A certain type of antibiotics, fluoroquinolones, could raise the risk of both short and long term complications, including dysglycemia and neuropathy, in people with diabetes.
Examples of fluoroquinolone medication used in the UK include ciprofloxacin and norfloxacin. The medicines have powerful antibacterial action and may be used to treat bacterial infections linked with urinary tract infections (UTIs), gastroenteritis and some sexually transmitted illnesses (STIs). In people with diabetes, fluoroquinolones may also be used to treat bacterial growth in the gut as a result of gastroparesis.
In terms of the short term complications, a study carried out by researchers at the National Taiwan University in Taipei reviewed 78,000 people with diabetes showed that these antibiotics were associated with increased rates of too high blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia) and too low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia).
Rates of both high and low blood glucose levels were more than double that of people taking another class of antibiotics (macrolides).
These results come at the same time as the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) declaring that fluoroquinolones could be linked with peripheral neuropathy.
Peripheral neuropathy is a long term complication of diabetes that can lead reduced nerve sensitivity, particularly in the feet and hands.
The warning issued by the FDA applies to fluoroquinolone medications that are taken either orally or by injectio, which is common when treating bacterial infections in the intestines or urinary tract.
People with diabetes in the UK should take the medication if advised by their doctor but may wish to discuss alternative options if they have problems controlling blood glucose levels on the medication or have a history of neuropathy or develop any signs whilst on these drugs.

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