Diabetes Increases IBD Infection Risk

Patients with inflammatory bowel diseases are sometimes treated with immunosuppressive drugs, particularly if they have a significant co-morbidity. A Boston team of researchers found that when that co-morbidity is diabetes, patients are at greater risk of coming down with infections.

Patients with inflammatory bowel diseases are sometimes treated with immunosuppressive drugs, particularly if they have a significant co-morbidity.

A Boston team of researchers found that when that co-morbidity is diabetes, patients are at greater risk of coming down with infections.

In an abstract presented May 16 at the Digestive Disease Week 2015 conference in Washington, DC, Ashwin Ananthakrishnan, MD, and colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA, and colleagues at other Boston-based institutions looked at 2,766 patients who received at least 1 prescription for immunomodulators. Of those 210 patients developed an infectious complication within a year of the first prescription.

These patients were likely to be older (46 yrs. vs. 41 years) female (58% vs. 52%) and have 1 or more additional co-morbidity.

They were also more likely to have received a prescription for steroids (62% vs. 31%).

Nineteen percent of patients who developed an infection had diabetes. Only 8% of those who did not become infected had diabetes.

The most common infections in both groups were sepsis, pneumonia, cellulitis, and urinary tract infections.

Diabetes was independently associated with a nearly 2-fold increase in risk of infections are adjusting for age, other co-morbidities, and medication.

“Counseling and monitoring for such risks in addition to ensuring appropriate prophylaxis against preventable infections may help improve patient outcomes,” the researchers concluded.