Steroid hyperglycemia: Prevalence, early detection and therapeutic recommendations: A narrative review

World J Diabetes. 2015 Jul 25;6(8):1073-81. doi: 10.4239/wjd.v6.i8.1073.


Steroids are drugs that have been used extensively in a variety of conditions. Although widely prescribed for their anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties, glucocorticoids have several side effects, being hyperglycemia one of the most common and representative. In the present review, we discuss the main epidemiologic characteristics associated with steroid use, with emphasis on the identification of high risk populations. Additionally we present the pathophysiology of corticosteroid induced hyperglycemia as well as the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics associated with steroid use. We propose a treatment strategy based on previous reports and the understanding of the mechanism of action of both, the different types of glucocorticoids and the treatment options, in both the ambulatory and the hospital setting. Finally, we present some of the recent scientific advances as well as some options for future use of glucocorticoids.

Keywords: Diabetes mellitus; Hyperglycemia; Insulin; Steroid; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Review