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Antibiotic exposure implicated in type 2 diabetes in women

28 Sep 2020

Long-term use of antibiotic may put women at increased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D), a study suggests.

Researchers looked at 114,210 women, of whom 50,810 were from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS 2008–2014) and 63,400 were from NHS II (2009–2017). There were 37,700 individuals in the NHS cohort and 48,804 in the NHS II cohort who had documented antibiotic exposure in the past 4 years.

T2D occurred in 1,031 NHS participants during 260,765 person-years of follow-up and in 1,806 NHS II participants during 443,169 person-years of follow-up. The corresponding annual incidence rates were 4.07 and 3.95 per 1,000 person-years.

Multivariable Cox proportional hazards analysis showed that in the pooled population, the risk of developing T2D was elevated among medium-term antibiotic users (15 days to 2 months; hazard ratio [HR], 1.14, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.96–1.37) and long-term users (>2 months; HR, 1.17, 95 percent CI, 0.91–1.50) as compared with nonusers.

Subgroup analyses indicated that the associations were unlikely to be modified by age, family history of diabetes, obesity, smoking, alcohol drinking, physical activity, and overall diet quality.

In light of the present data, the researchers urged physicians to exercise caution when prescribing antibiotics, particularly for long-term treatment, in women. Still, additional prospective studies are needed for validation.

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