results (such as interstitial lung disease or COPD), the researchers found that treatment with metformin was associated with a lower risk for asthma attacks, as well as lower risks for asthma-related hospitalizations and emergency room visits.
“There is emerging evidence that treatment of metabolic dysfunction, especially diabetes, may make asthma better,” noted researcher Tianshi David Wu, MD, MHS, in an interview with Healio Pulmonology. “More research is needed before these results can be directly applied clinically. But if metformin proves to be effective in reducing asthma morbidity, this opens an additional pathway of therapy to patients whose asthma is partially driven by metabolic dysfunction.”
The results are preliminary and further studies, especially in human volunteers, are needed to confirm the results, according to Wu.
Senior Digital Editor for DiabetesSelfManagement.com, Fennell has 16 years’ experience specializing in diabetes and related health conditions. Based in New York City, she has a degree from Columbia University.