A new study has found an association between a diabetes drug and high risk of developing thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).
Metformin, a drug commonly used for treating diabetes patients, may up the risk of developing low levels of TSH among those patients having an underactive thyroid.
The researchers behind the study cautioned that low TSH levels are likely to be linked with problems related to heart and broken bones. They, however, clarified that a cause-and-effect relation between the two has not been established in this study.
Among the participants having an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), the researchers found 495 incidences of low levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone a year in comparison to 322 cases in the normal thyroid group.
Among those participants getting treatment for an underactive thyroid, the team further found that metformin drug led to a 55 percent higher risk for low TSH levels in comparison to those who were taking sulfonylurea (for their diabetes treatment).
In a press release, Dr Laurent Azoulay said, “The results of this longitudinal study confirmed that the use of metformin was associated with an increased risk of low TSH levels in patients with treated hypothyroidism.”
“Given the relatively high cases of low TSH levels in patients taking metformin, it is imperative that future studies assess the clinical consequences of this effect,” said Azoulay, who works with the department of oncology at Montreal’s McGill University.
The drug Metformin is used to lower blood sugar (glucose) levels in diabetic patients. It checks production of glucose in the liver.
The findings were detailed in the journal CMAJ on Sunday.