Hyperglycaemia different in COPD

Metformin does not reduce elevated blood glucose levels in COPD patients with severe exacerbations, researchers report.

Writing in Thorax  the team from St George’s in London said elevated blood glucose concentrations occurred in the majority of patients admitted to hospital for COPD exacerbations and was associated with an increased risk of a prolong hospital stay and even death.

Despite this hyperglycaemia remained an unexplored therapeutic target in COPD exacerbations, they said.

In the current study they randomised 52 patients who had been admitted to hospital for an exacerbation to metformin or placebo.

Results showed metformin did not have any effect on hyperglycaemia nor did it affect the study’s secondary end points of fructosamine, C reactive protein and patient-reported outcomes.

“Our finding that metformin did not ameliorate blood glucose elevations in COPD exacerbations contrasts with its well- established anti-hyperglycaemic effects in diabetes,” the researchers said.

“This may be due to the differing pathophysiology of hyperglycaemia in COPD exacerbations,” they concluded.

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