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expert reaction to unpublished conference abstract on anti-inflammatory treatment in healthy male volunteers and effect on blood sugar

A conference abstract, presented at the Society for Endocrinology annual conference, reports a possible relationship between certain anti-inflammatory treatments and blood sugar levels.


Dr Katarina Kos, Senior Lecturer in Diabetes and Obesity, University of Exeter, said:

“Glucocorticoids are common anti-inflammatory therapies and steroid hormones are part of the natural stress response. The presented research is based on observing 16 people for 7 days to establish that sugar metabolism is challenged at moderate doses with oral intake. This is clinically already well recognised by doctors who prescribe these treatments as well as diabetes doctors. Steroids are only prescribed for limited time periods in order to balance their benefit to potential harm. As they are essential to the natural stress response, people who have a deficit in natural steroid production require higher doses during infections and illness and are required to increase their supplementation doses as laid out in a ‘sick day rule’ plan. Whether repeat use of steroid therapy above physiological doses increases the risk of diabetes in longer term has not been examined in this 7 day study of Professor Pofi. Steroids are not be prescribed without indication unless absolute necessary. Steroids should not be taken without prescription due to their side effects, the effect on blood sugar and worsening diabetes control for those with diabetes is just one of its adverse effects.”


‘Glucocorticoid treatment is associated with dose-dependent effects in healthy male volunteers’ by Riccardo Pofi et al. will be presented at the Society for Endocrinology annual conference. The embargo is 00.01 UK time Tuesday 12 November.


Declared interests

Dr Katarina Kos:  I have no conflict of interest.

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