Intended for healthcare professionals


Steroids, diabetes, . . . and other stories

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: (Published 27 June 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l4290

Topical steroid use and type 2 diabetes

Treatment with glucocorticosteroids is well known to precipitate type 2 diabetes. A series of population based studies from the UK and Denmark finds that this is true even for topical preparations used to treat inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis (Diabetes Care doi:10.2337/dc18-2158). People who had been prescribed topical corticosteroids had a roughly 25% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and the risk was higher if they received more potent preparations. But in absolute terms the hazard is small—the equivalent of two extra cases of diabetes for every 1000 people exposed. …

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