Antibiotic overuse could up diabetes risk, study says


Repeated utilization of some antibiotics could increase a person’s risk of developing diabetes type 2, according to research published online Tuesday in the European Journal of Endocrinology.

In the research, scientists in the University of Pennsylvania discovered that men and women who had ever been prescribed with at least two courses of specific kinds of antibiotics were more prone to eventually become identified as having type 2 diabetes than those who had a maximum of one.

The antibiotics used in the study came from one of four categories, based on LiveScience: penicillins, cephalosporins, quinolones and macrolides. The authors reviewed a database of UK patients, exploring the quantity of antibiotic prescriptions given to over 200,000 diabetics at least one year before those individuals were diagnosed with the problem.

They then compared those figures with the quantity of antibiotics prescribed for roughly 800,000 men and women who did not have diabetes, but were the same average age because the patients in the other group. They discovered that the greater courses of antibiotics which were prescribed to a person, the greater the risk that she or he would will continue to develop the disease.

Patients who had been prescribed between two and five courses of penicillin increased their chance of diabetes, according to the Daily Mail, and also the risk increased by 23 percent for all those receiving more than five courses from the commonly used antibiotic versus the one- or no-course group.

Those who were given between two and five courses of quinolones, that are accustomed to treat respiratory and urinary tract infections, had an increased diabetes chance of 15 %, and people receiving a lot more than five courses saw that risk shoot up by 37 percent. The risk remained even when other factors, including obesity and cardiovascular disease, were taken into account.

Those who have been given only one span of antibiotics showed no such rise in diabetes risk, they reported. Nor was there any link found between contact with anti-virals and anti-fungals and diabetes risk. The reason for the association between frequent antibiotic use and the chance of diabetes isn’t unclear, but may be associated with a gut bacteria imbalance, they wrote.

“While our study doesn’t show expected outcomes, we believe changing levels and variety of gut bacteria could explain the link between antibiotics and diabetes risk,” co-author Dr. Yu-Xiao Yang, a helper professor of medicine and epidemiology in the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, explained in a statement, based on LiveScience.

“Gut bacteria happen to be suggested to help the mechanisms behind obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes in both animal and human models. Previous studies have shown that antibiotics can alter this enzymatic ecosystem,” added lead author Dr. Ben Boursi.

“Over-prescription of antibiotics is already a problem around the world as bacteria become increasingly resistant to their effects,” he continued. “Our findings are important, not only for understanding how diabetes may develop, but because a warning to reduce unnecessary antibiotic treatments that might do more harm than good.”