Is There a Link Between Glyburide and Gestational Diabetes?

Is There a Link Between Glyburide and Gestational DiabetesA recent study that was published in the JAMA Pediatrics on the risk of birth injury connected to gestational diabetes has been connected to the mother’s use of glyburide during pregnancy.

Glyburide, which is sold under the brand names, DiaBeta and Micronage, is an oral diabetes medication that controls blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. It is in a class of medications called sulfonylureas. Treatment with glyburide is much less expensive than insulin injections to manage diabetes.

The data show that newborns born to mothers who took glyburide were “41% more likely to be admitted to the NICU, 40% more likely to have hypoglycemia and 63% more likely to have respiratory distress” compared to infants born to mothers who were given insulin.

Gestational diabetes

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 9.2% of pregnant women get gestational diabetes in the U.S. in the 24th through 28th week of pregnancy. Women who get gestational diabetes have a higher risk of complications in their pregnancy and delivery. Additionally, they are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. The children born to mothers who had gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing glucose intolerance and metabolic complications.

The incidence of gestational diabetes has doubled in the past 20 years. Glyburide use has also increased largely due to the fact that it comes in pill form, is easier to administer and does not need to be injected as insulin does.

Glyburide crosses the placenta

A study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology reports that glyburide crosses the placenta, which means that it can have an impact on the developing fetus. A significant complication for those unborn babies of mothers with gestational diabetes is macrosomia, which is a condition where the baby is overly large for its gestational age. The large size of the infant increases the risk of birth complications.

Michelle Johnson Funk, lead researcher in the glyburide study, recommended further investigation of the link between the prevalence of birth complications and the mother’s use of glyburide as a public health concern.