Diabetes Drug: A Potential Cure For Preeclampsia?

Diabetes Drug: A Potential Cure For Preeclampsia?

Could A Diabetes Drug Cure Preeclampsia?

A new Australian study reported in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology has suggested Metformin, a drug used to treat diabetes, could be used to prevent or treat preeclampsia.

Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication that is life threatening for both mothers and babies. Preeclampsia affects approximately 1 in 20 pregnancies and causes the death of over 60,000 women globally every year. There’s currently no medical treatment or cure for the condition.

Preeclampsia usually occurs after 20 weeks of gestation and is a condition unique to pregnancy. The exact cause of preeclampsia is unknown, although research indicates there is possibly a genetic factor involved.

The condition arises when insufficient blood supply to the placenta causes it to release toxins into the mother’s bloodstream. The condition is progressive, and leads to high blood pressure and potential damage to the brain, liver, kidneys and other organs. In severe cases of preeclampsia women can suffer seizures and fits. Symptoms of preeclampsia can continue after the birth, until the condition is eventually resolved.

Women with preeclampsia require hospitalisation and careful monitoring. Timing is critical, as the only effective treatment for the condition is the birth of the baby. The decision to induce or prepare for an emergency c-section might have to be made very quickly, depending on the condition of both mother and baby.

As a result of compromised placental blood supply, babies can experience oxygen deprivation and growth restriction. The main concern, however, is prematurity. If the condition becomes too dangerous for the mother, then the baby must be born. Babies who are born prematurely are at increased risk of a number of complications, and even death.

Metformin Can Block The Release Of Toxins

Researchers from Melbourne’s Mercy Hospital for Women have found in lab trials that Metformin blocks the release of the toxins from the placenta, and heals the damage done to the maternal blood vessels. The medication also improves dilation of the blood vessels, which in turn reduces blood pressure.

Metformin is currently used to help control blood sugar levels in people who have Type 2 Diabetes. It is a Category B medication, which means it has been found safe for use during pregnancy.

The medication is also inexpensive and does not require special conditions; this increases the viability of using it in low income countries, where the majority of deaths from preeclampsia occurs.

The Editor-in-Chief for Obstetrics of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Roberto Romero, says further research and trials should be undertaken as a matter of urgency, to determine whether Metformin is an effective treatment for preeclampsia, and possibly for other pregnancy complications.

Recommended Reading: Preeclampsia and Symptoms of Preeclampsia.

the BellyBelly Birth & Early Parenting Immersion
MAXIMISE your chances of getting the birth you want… MINIMISE your chances of
a disappointing or traumatic birth experience. Learn from some of Australia’s
best educators – you’ll feel MORE CONFIDENT heading into birth.
  • 118


Sam McCulloch enjoyed talking so much about birth she decided to become a birth educator and doula, supporting parents in making informed choices about their birth experience. In her spare time she writes novels. She is mother to three beautiful little humans.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Please note: in order to prevent spam and inappropriate language, all comments are moderated before they appear. We appreciate your patience awaiting approval. BellyBelly receives many comments every day, and we are unable to approve them all as soon as they are posted.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

loaded font roboto