Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Association between topical corticosteroid use and type 2 diabetes in two European population-based adult cohorts

Andersen, Yuki M.F.; Egeberg, Alexander; Ban, Lu; Gran, Sonia; Williams, Hywel C.; Francis, Nick A.; Knop, Filip K.; Gislason, Gunnar H.; Skov, Lone; Thyssen, Jacob P.

Association between topical corticosteroid use and type 2 diabetes in two European population-based adult cohorts Thumbnail


Yuki M.F. Andersen

Alexander Egeberg

Lu Ban

Associate Professor

Profile Image

Professor of Dermato-Epidemiology

Nick A. Francis

Filip K. Knop

Gunnar H. Gislason

Lone Skov

Jacob P. Thyssen


Topical corticosteroids (CS) are commonly used to treat inflammatory skin conditions including eczema and psoriasis. While topical CS package inserts describe hyperglycaemia and glycosuria as adverse drug reactions, it is unclear whether topical CS use in real life is also associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Two matched case-control studies and one cohort study were conducted using routinely collected healthcare data from Denmark the UK. A total of 115,218 and 54,944 adults were identified as cases with new onset T2D in the Danish and UK case-control study, respectively. For the Danish cohort study, 2,689,473 adults were included. The main exposure was topical CS and the outcome was incident T2D.

Topical CS was significantly associated with T2D in the Danish (adjusted OR 1?35; 95% CI 1?33- 1?38) and UK (adjusted OR 1?23; 95% CI 1?19-1?27) case-control studies. Individuals who were exposed to topical CS had significantly increased risk of incident T2D (adjusted HR 1?27; 95% CI 1?26-1?29). We observed significant dose-response relationships between T2D and increasing potency of topical CS in the two Danish studies. The results were consistent across all sensitivity analyses.

We found a positive association between topical CS prescribing and incident T2D in Danish and UK adult populations. Clinicians should be cognizant of possible diabetogenic effects of potent topical CS.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 7, 2019
Online Publication Date Apr 1, 2019
Publication Date Jun 1, 2019
Deposit Date Mar 13, 2019
Publicly Available Date Apr 2, 2020
Journal Diabetes Care
Print ISSN 0149-5992
Electronic ISSN 1935-5548
Publisher American Diabetes Association
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 42
Issue 6
Pages 1095-1103
Public URL
Publisher URL