Study Suggests Inhaled Steroids Increase Diabetes Risk

A recent study suggests that inhaled steroids may also have an effect on diabetes risk. Inhaled corticosteroids, which is commonly used to treat breathing problems such as those experienced by people with asthma, may also increase a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The findings of the study was published in the November issue of The American Journal Of Medicine.

The said study involved researchers from the Jewish General Hospital’s Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research in Montreal studying and analyzing the records of around 400,000 patients using inhaled corticosteroids to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (OCPD) or asthma. The researchers found out that inhaled corticosteroids may have increased the rate of onset of diabetes from 14 people per 1,000 to 19 per 1,000 for every year of use. This accounts for 5 additional people per thousand who, otherwise would not have been affected, developed diabetes as a result of the use of steroids.

These are not insubstantial numbers,” said Dr. Samy Suissa, study lead author and a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at McGill University in Montreal. “Over a large population the absolute numbers of affected people are significant.”

Although Dr. Suissa does not oppose the use of inhaled steroids for those with asthma since it has proven to be effective in keeping patients out of hospitals, she does question its use for other conditions such as OCPD, where its effectiveness remain unclear.

“We recommend that physicians reserve the use of inhaled steroids for the patients who truly benefit from these medications, namely asthmatics, and curb their use in COPD to the few patients for whom they are indicated. In all cases, patients using high doses should be assessed for possible hyperglycemia and the lowest effective dose targeted,” Dr. Suisa further added.

Source: Jewish General Hospital. “Inhaled steroids increase diabetes risk, study suggests.” ScienceDaily 1 November 2010. 16 December 2010 <http://www.sciencedaily.comĀ­ /releases/2010/11/101101130139.htm>


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