Continuing metformin linked with lower risk of hospital-acquired complications

Patients who continued metformin upon admission had a lower likelihood of in-hospital complications than matched controls without diabetes, while diabetic patients who discontinued the drug during hospitalization had higher risk than matched controls.

Continued use of metformin during hospitalization is associated with a lower risk of hospital-acquired complications (HACs), new research shows.

The retrospective study included patients admitted to a single hospital in Australia between January 2018 and February 2021. Patients with diabetes were compared on a HAC composite outcome score by whether they took metformin and continued it throughout their hospital stay, took metformin but discontinued it upon admission, or were not on metformin prior to admission and did not take it while in the hospital. Propensity score-matched control groups were gathered from patients without diabetes. Findings were published by Diabetic Medicine on May 31.

HACs occurred in 5.5% of patients who continued metformin versus 6.4% of matched controls without diabetes, an insignificant difference, with the caveat that there was limited matching to nondiabetic controls. Diabetes patients who never took metformin or stopped it had an increased risk for HACs compared to matched controls without diabetes (respective adjusted hazard ratios, 1.77 [95% CI, 1.44 to 2.18] and 2.57 [95% CI, 2.10 to 3.13]; P<0.001 for both comparisons).

A full summary of the study is available in ACP Hospitalist, a publication exclusive to ACP members. Single sign-on is required.