Dexamethasone increases blood glucose levels in diabetics

November 1, 2007

The use of dexamethasone eye drops following cataract surgery has a greater effect on the blood glucose profile of diabetic subjects than in diabetic subjects treated with diclofenac.

The use of dexamethasone eye drops following cataract surgery has a greater effect on the blood glucose profile of diabetic subjects than in diabetic subjects treated with diclofenac, according to the results of a study published in the September issue of Current Eye Research.

Irit Bahar and colleagues from the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, Israel, randomized 285 patients undergoing cataract surgery to receive treatment with topical dexamethasone or diclofenac for one month. Capillary blood samples were collected prior to surgery, immediately following surgery and one week and one month postoperatively.

The researchers noted a significant increase in blood glucose levels in the diabetic dexamethasone group; 170±55.5 mg/dl preoperatively to 229±76.8 mg-dl one month postoperatively. These levels were significantly higher than those found in the diabetic patients treated with diclofenac drops (p=0.038).

It was the conclusion of the authors that dexamethasone eye drops can induce higher levels of blood glucose in diabetic patients than in those treated with diclofenac.