Diabetes on Top of COPD?

Inhaled corticosteroids used to treat COPD shown to increase diabetes risk

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Inhaled corticosteroids, which are used to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), may be associated with diabetes development and progression.

A new study from McGill University and the Lady Davis Institute of the Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, found that inhaled corticosteroids were associated with a 34 percent increase in the rate of diabetes onset and in the rate of diabetes progression. For those who took the highest inhaled doses, that risk jumped to 64 percent in diabetes onset and 54 percent in diabetes progression.

The study analyzed data from more than 380,000 patients treated for respiratory diseases. Of those patients, 30,167 of them developed diabetes during 5 and one-half years of follow-up and another 2099 progressed from oral hypoglycemic treatment to insulin.

"Patients instituting therapy (for COPD) with high doses of inhaled corticosteroids should be assessed for possible hyperglycemia and treatment with high doses of inhaled corticosteroids limited to situations where the benefit is clear," said lead investigator Samy Suissa, PhD, Center for Clinical Epidemiology at Lady Davis.

More than 70 percent of patients with COPD use inhaled corticosteroids.

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Review Date: 
December 15, 2010
Last Updated:
December 15, 2010