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Photo of David Dopkin

Study identifies antibiotics as possible diabetes risk factor

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2015 | Social Security Disability Benefits for Illness

Most people are well aware of the risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes, including heart disease, smoking and, of course, obesity. However, a recently published study in the European Journal of Endocrinology suggests that another risk factor might soon be added to this list.

Somewhat shockingly, the risk factor in question is none other than antibiotics, the prescriptions we rely on to treat everything from strep throat to sinus infections.

After examining data on one million people in the United Kingdom and adjusting for the aforementioned risk factors, researchers found a higher likelihood of type 2 diabetes among those who had been written prescriptions for no less than two courses of any of the following antibiotics: macrolides, penicillins, quinolones and cephalosporins.

Indeed, they determined that the more prescriptions a person was written for antibiotics, the greater the type 2 diabetes risk. To illustrate, consider the following:

  • Anywhere from two to five prescriptions for quinolones increased the risk of diabetes by 15 percent, while more than five prescriptions increased the risk by 37 percent.
  • Anywhere from two to five prescriptions for penicillins increased the risk of diabetes by 8 percent, while more than five prescriptions increased the risk by 23 percent.

While the researchers did not delve into why antibiotic use should enhance the type 2 diabetes risk, they did theorize that it might have something to do with changes in the digestive system, specifically changing levels of gut bacteria.

They also indicated that further research is necessary to explore the cause-and-effect of this phenomenon and, perhaps more importantly, how it underscores why physicians need to be judicious when it comes to prescribing antibiotics.

Please remember to consider speaking with a skilled legal professional to learn more about your options if diabetes has left you unable to work and fighting to make ends meet.