A widely available class of antacid drugs — called proton pump inhibitors — were found to help improve blood glucose control in people with diabetes, in a new analysis published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
Researchers were interested in looking at whether using these drugs was linked to better glucose control in people who already had diabetes, as well as a lower risk of developing diabetes in people who didn’t have the condition already. They examined these connections by looking at the combined results of seven studies looking at glucose control in people with diabetes, and five studies looking at the risk of developing diabetes. The studies on glucose control were fairly small, with all seven studies involving a total of 342 participants with diabetes. The five studies on diabetes risk, on the other hand, involved a total of 244,439 participants.
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In people with diabetes, taking proton pump inhibitors — a group of drugs that includes omeprazole (brand name Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), pantoprazole (Protonix), and esomeprazole (Nexium) — in addition to standard diabetes therapy was linked to a significant reduction in A1C level (a measure of long-term blood glucose control), by an average of 0.36%. Fasting blood glucose was lower, on average, by 10 mg/dl in people who took these drugs. But in people without diabetes, taking proton pump inhibitors was not linked to a lower risk of developing the condition. Instead, people who took these drugs were 10% more likely to develop diabetes over time — a result that may reflect dietary patterns that contribute to both acid reflux and diabetes, rather than a directly increased diabetes risk from using these drugs.
“People with diabetes should be aware that these commonly used antacid medications may improve their blood sugar control, and providers could consider this glucose-lowering effect when prescribing these medications to their patients,” said study author Kashif Munir, MD, an endocrinologist and associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, in a press release on the study from the Endocrine Society.
Talk to your doctor if you believe you may benefit from taking a proton pump inhibitor for relief from acid reflux, as well as potentially for improved blood glucose control. It’s unclear whether taking these drugs long-term is beneficial in people with diabetes who don’t already have symptoms of acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), and there are no established clinical recommendations for using these drugs specifically for blood glucose control.
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