Published on 14 January 2022

University of Oxford researchers looking for two volunteers who will be paid for their time.

Researchers at the University of Oxford are looking for two people living with diabetes who are taking steroids to find out more about how the treatment can affect blood sugar levels. 

Dr Rajna Golubic, NIHR Clinical Lecturer and Specialty Registrar in Diabetes and Endocrinology at the University of Oxford, said: “This exciting opportunity is about acting as a member of PPI-group (public and patient involvement) for a project we are currently proposing for NIHR funding (Research for Patient Benefit) with the purpose to better understand and manage blood sugar in people using steroids.” 

Steroids are drugs that are commonly prescribed to treat certain conditions. Steroids can cause health problems including diabetes and high blood sugar in people with diabetes. 

It is not currently possible to predict who will develop diabetes, or have high blood sugar if they have diabetes or be admitted to hospital with a diabetes-related problem. While there are some tests available for doctors to predict who will develop diabetes, these do not include information on steroids and can underestimate the risk of developing diabetes in people using steroids. Researchers hope the proposed study will provide them with the knowledge to help patients and doctors make better decisions about diabetes care and improve patients’ quality of life. 

The aims of the study include: 

· To predict who is at risk of new diabetes and which people with diabetes will develop high blood sugar while using steroids. 

· To examine blood sugar levels and use of medications for blood sugar in people taking steroids. 

· To see who is likely to need hospital admission with dangerously high blood sugar when using steroids. 

· In people with diabetes, to see if taking steroids is associated with diabetes-related complications. 

Dr Golubic said: “We will obtain large numbers of patient records from GPs and hospitals and look at the data. We will develop risk scores for new diabetes and for worsening blood sugar in people with diabetes when using steroids. We will look at how patients and doctors feel about new risk scores. They will be interviewed by a researcher, online or in person. The team has expertise and experience in these methods. We are looking for two patient representatives to join our team as PPI members.” 

If successfully funded the study project is scheduled to run from March 2023 to March 2025. 

Confirmation of the volunteers involved is required as part of the grant application. 

Dr Golubic added: “We held a discussion with patients who told us that blood sugar issues associated with steroids are an important part of decision making in diabetes care. They were 

disappointed that there wasn’t much information available about how steroids affect blood sugar and that doctors don’t pay much attention to blood sugar when patients take steroids. 

They felt strongly that patients need to be warned about the risks of worsening blood sugar or new diabetes when taking steroids. 

“We will recruit two people from our PPI-group in Oxford and are looking for two more members to recruit. One member will act as PPI-lead and attend steering committee meetings where PPI will be a standing agenda item. We will discuss the progress, results, and address all PPI-feedback. PPI-members will lead the writing of the study material for patients and final lay summaries. 

“We will recognise their contributions through co-authorship of the material and acknowledgement. PPI-members will lead the national dissemination event intended for people with diabetes, people using steroids and other stakeholders. PPI-members will be compensated for their time and all activities.” 

If you are interested in participating in this study, please contact Dr Rajna Golubic at the University of Oxford by email 
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