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From America OnLine:

I have heard that penicillin derivatives such as amoxicillin if given to children under two or one year can give diabetes later in life. Is this true? How many times during a year can a child get penicillin with no risk?


There is no evidence that penicillin or its derivatives trigger the immunological process that ultimately destroys the beta cells in the islets. What may occur, though, is that the stress of the infection(s), for which the penicillin is given, may hasten destruction of the insulin producing cells to the point that exogenous insulin is needed. There have been a number of conditions where penicillin was given prophylactically for months or even years; but the other side of that coin has been the development of penicillin resistant strains of bacteria. Nowadays there are many alternative antibiotics to use.


Original posting 18 Feb 97


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