Diabetes Forecast

Antibiotics and Type 2 Diabetes Risk

What to Know

People with a greater variety of bacteria types in their gut have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes than those with fewer types of bacteria, according to studies. Does taking antibiotics, which kill bacteria in the body, including in the gut, increase the odds of developing diabetes?

The Study

Researchers in Denmark, which keeps detailed records of prescription drug use, reviewed health information from Danish citizens collected over a span of 13 years. Among them were more than 170,000 people with type 2 diabetes. Researchers matched those people with people of the same age and sex who did not have diabetes. They then compared each group’s use of antibiotics.

The Results

People who had taken two to four courses of antibiotics were 23% more likely to have diabetes than those who not taken any. Five or more courses upped the chances of diabetes by 53%.


The more antibiotics you take, the higher your risk of diabetes appears to be. However, it remains unknown whether antibiotic use causes the risk to go up. It may be that people at risk of diabetes have more infections that require antibiotic treatment. Regardless, researchers do believe that less bacteria in the gut impairs the body’s ability to process glucose.

Use of Antibiotics and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A Population-Based Case-Control Study, by Mikkelsen and Associates. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 2015 100:10, 3633-3640 http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/jc.2015-2696

The information on this screen does not take the place of care from your doctor or other health care provider. If you have general questions about diabetes or diabetes-related research, e-mail askada@diabetes.org or call 1-800-DIABETES (800-342-2382).



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