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Diabetes

Prednisone & blood sugar

08/10/2009

Question:

My endrocrinologist tells me that prednisone can permanently affect diabetes and insisted that I stop taking it immediately. My gp prescribed it, knowing I had diabetes. My gp tells me it will only raise blood sugar for a few weeks. Who is correct?

Answer:

I don't think this situation is so simple that one of them is right and the other wrong and I would need more information in order to give valuable insight.  Prednisone use is sometimes necessary in people with diabetes when there are not other suitable alternatives but it may be at the cost of worsening diabetes; taken in "large enough" doses for "long enough," it may well have permanent effects.  It can some times be used for limited periods of time and in small enough amounts that it will have no long range effect.  I would not be able to give an answer that would apply in a hard and fast manner in all situations.  Suffice it to say that there are risks associated with it and there can be situations in which the benefits cannot readily otherwise be obtained and each situation involves balancing both of those.

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Response by:

Robert M Cohen, MD Robert M Cohen, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati