Early diagnosis and treatment of steroid-induced diabetes mellitus in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and other connective tissue diseases

Mod Rheumatol. 2014 Jan;24(1):52-9. doi: 10.3109/14397595.2013.852855.


Purpose: To reveal how often patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or any of other connective tissue diseases (CTDs) who take prednisolone (PSL) manifest postprandial hyperglycemia, and to evaluate the effects of divided daily dose administration of PSL, and of acarbose and nateglinide, on RA patients.

Method: The blood sugar (BS) levels of the patients were measured after meals. For in-patients who showed postprandial hyperglycemia, the daily dose of PSL was divided and nateglinide and/or acarbose were/was added if their BS levels did not improve sufficiently. The patients with BS levels that were well controlled for three months were compared with the patients with poorly controlled BS levels.

Results: The BS levels of 78 patients, including 16 patients with diabetes mellitus (DM), were measured after meals, and 27 of them were newly diagnosed with DM. Five of 14 patients who took a steady dose of PSL showed high BS levels after lunch (over 200 mg/dl) without elevated HbA1c. The combination therapy of divided-dose PSL and nateglinide and/or acarbose improved postprandial hyperglycemia significantly. The period from the start of PSL administration to intervention was significantly longer in patients with good control at three months than the corresponding period in those with poor control.

Conclusion: The prevalence of postprandial hyperglycemia was high in patients with RA/CTD taking PSL; accordingly, measurement of the BS level after each meal was valuable. Combination therapy of divided-dose PSL and nateglinide and/or acarbose improved postprandial hyperglycemia.

MeSH terms

  • Acarbose / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antirheumatic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Blood Glucose
  • Connective Tissue Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Cyclohexanes / therapeutic use
  • Diabetes Mellitus / chemically induced
  • Diabetes Mellitus / diagnosis*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / chemically induced
  • Hyperglycemia / diagnosis*
  • Hyperglycemia / drug therapy
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nateglinide
  • Phenylalanine / analogs & derivatives
  • Phenylalanine / therapeutic use
  • Prednisolone / adverse effects*
  • Prednisolone / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Blood Glucose
  • Cyclohexanes
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Nateglinide
  • Phenylalanine
  • Prednisolone
  • Acarbose