HealthDay News— Epidural steroid injections (ESIs) significantly increase the blood glucose levels in patients with diabetes mellitus, but the effect lasts less than two days, according to a study published in the Jan. 1 issue of Spine.

Jesse L. Even, MD, of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., and colleagues conducted a prospective study in which they enrolled patients with diabetes who were scheduled for an ESI. They collected the patient’s most recent hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) and asked the participants to track their blood glucose numbers at least twice per day for two weeks prior to and after their ESIs.

The researchers found a statistically significant increase in blood glucose levels in diabetes patients after ESI. The mean blood glucose level prior to ESI was 160.18 ± 47.46 and, after ESI, it was 286.13 ± 111.11. Using a nonlinear mixed effect model, the estimated half-life of this increase was 1.06 days, indicating that patients were back within their normal standard deviation mean glucose levels within two days of injection. There was no association between observed glucose level change and preinjection HbA1c levels or age.

“ESIs were noted to cause a significant increase in the blood glucose levels in diabetics. There was no correlation between preinjection diabetic control, represented by HbA1c levels, and postinjection response,” the authors write.

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