Hypoglycemia Associated with Antibiotics Alone and in Combination with Sulfonylureas and Meglitinides: An Epidemiologic Surveillance Study of the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS)

Kaitlin E. Kennedy, Chengwen Teng, Taylor M. Patek, Christopher R. Frei

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Introduction: Fluoroquinolones, clarithromycin, linezolid, tigecycline, cefditoren, doxycycline, and trimethoprim–sulfamethoxazole are known to be associated with hypoglycemia, but few studies have considered concomitant glucose-lowering medications. Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between hypoglycemia and antibiotics using the US Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS), while accounting for concomitant glucose-lowering medications including sulfonylureas and meglitinides. Methods: FAERS reports from 1 January 2004 to 31 December 2017 were included in the study. Reporting odds ratios (RORs) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association between antibiotics and hypoglycemia were calculated. An association was considered to be statistically significant when the lower limit of the 95% CI was > 1.0. Results: A total of 2,334,959 reports (including 18,466 hypoglycemia reports) were considered, after inclusion criteria were applied. Statistically significant hypoglycemia RORs (95% CI) for antibiotics were: cefditoren 14.03 (8.93–22.03), tigecycline 3.32 (1.95–5.65), clarithromycin 2.41 (1.89–3.08), ertapenem 2.07 (1.14–3.75), moxifloxacin 2.06 (1.59–2.65), levofloxacin 1.66 (1.37–2.01), and linezolid 1.54 (1.07–2.20). After adjusting for concomitant sulfonylureas and meglitinides, the following antibiotics were still significantly associated with hypoglycemia: cefditoren 14.25 (9.08–22.39), tigecycline 3.34 (1.96–5.68), ertapenem 1.93 (1.03–3.60), and clarithromycin 1.56 (1.15–2.11). Conclusion: In many patients, antibiotics, including fluoroquinolones, are associated with hypoglycemia when they are also taking sulfonylureas or meglitinides. Cefditoren, tigecycline, ertapenem, and clarithromycin are associated with hypoglycemia even if not taken with sulfonylureas or meglitinides. The association between ertapenem and hypoglycemia has not been previously reported.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    JournalDrug Safety
    StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Toxicology
    • Pharmacology
    • Pharmacology (medical)

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