Effect of nebulized albuterol on blood glucose in patients with diabetes mellitus with and without cystic fibrosis

Pediatr Pulmonol. 2005 Aug;40(2):105-8. doi: 10.1002/ppul.20263.


Over 90% of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients are treated with bronchodilators, and 6% have diabetes. Some with asthma also have diabetes, and most are treated with bronchodilators. Systemic administration of adrenergic agents can cause increases in blood glucose, but the effect of inhaled agents is unclear. A double-blind study was performed on 10 patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM) without CF (3 male, 7 female, mean age 25.5 years) and 9 patients with insulin-dependent CF-related diabetes (CFRD) (8 male, 1 female, mean age 21.9 years). On 2 separate days before 9 AM fasting and the morning dose of insulin, 2.5 mg of albuterol or nebulized placebo were given. Blood glucose was measured by finger stick with a glucose reflectance meter before and 15, 30, 45, and 60 min after treatment. No significant changes from baseline or differences between placebo and albuterol occurred in either group. The mean maximum increase from baseline in DM was 20 mg/dl on placebo, and 38 mg/dl on albuterol; in the CFRD, the respective changes were 7 and 7 mg/dl. Two DM patients had a > 50 mg/dl increase on albuterol vs. placebo; no CFRD patients had differences of such magnitude. DM patients had greater increases from baseline than CFRD patients on placebo and albuterol. Differences reached statistical significance at 30 and 45 min on placebo, and 45 min on albuterol. Albuterol 2.5 mg by nebulizer causes no clinically significant increases in blood glucose in DM or CFRD patients. Diabetes patients without CF have a significantly greater increase of glucose with time (placebo or albuterol) than CFRD patients.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Albuterol / adverse effects
  • Albuterol / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects*
  • Bronchodilator Agents / adverse effects
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers
  • Placebos


  • Blood Glucose
  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Placebos
  • Albuterol