Breaking News
More () »

U of M study: Common drug can prevent long COVID

The drug, metformin, is inexpensive and widely available, according to the principal researcher.

MINNEAPOLIS — Metformin lowers the risk of getting long COVID, according to a recent study led by researchers at the University of Minnesota study. 

The drug, which is typically used to treat diabetes, was given to more than 1,200 people participants, all of whom were between 30 and 85 years old and qualified as overweight or obese.

Study participants who received metformin were about 40% less likely to develop long COVID, as compared to those who received placebos, according to the study.

“The results of this study are important because long COVID can have a significant impact on people's lives,” Carolyn Bramante, MD, principal investigator and an assistant professor at the U of M Medical School said in a statement. “Metformin is an inexpensive, safe and widely available drug, and its use as a preventive measure could have significant public health implications.”

Long COVID develops four weeks or later after infection and can include tiredness, fever and respiratory issues, among other symptoms.

The results of the study, which was published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases on June 8, were consistent across COVID variants alpha, delta and omicron.

Long COVID highlights disparities in the healthcare system, and depending on race, socioeconomic status and occupation, certain people can be more likely to develop COVID and subsequently, long COVID. Women are more likely to develop long-term complications from the virus than men, a Mayo Clinic study showed.

Previously, metformin proved to reduce severe outcomes of COVID for patients seeking early treatment in a 2022 University of Minnesota study. The drug lowered emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths by over 40%, and if taken early, by over 50%. 

Researchers tested ivermectin and fluvoxamine in the recent study as well, but neither prevented long COVID or reduced serious outcomes. 

COVID cases and hospitalizations in Minnesota have consistently trended down in the past year, according to Minnesota Department of Health data. However, patients with long COVID may still have symptoms from an infection that was months or years prior. 


Download the free KARE 11+ app for Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV and other smart TV platforms to watch more from KARE 11 anytime! The KARE 11+ app includes live streams of all of KARE 11's newscasts. You'll also find on-demand replays of newscasts; the latest from KARE 11 Investigates, Breaking the News and the Land of 10,000 Stories; exclusive programs like Verify and HeartThreads; and Minnesota sports talk from our partners at Locked On Minnesota. 

Watch more local news:

Watch the latest local news from the Twin Cities and across Minnesota in our YouTube playlist:


Before You Leave, Check This Out