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HomeHealth & FitnessDiabetes Medications Linked to Multiple Sclerosis: New Study Uncovers Surprising Connection

Diabetes Medications Linked to Multiple Sclerosis: New Study Uncovers Surprising Connection

Anti-hyperglycemic medications are used to lower blood sugar levels in people with high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia. These medications can be used to treat conditions such as diabetes, prediabetes, and gestational diabetes. They work by decreasing the amount of sugar produced by the liver, increasing the sensitivity of muscle and fat cells to insulin, or helping the body use sugar more effectively.

The University of Arizona Center for Innovation in Brain Science conducted a study to investigate whether taking medication for Type 2 diabetes increases the likelihood of developing multiple sclerosis.

According to a study from the University of Arizona Health Sciences, people over the age of 45 with Type 2 diabetes who were treated with anti-hyperglycemic medications had a higher risk of developing multiple sclerosis, particularly among women. However, the study also found that in people under the age of 45, anti-hyperglycemic exposure actually reduced the risk of multiple sclerosis.

“Our findings reinforce the need for a precision medicine approach to preventing MS in these vulnerable populations,” said lead researcher Kathleen Rodgers, Ph.D., associate director of translational neuroscience at the Center for Innovation in Brain Science.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable autoimmune neurological disorder that affects the central nervous system and leads to severe physical and cognitive disability. It is estimated that nearly 1 million adults in the U.S. and more than 2.8 million worldwide are living with MS.

For people with Type 2 diabetes, there is mounting evidence linking metabolic disorders and MS through a common driver of increased autoimmunity. This brings into question the impact of anti-hyperglycemic therapeutics used to treat Type 2 diabetes, including <span class="glossaryLink" aria-describedby="tt" data-cmtooltip="

Insulin is a hormone that regulates the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood. It is produced by the pancreas and released into the bloodstream when the level of glucose in the blood rises, such as after a meal. Insulin helps to transport glucose from the bloodstream into the cells, where it can be used for energy or stored for later use. Insulin also helps to regulate the metabolism of fat and protein. In individuals with diabetes, their body doesn't produce enough insulin or doesn't respond properly to insulin, leading to high blood sugar levels, which can lead to serious health problems if left untreated.

” data-gt-translate-attributes='[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]’>insulin, on the incidence of MS.

“Previous research has shown a neuroprotective effect of anti-hyperglycemic medications in <span class="glossaryLink" aria-describedby="tt" data-cmtooltip="

Alzheimer's disease is a disease that attacks the brain, causing a decline in mental ability that worsens over time. It is the most common form of dementia and accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. There is no current cure for Alzheimer's disease, but there are medications that can help ease the symptoms.

” data-gt-translate-attributes='[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]’>Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias,” Dr. Rodgers said. “For MS, we wanted to further examine age and sex differences, particularly among men and women under 45 with Type 2 diabetes.”

They found that men older than 45 years old had a slightly significant increase of MS risk and women older than 45 years exhibited a significant increase in MS incidence after anti-hyperglycemic exposure. In addition to age differences, the risk analysis by drug class showed that exposure to insulin in patients older than 45 years old was associated with a greater increased risk compared with other therapies.

In patients younger than 45, anti-hyperglycemic exposure was protective against the development of MS.

The study utilized a U.S.-based insurance claims database of 151 million participants to identify more than 5 million patients with a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes and either early-onset or late-onset MS. Researchers segmented the data by age – patients diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes prior to or after age 45 – and sex to decode the factors driving MS risk in both populations, especially in women over 45 years of age.

Reference: “Age and sex differences on anti-hyperglycemic medication exposure and risk of newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis in propensity score matched type 2 diabetics” by Gregory L. Branigan, Georgina Torrandell-Haro, Francesca Vitali, Roberta Diaz Brinton and Kathleen Rodgers, 1 October 2022, Heliyon.
DOI: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e11196

The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, both divisions of the National Institutes of Health.



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