March 1, 2024

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Men taking Metformin may cause reproductive defects in offspring

Men taking Metformin may cause reproductive defects in offspring


Large-scale study reveals that men taking Metformin may cause reproductive defects in offspring.

There are several ” magic drugs ” in the scientific research community – aspirin, Metformin, and curcumin.

Among them, Metformin has become one of the well-deserved “top streams” with its many miraculous effects.

It can not only lower blood sugar, treat obesity, but also anti-aging, prevent cancer, and protect the cardiovascular system.

Every once in a while, new effects will be discovered by researchers.


Metformin was first approved for clinical treatment in the UK in 1957, and has now been used for the treatment of diabetes for more than 60 years.

It is the first-line drug for the treatment of diabetes.

However, “it’s a three-point drug”, even Metformin, which is known as a “magic drug”, has some side effects, such as gastrointestinal adverse reactions, which affect the absorption of vitamin B12.


Nowadays, diabetes occurs more and more in people of childbearing age.

For women with diabetes who are planning to become pregnant or are pregnant, Metformin is not recommended clinically, but insulin can be used to maintain normal levels, thereby reducing the risk of fetal teratogenicity.

However, there is no relevant research evidence on whether diabetes drugs affect male reproductive health and offspring birth defects.


On March 28, 2022, researchers from the University of Southern Denmark and Stanford University published a research paper in the Annals of Internal Medicine (IF=25.391) .

In a large cohort study, researchers found that babies born to men who took Metformin during sperm development had an increased risk of birth defects, particularly genital defects in boys.


Men taking metformin may cause reproductive defects in offspring


Data from national birth registries, people with diabetes, and drug prescriptions were statistically analyzed to assess whether there were differences in the risk of birth defects in offspring of men who used insulin, Metformin, sulfonylureas, or other diabetes medications before conception.

The development of fully mature sperm, from spermatogonia to spermatids and further maturation in the epididymis, takes approximately 3 months.

Therefore, offspring produced by a father who took diabetes medication within the first 3 months of pregnancy are considered to be exposed to diabetes medication .


The researchers compared birth defects in babies given different diabetes drugs, birth defects in siblings of babies not exposed to the drug, and the effects of different timing of drug use relative to sperm development on offspring birth defects.


Men taking metformin may cause reproductive defects in offspring


After examining the development of 1,116,779 infants born in Denmark from 1997 to 2016, the study found that 3.3% (n=36,585) of infants in the control group (infants not exposed to diabetes drugs) had one or more major birth defects, 51.4% were male.

A total of 7029 offspring were exposed to diabetes medications, including insulin (n=5298) , Metformin (n=1451), and sulfonylureas (n=647) .

A small number of offspring were exposed to other diabetes drugs (n=276) , so the effect of these drugs on birth defects was not considered further.



Babies born to fathers on insulin had no increased risk of birth defects compared with controls, but infants born to fathers on Metformin had an increased risk (5.2%) .

Offspring exposed to Metformin were more likely to have reproductive organ birth defects and were all boys.

The incidence of major birth defects in the genitals and urinary tract was 3.39 times higher than that in the control group. At the same time, the proportion of boys is lower (49.4%).

Offspring exposed to sulfonylureas also showed an association with increased birth defects(5.1%), but lacked statistical significance and specificity for birth defect category.


Men taking metformin may cause reproductive defects in offspring


Meanwhile, the findings suggest that taking Metformin before and after sperm development does not increase the risk of birth defects.

There was also no increased risk of birth defects in siblings who were not exposed to Metformin .


In fact, previous studies based in part on animal models have supported the association between Metformin and male reproductive health.

Metformin can affect stem cell function and adhesion factors and is associated with reduced apoptosis in rat testicular germ cells. Fetal and neonatal testicular size was reduced in pregnant mice administered Metformin; in vitro administration of Metformin decreased testosterone secretion.


Dr. Germaine M. Buck Louis of George Mason University published an editorial saying that given Metformin as a first-line treatment for type 2 diabetes, there is an urgent need to confirm the reliability of the findings, noting a key limitation of the study There is a lack of data on the amount of prescription medication men in the study took.


Men taking metformin may cause reproductive defects in offspring


This is the first study to suggest that Metformin use by fathers may be linked to birth defects in their children , and could lead to new medication recommendations for men with diabetes of reproductive age in the future , but researchers say it’s too soon to make any changes based on this data. early .


Michael Eisenberg , one of the authors of the paper, said that if other research confirms the findings, doctors may only start discussing with patients whether to switch to another treatment, weighing the risks and benefits of using Metformin relative to other drugs.








Paper link :

Men taking Metformin may cause reproductive defects in offspring

(source:internet, reference only)

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Important Note: The information provided is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice.