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Inhalers Linked to Higher Odds of Diabetes in Asthma, COPD Patients
Date:12/16/2010

THURSDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients who are treated with inhaled corticosteroids may face a significantly higher relative risk for both the development and progression of diabetes, new Canadian research suggests.

The warning stems from an analysis of data involving more than 380,000 respiratory patients in Quebec. Inhaler use was associated with a 34 percent increase in the rate of new diabetes diagnoses and diabetes progression, the researchers found.

What's more, asthma and COPD patients treated with the highest dose inhalers appear to face even higher diabetes-related risks: a 64 percent jump in the onset of diabetes and a 54 percent rise in diabetes progression.

"High doses of inhaled corticosteroids commonly used in patients with COPD are associated with an increase in the risk of requiring treatment for diabetes and of having to intensify therapy to include insulin," the study team noted in a news release.

Based on their results, researchers from McGill University and the Lady Davis Research Institute at Jewish General Hospital in Montreal suggest "patients instituting therapy 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."

Lead investigator Samy Suissa colleagues report their findings in the most recent issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The research team wrote that despite the fact that inhalers are recommended for use solely by the most severely ill COPD patients, they are typically prescribed for a much broader pool that amounts to about 70 percent of all COPD patients.

The authors found that more than 30,000 of the COPD/asthma patients in their study developed a new diagnosis diabetes over the course of five and a half years of treatment. This amoun
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