The findings of a new study suggest that for pregnant women, the side effects of DiaBeta, Micronase and similar drugs make them unfit for treating gestational diabetes.
In a study published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), French researchers compared the safety and effectiveness of diabetes drugs using the active ingredient glyburide to subcutaneous insulin for the treatment of pregnant women with gestational diabetes.
Glyburide, also known as glibenclaimide, is used to treat type 2 diabetes. It belongs to a class of drugs known as sulfonylurea, which increase the amount of insulin released by the pancreas. Drugs using glyburide, including DiaBeta, Micronase, and Glynase, currently have a pregnancy risk rating of category B and Category C, meaning there is no evidence of risk in humans, but that the existence of risks have not yet been ruled out.
Researchers in this latest study conducted a clinical trial including 914 pregnant women with gestational diabetes, to see which was better for the prevention of perinatal complications. They looked for outcomes of macrosomia, neonatal hypoglycemia and hyperbilirubinemia.
According to the findings, those given drugs like DiaBeta and Micronase had a 4.2% higher rate of perinatal complications than those given insulin.
“This study of women with gestational diabetes failed to show that use of glyburide compared with subcutaneous insulin does not result in a greater frequency of perinatal complications,” the researchers concluded. “These findings do not justify the use of glyburide as a first-line treatment.”
Some previous studies have already linked the drugs to an increased risk of pregnancy complications. A 2015 study published in JAMA Pediatrics found that children born to women given DiaBeta, Micronase and similar drugs were more than 40% more likely to be admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit than the children of women not given the drugs.
Another study published that year warned that glyburide appeared to cross the placenta to potentially impact a developing fetus.
Placenta transport of drugs, where the drug appears to have crossed the placenta to potentially come into contact with a developing fetus, is often the first indicator that a drug may impact the development of an unborn child.