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Do Antibiotics Raise Risk of a Diabetes Diagnosis?

A new research study has shown a correlation between excessive antibiotic prescriptions and being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania looked at prescription records from 200,000 diabetes patients in the UK and compared them to antibiotic prescriptions given to 800,000 non-diabetics.

In an interview with Type 2 Nation, lead researcher Dr. Ben Boursi said that patients given at least two courses of an antibiotic showed a notably higher risk of diabetes development.

“Different antibiotics have different effects,” says Boursi. “Some have higher risk factors.”

After two to five penicillin courses, risk of diagnosis rose by 8%, then almost tripled to 23% after five rounds, the study found. Two to five courses of quinolones, another popular class of antibiotics, yielded a 15% increased risk, with the risk shooting to 37% for people on a fifth course.

Boursi was careful to say that people shouldn’t avoid antibiotic use altogether. He said that clinical studies would need to be conducted to understand the relationship between different antibiotics and the development of diabetes. However, these preliminary results point to the need to curb unnecessary use of antibiotics.

“There are a lot of situations between physicians and patients that are being handled with too much ease,” Boursi explains. “Patients tend to push physicians to prescribe antibiotics when they aren’t necessary.”

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Travis served as a staff writer for Insulin Nation and Type 2 Nation in 2015. Previously, he was a staff writer for Insight, a high school newspaper, as well as a copywriter for The Emersonian, Emerson's yearbook.

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