Diabetes drug could treat, prevent preeclampsia in pregnant women

Researchers said clinical trials need to be conducted in order to see if the drug is effective outside of the lab.

By Stephen Feller

MELBOURNE, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Preeclampsia is a potentially dangerous condition in pregnancy that poses a danger to both mother and baby, however researchers in Australia think the diabetes drug metformin has the potential to treat, and possibly prevent, the condition.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne found in a recent study the drug, sold as Glucophage, decreases the release of toxins from the placenta into the mother's bloodstream, and may also help heal blood vessels.


The condition kills 60,000 mothers and babies around the world each year, affecting about 3 to 8 percent of all pregnancies.

"If metformin proves to decrease the burden of preeclampsia, it could save the lives of many mothers and babies globally," said Stephen Tong a professor at the University of Melbourne, in a press release.

In lab experiments with primary human tissues tested secretion from the placenta, and the effects of metformin on such secretions. The researchers found the drug prevention secretions and appeared to improve the feature of dysfunction in blood vessels.

The researchers said clinical trials would be held in the future to see whether metformin has the same effects in pregnant women as it did in experiments.


The study is published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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