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Long term use of antibiotics may increase diabetes risk

Categories: Current Research


A new study claims people who have taken certain antibiotics repeatedly may be at an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Researchers concluded that the people who participated in the study that had been prescribed two or more rounds of certain antibiotics were at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The antibiotics that were used came from a few different categories: penicillins, cephalosporins, quinolones and macrolides. The study “raises a red flag about the overuse of antibiotics, and it should make us much more concerned about this overuse,” said Dr. Raphael Kellman, a New York City internist.

Study Details

In the study, the researchers didn’t actually perform an experiment or gather data themselves. They used already available information and analyzed it to come to get their results. They looked at a database of people in the United Kingdom, and examined the number of antibiotic prescriptions that were given to the people with diabetes before they were actually diagnosed with the condition. The researchers then compared that total with the number of antibiotics prescribed to other people who didn’t have diabetes. The ratio of men to women in the two groups was the same in both groups to make sure the results were consistent.


As found in the study, the risk of type 2 diabetes in people who had been prescribed two or more courses of penicillin increased by 8%, compared to the people who had taken either just one course of penicillin or none at all. In those who had been prescribed more than five courses of the antibiotic, the risk increased by 23% when compared with the lower course group. Among people who had been given two to five courses of quinolones, the likelihood of being diagnosed with diabetes grew by 15 percent, and it increased 37 percent among those who had received more than five courses.


The study results show that repeated use of antibiotics can have an effect on a person’s risk of developing diabetes. It appears that only a long term use of antibiotics is linked to diabetes. The people in the study who had been prescribed a single course of antibiotics did not have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared with those who had never taken antibiotics. The researchers came to the conclusion that the more courses of antibiotics people were prescribed, the greater their risk of type 2 diabetes.

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