Outpatient treatment with metformin reduced long COVID incidence by about 41%, with an absolute reduction of 4·1%, compared with placebo. Metformin has clinical benefits when used as outpatient treatment for COVID-19 and is globally available, low-cost, and safe.
The cumulative incidence of long COVID by day 300 was 6·3% (95% CI 4·2–8·2) in participants who received metformin and 10·4% (7·8–12·9) in those who received identical metformin placebo (hazard ratio [HR] 0·59, 95% CI 0·39–0·89; p=0·012). The metformin beneficial effect was consistent across prespecified subgroups. When metformin was started within 3 days of symptom onset, the HR was 0·37 (95% CI 0·15–0·95). There was no effect on cumulative incidence of long COVID with ivermectin (HR 0·99, 95% CI 0·59–1·64) or fluvoxamine (1·36, 0·78–2·34) compared with placebo.
1323 participants received a dose of study treatment and were included in the modified intention-to-treat population, 1126 consented for long-term follow-up and completed at least one survey after the assessment for long COVID at day 180 (564 received metformin and 562 received matched placebo; a subset of participants in the metformin vs placebo trial were also randomly assigned to receive ivermectin or fluvoxamine).