Objective—Gut microbiota influence metabolic pathways relevant to the pathogenesis of obesity, insulin-resistance and diabetes. Antibiotic therapy can alter the microbiota and is commonly used in western countries. We sought to evaluate whether past antibiotic exposure increases diabetes risk. Research design and methods—We conducted a nested case-control study using a large population-based database from the United Kingdom (UK). Cases were defined as those with incident diagnosis of diabetes. For every case, 4 eligible controls matched on age, sex, practice-site, and duration of follow-up before index-date were selected using incidence-density sampling. Exposure of interest was antibiotic therapy >1 year before index-date. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using conditional logistic regression. The risk was adjusted for body mass index (BMI), smoking, last glucose level and number of infections before index-date, as well as past medical history of coronary artery disease and hyperlipidemia. Results—The study included 208,002 diabetic cases and 815,576 matched controls. Exposure to a single antibiotic prescription was not associated with higher adjusted diabetes risk. Treatment with 2–5 antibiotic courses was associated with increase in diabetic risk for penicillin, cephalosporins, macrolides and quinolones with adjusted OR ranging from 1.08 (95%CI 1.05– 1.11) for penicillin to 1.15 (95%CI 1.08–1.23) for quinolones. The risk increased with the number of antibiotic courses and reached 1.37 (95%CI 1.19–1.58) for >5 courses of quinolones. There was no association between exposure to anti-virals and anti-fungals and diabetes risk.
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