Pharmacological Management of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

Abstract

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is one of the most common morbidities complicating pregnancy, with short- and long-term consequences to the mothers, fetuses, and newborns. Management and treatment are aimed to achieve best possible glycemic control, while avoiding hypoglycemia and ensuring maternal and fetal safety. It involves behavioral modifications, nutrition and medications, if needed; concurrent with maternal and fetal surveillance for possible adverse outcomes. This review aims to elaborate on the pharmacological options for GDM therapy. We performed an extensive literature review of different available studies, published during the last 50 years, concerning pharmacological therapy for GDM, dealing with safety and efficacy, for both fetal and maternal morbidity consequences; as well as failure and success in establishing appropriate metabolic and glucose control. Oral medication therapy is a safe and effective treatment modality for GDM and in some circumstances may serve as first-line therapy when nutritional modifications fail. When oral agents fail to establish glucose control then insulin injections should be added. Determining the best oral therapy in inconclusive, although it seems that metformin is slightly superior to glyburide, in some aspects. As for parenteral therapy, all insulins listed in this article are considered both safe and effective for treatment of hyperglycemia during pregnancy. Importantly, a better safety profile, with similar efficacy is documented for most analogues. As GDM prevalence rises, there is a need for successful monitoring and treatment for patients. Caregivers should know the possible and available therapeutic options.

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Correspondence to Moshe Hod.

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Riki Bergel, Eran Hadar, Yoel Toledano, and Moshe Hod declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Pharmacologic Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes

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Bergel, R., Hadar, E., Toledano, Y. et al. Pharmacological Management of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. Curr Diab Rep 16, 118 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11892-016-0802-y

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Keywords

  • Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM)
  • Oral medication therapy
  • Glyburide
  • Metformin
  • Insulin