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Metformin reduces risk of type 2 diabetes following gestational diabetes

Women with a history of gestational diabetes can reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by taking metformi, according to new research.
The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, also that metformin did not decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes in women with no history of gestational diabetes.
The research also suggested that significant lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
How was the study conducted?
The study used data from The Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study (DPPOS). The researchers analysed 350 women who had had gestational diabetes, and 1416 women who had given birth but never experienced gestational diabetes.
Studies have suggested that women with a history of gestational diabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. Some of the women with gestational diabetes were only given a placebo, and they had a 48 per cent increase in their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Metformi, gestational diabetes, and the development of type 2 diabetes
The women with a history of gestational diabetes were treated with either metformin or lifestyle changes. Those treated with lifestyle changes reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 35 per cent; those treated with metformin were 40 per cent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Of the group of women with no history of gestational diabetes, lifestyle changes reduced the likelihood of type 2 diabetes by 30 per cent. Metformi, however, had no effect.
What did the authors say?
Vanita R. Aroda, author of the study, told Medscape Medical News: “This is probably the longest-term look at progression to [type 2] diabetes for women with a history of gestational diabetes.
“It’s important to assess whether a woman had gestational diabetes. People tend to forget about it after the baby is delivered, but long after the baby is delivered the risk is quite high, and this study shows one can do something about it.
The significance of the findings
Lifestyle interventions are difficult for new mothers to incorporate. The demands of looking after an child create a busy schedule, which does not easily lend itself to a carefully-planned diet or offer the time to engage in more physical activity.
Metformi, therefore, could offer a more practical alternative, at least until the mother has more time to incorporate lifestyle changes. According to the study, metformin is as effective as lifestyle changes in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

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