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Endocr Pract. 2014 Oct;20(10):1022-31. doi: 10.4158/EP14018.OR.

Metformin safety in the management of gestational diabetes.

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Department of Endocrinology, Instituto Português de Oncologia de Lisboa.
Department of Endocrinology, Hospital de Santa Maria, CHLN, Lisboa, Portugal.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Hospital de Santa Maria, CHLN, Lisboa, Portugal.



The use of metformin in pregnant women is still controversial, despite the increasing reports on metformin's safety and effectiveness. We aimed to evaluate the maternal and neonatal safety of metformin in subjects with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).


We retrospectively reviewed the clinical records of 186 pregnancies complicated with GDM surveilled at Hospital de Santa Maria, Lisboa, between 2011 and 2012. The maternal and neonatal outcomes of 32 females who took metformin during pregnancy were compared with 121 females controlled with diet and 33 insulin-treated females.


Of the 186 GDM subjects, 32 (17.2%) received metformin during pregnancy. No statistical differences between the diet and metformin groups were found with regard to the rates of abortion, prematurity, preeclampsia, macrosomy, small-for-gestational-age (SGA) or large-for-gestational-age (LGA) newborns, cesarean deliveries, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admissions, and birth malformations or neonatal injuries. Similarly, there were no differences between the metformin and insulin groups with regard to the referred outcomes. No abortions or perinatal deaths were recorded in the metformin group. Ten out of 32 metformin patients required additional insulin.


This retrospective study suggests that metformin is a safe alternative or additional treatment to insulin in females with GDM. Metformin was not associated with a higher risk of maternal or neonatal complications when compared to the insulin or diet groups.


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