Glucocorticoid-induced hyperglycemia

Am J Med Sci. 2013 Apr;345(4):274-277. doi: 10.1097/MAJ.0b013e31828a6a01.


Objectives: Provide treatment guidelines for glucocorticoid-induced hyperglycemia and to understand the clinical implications of glucocorticoid-induced hyperglycemia.

Methods: The authors analyzed an electronic search (Medline) and a literature review of the pertinent articles published from 1980 to September 2012.

Results: In patients treated with glucocorticoids, the odds ratio for development of new-onset diabetes mellitus has been reported to be 1.36 to 2.31. The prevalence of abnormal glucose metabolism in post renal transplant patients taking glucocorticoids has been reported to be 17% to 32%. Sustained glucocorticoid treatment increases the potential for future cardiovascular disease through multiple pathways, resulting in a trade-off between benefit and harm. Complications related to glucocorticoid treatments are associated with the total glucocorticoid dose and duration of therapy. Other risk factors include age and body mass index. Understanding the pharmacodynamics and clinical implications of glucocorticoid-induced hyperglycemia can promote recognition and improvement of its treatment.

Conclusions: Glucocorticoid-induced hyperglycemia has significant clinical implications in patients with diabetes mellitus and without diabetes mellitus. Early recognition and proper proactive management of glucocorticoid-induced hyperglycemia should enhance care for patients receiving glucocorticoid treatment. Furthermore, treatment has been effective for both the inpatient and the outpatient settings.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Glucocorticoids / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / chemically induced*
  • Hyperglycemia / drug therapy
  • Hyperglycemia / epidemiology
  • Hyperglycemia / physiopathology
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Incidence


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Hypoglycemic Agents