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Effect of intranasal steroids on glucose and hemoglobin A1c levels in diabetic patients

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Intranasal steroids are widely used for the treatment of inflammatory diseases of the nose and sinuses such as rhinosinusitis, allergic rhinitis, and nonallergic rhinitis. Along with the general otherwise healthy population, many diabetic patients use intranasal steroids as well. This study was designed to evaluate the adverse effects of long-term treatment with intranasal corticosteroid preparations in diabetic patients.


The study group included all diabetic patients treated with intranasal steroids for at least 3 months at primary care clinics in Clalit Health Services Central District in Israel in 2002‐2007. The central database had been reviewed for demographic data, medical history, medications, and laboratory test results.


A total of 1768 diabetic patients were treated with topical nasal steroid sprays during the study period. Data on hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels both before and during steroid treatment was available for 245 patients, and data on fasting serum glucose levels at both time points was available for 163 patients. On statistical analysis, there was no change in either measure from baseline to 3 months after starting treatment (p = 0.104 and p = 0.101, respectively). Treatment with triamcinolone acetonide was associated with a significantly greater increase in fasting serum glucose levels than other preparations (p = 0.006).


Intranasal corticosteroids seem to have no adverse effects on HbA1c and serum glucose levels in diabetic patients. Their long-term use appears to be safe, provided that the patients are carefully monitored, especially those receiving triamcinolone acetonide.
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Keywords: Adverse effects; HbA1c; allergic rhinitis; diabetes; glucose; intranasal steroids; nonallergic rhinitis; rhinosinusitis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Otorhinolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Rabin Medical Center, Petach Tikva and Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel

Publication date: 2012-09-01

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