Antibiotic Use Tied to Type 2 Diabetes Risk

This article originally appeared here.
Researchers don't know if the drugs signal developing disease, or contribute to it.
Researchers don't know if the drugs signal developing disease, or contribute to it.

(HealthDay News) -- Taking antibiotics might increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, new research suggests. The study was published online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Kristian Hallundbaek Mikkelsen, a medical-doctoral student at the Center for Diabetes Research at Gentofte Hospital and the University of Copenhagen, and colleagues tallied antibiotic prescriptions filled by more than 170,000 Danes with type 2 diabetes and about 1.3 million other adults between 1995 and 2012. The men and women were identified using records from national health registries.

Individuals diagnosed with type 2 diabetes filled an average of 0.8 antibiotic prescriptions annually, compared to 0.5 a year among those who didn't develop diabetes. The more prescriptions, the more likely those people were to have type 2 diabetes, the researchers found. Those who took an antibiotic, regardless of the type, were 50% more likely to get a diabetes diagnosis if they had filled 5 or more prescriptions compared to those who filled none or 1. Narrow-spectrum antibiotics such as penicillin V conferred a slightly higher risk than broad-spectrum antibiotics.

What drives the higher risk for diabetes isn't clear, Mikkelsen told HealthDay. It's possible that the condition develops over time, increasing the risk of infection -- and need for antibiotics -- before an actual diabetes diagnosis, he said. Or, perhaps repeated infections somehow increase diabetes risk, or exposure to antibiotics boosts the odds.


  1. Hallundbæk Mikkelsen, K; Krag Knop, F; Frost, M; et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 100: 0000 – 0000, 2015; doi: 10.1210/jc.2015-2696.
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