Israeli research: Steroid use linked to low blood sugar

Findings point to side effect of steroids not previously described in medical literature.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Dr. Yisrael Hanimov and Dr. Eyal Leibowitz
Dr. Yisrael Hanimov and Dr. Eyal Leibowitz
Ronit Daviev

In an Israeli study involving more than 45,000 patients, use of steroids (glucocorticoids) was found to be associated with an increase in low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) among the hospitalized population.

Steroids are a family of drugs one of which's roles is to weaken the inflammatory response of the body. They have been used for a variety of medical conditions since their discovery in the 1940s. One of the common uses of steroids is in autoimmune diseases, ie. diseases in which the body's immune system works against the body's own cells.

However, the use of steroids is also associated with side effects of various degrees of severity, which sometimes make it difficult to continue taking the drugs.

In a new study led by Dr. Yisrael Hanimov and Dr. Eyal Leibowitz, published last week in the prestigious American Journal of Medicine and involving 45,272 patients, steroid use was linked to an increase in the prevalence of hypoglycemia in patients admitted to the internal wards.

The findings may indicate a new side effect of steroids not yet described in the medical literature.