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Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics Linked to Blood Sugar Problems


August 23, 2013 — Some of the most popular antibiotics have been linked to an increased risk of blood-sugar swings in patients with diabetes. According to a study published earlier this month in Clinical Infectious Diseases, the fluoroquinolone antibiotics Cipro, Avelox, and Levaquin have the highest risk of hyperglycemia (high blood-sugar) and hypoglycemia (low blood-sugar).

The study was conducted by researchers from Taiwan who analyzed records on 78,000 people with diabetes who were prescribed an antibiotic from January 2006 and November 2007. They looked at the rate of emergency room visits and hospitalizations for hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia within 30 days of using the antibiotic.

They found that the absolute risk was low — less than 1% of diabetic patients who took a fluoroquinolone. However, millions of people are prescribed these medications, and other antibiotics in the study were associated with lower risks for diabetics. The researchers warned:

“Our results identified moxifloxacin as the drug associated with the highest risk of hypoglycemia, followed by levofloxacin and ciprofloxacin. Other antibiotics should be considered if dysglycemia is a concern, such as a beta lactam or macrolide.”

The increased popularity of antibiotics in the fluoroquinolone class has led to concern about serious side effects. All of these drugs contain fluoride, a potent neurotoxin, as a central part of their chemical structure. Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warnings about peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage).

Fluoroquinolone antibiotics include:

  • Cipro (ciprofloxacin)
  • Factive (gemifloxacin)
  • Levaquin (levofloxacin)
  • Avelox (moxifloxacin)
  • Noroxin (norfloxacin)
  • And more


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