Diabetes drug research offers 'hope' to asthma patients struggling with side effects of steroids

Diabetes drug metformin could offer improvements to patients on glucocorticoid treatment, a steroid used to treat chronic inflammatory diseases, even if they do not have diabetes, according to a new study. Research from Queen Mary University of London suggests metformin could reduce dangerous side effects associated with steroid treatments.

Responding to the study, Dr Erika Kennington, Head of Research and Innovation at Asthma UK, says:

“Steroids can be lifesaving for people with the severest form of asthma, but the side effects from taking long-term, high doses of drugs like glucocorticoids can be toxic and put them at increased risk of developing cataracts, osteoporosis or diabetes.

“Although the sample size of this study is small, it gives hope to people with severe asthma that existing drugs could be repurposed to reduce the significant burden of their steroid treatment. More research on metformin, with larger study numbers, will be needed next to explore these potential benefits.”