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Estimating the effect of realistic improvements of metformin adherence on COVID-19 mortality using targeted machine learning

Qiu et al., Global Epidemiology, doi:10.1016/j.gloepi.2024.100142
Mar 2024  
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Metformin for COVID-19
3rd treatment shown to reduce risk in July 2020
*, now known with p < 0.00000000001 from 87 studies.
No treatment is 100% effective. Protocols combine complementary and synergistic treatments. * >10% efficacy in meta analysis with ≥3 clinical studies.
4,000+ studies for 60+ treatments.
Retrospective 61,180 COVID-19 positive patients with chronic metformin prescriptions showing lower COVID-19 mortality with improved metformin adherence, as measured by proportion of days covered.
Qiu et al., 30 Mar 2024, retrospective, Mexico, peer-reviewed, 8 authors, study period 4 October, 2020 - 29 May, 2021.
This PaperMetforminAll
Estimating the effect of realistic improvements of metformin adherence on COVID-19 mortality using targeted machine learning
Sky Qiu, Alan E Hubbard, Juan Pablo Gutiérrez, Ganesh Pimpale, Arturo Juárez-Flores, Rakesh Ghosh, Iván De Jesús Ascencio-Montiel, Stefano M Bertozzi
Global Epidemiology, doi:10.1016/j.gloepi.2024.100142
Background: Type 2 diabetes elevates the risk of severe outcomes in COVID-19 patients, with multiple studies reporting higher case fatality rates. Metformin is a widely used medication for glycemic management. We hypothesize that improved adherence to metformin may lower COVID-19 post-infection mortality risk in this group. Utilizing data from the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS), we investigate the relationship between metformin adherence and mortality following COVID-19 infection in patients with chronic metformin prescriptions. Methods: This is a retrospective cohort study consisting of 61,180 IMSS beneficiaries who received a positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or rapid test for SARS-CoV-2 and had at least two consecutive months of metformin prescriptions prior to the positive test. The hypothetical intervention is improved adherence to metformin, measured by proportion of days covered (PDC), with the comparison being the observed metformin adherence values. The primary outcome is all-cause mortality following COVID-19 infection. We defined the causal parameter using shift intervention, an example of modified treatment policies. We used the targeted learning framework for estimation of the target estimand. Findings: Among COVID-19 positive patients with chronic metformin prescriptions, we found that a 5% and 10% absolute increase in metformin adherence is associated with a respective 0.26% (95% CI: -0.28%, 0.79%) and 1.26% (95% CI: 0.72%, 1.80%) absolute decrease in mortality risk. Interpretation: Subject to the limitations of a real-world data study, our results indicate a causal association between improved metformin adherence and reduced COVID-19 postinfection mortality risk.
Declaration of interests ☒ The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper. ☐ The author is an Editorial Board Member/Editor-in-Chief/Associate Editor/Guest Editor for [Journal name] and was not involved in the editorial review or the decision to publish this article. ☐ The authors declare the following financial interests/personal relationships which may be considered as potential competing interests:
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