Antibiotic Use May Predict Diabetes

Pharmacy Times, October 2015 Diabetes, Volume 81, Issue 10

Individuals who develop type 2 diabetes tend to take more antibiotics in the years leading up to their diagnosis than those without the condition.

Individuals who develop type 2 diabetes (T2D) tend to take more antibiotics in the years leading up to their diagnosis than those without the condition, recent study results indicate.

The study, published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, analyzed the antibiotic prescriptions of 170,504 patients with T2D and 1.3 million individuals without the disease. The research team found that individuals who filled more antibiotic prescriptions were more likely to be diagnosed with T2D: patients with diabetes filled an average of 0.8 antibiotic prescriptions per year compared with 0.5 prescriptions per year among the control group. Additionally, although many types of antibiotics were linked to a heightened risk of the disease, there was an especially strong association between the use of narrow-spectrum antibiotics, such as penicillin, and a diabetes diagnosis.

The researchers suggested that certain gut bacteria formed as a result of antibiotic use may contribute to an impaired ability to metabolize sugar, potentially leading to the development of diabetes. “Further investigation into the long-term effect of antibiotic use on sugar metabolism and gut bacteria composition could reveal valuable answers about how to address this public health crisis,” said study author Kristian Hallundbæk Mikkelsen, MD, in a press release. “Patterns in antibiotic use may offer an opportunity to prevent the development of the disease or to diagnose it early.”