Thiazide Diuretics For High Blood Pressure Treatment May Increase Diabetes Risk
April 02, 2000
It was traditionally believed that some drugs used to treat high blood pressure might cause diabetes. Previous research has suggested that beta-blockers and other drugs called thiazide diuretics may lead to diabetes. However the results of a new study show that beta-blockers are the only blood pressure drugs linked to the disease.
Potential mechanisms by which beta-blockers may contribute to the development of diabetes include weight gain, attenuation of the beta-receptor-mediated release of insulin from pancreatic beta cells, and decreased blood flow through the microcirculation in skeletal-muscle tissue, leading to decreased insulin sensitivity.
The results are based on a study of more than 12,000 people aged 45 to 64 who did not have diabetes. At the start of the study, participants underwent a physical examination, which included blood pressure measurements and an interview about the medications they were taking.
The study also found that just having high blood pressure more than doubles a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which usually begins in adulthood. Interestingly, the data from both short-term and long-term studies indicate that ACE inhibitors may actually improve insulin sensitivity and decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The New England Journal of Medicine 2000;342:905-912, 969-970