Update: Statins may increase diabetes risk

Statins may increase the risk of developing diabetes, cautions a study in Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety.

Previous systematic reviews and meta-analyses concluded that statins increased the likelihood of developing diabetes by about 9 per cent. The new meta-analysis of 29 trials involving about 1.63m people concluded that statins increased the risk by 12 per cent.

Atorvastatin 80mg increased the likelihood of developing diabetes by 34 per cent compared to placebo, while rosuvastatin increased the risk by 17 per cent. Atorvastatin 80mg increased significantly the risk of diabetes compared to pravastatin (29 per cent increase), simvastatin (18 per cent increase) and low-dose atorvastatin (19 per cent increase).

The changes in risk with simvastatin 80mg (21 per cent increase), simvastatin (13 per cent increase), atorvastatin (13 per cent increase), pravastatin (4 per cent increase), lovastatin (2 per cent reduction) and pitavastatin (26 per cent reduction) were not statistically significant.

The authors concluded that there is “a small increased risk of incident diabetes, particularly with more intensive statin therapy”. The study, however, considered only new diabetes cases and not exacerbations of diabetes-related complications. Further studies are needed to increase the robustness of the findings.

(DOI:10.1002/pds.4020)

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