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Statins may increase risk of developing type 2 diabetes: New study


Doug Hendrie


6/03/2019 3:57:27 PM

People taking statins to manage their cholesterol levels may be more likely to develop diabetes over time, according to a large new Dutch analysis.

Diabetes risk is elevated among people who use statins, new study finds.
Diabetes risk is elevated among people who use statins, new study finds.

The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology population-based cohort study, ‘Diabetes-risk associated with statin use,’ analysed the medical histories of 9535 people from the population-based Rotterdam Study over the age of 45 who did not have diabetes.
 
The study followed the histories of participants for 15 years, and found those who had used statins were 38% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes during the study period, with obese and overweight people or those with an impaired glucose balance the most at risk.
 
The study does not show statins actually cause the increased risk of diabetes.
 
Compared with participants who never used statins, those who used statins also tended to have higher concentrations of serum fasting insulin and insulin resistance.
 
‘The findings suggest that in patients who initiate statin therapy, preventive strategies such as blood sugar control and weight loss may be warranted for minimising the risk of diabetes,’ senior author
Professor Bruno Stricker of the Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands said.
 
The study states that ‘rigorous preventive strategies such as glucose control and weight reduction in patients when initiating statin therapy might help minimising the risk of diabetes.’
 
The risk in this study was much higher than a recent meta-analysis of 29 randomised clinical trials, which showed a 12% significantly increased risk.
 
‘However, use under everyday circumstances differs from use in a clinical trial setting with its homogeneous population and short follow up,’ the study states.
 
Chair of the RACGP Specific Interests Diabetes network, Dr Gary Deed, told newsGP that this study adds to the evidence base.
 
‘It’s just a reminder that in managing cardiovascular risk, we need to address whole-of-patient factors, such as weight management and blood pressure, which possibly lowers the risk of diabetes, as well as just using statin therapy.

'All medications have risk, but there’s obvious benefit [with statins] for those at high risk of cardiovascular disease, or those with existing disease.’



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Matthew Harvey   7/03/2019 9:10:01 AM

To the Editor, and Mr Hendrie,
The sensationalist title of your article is perhaps better suited to a tabloid publication than to an official publication of a specialist medical college that strives to maintain a professional image. Your article title creates a “post hoc propter ergo hoc” logical fallacy and leads the unwary reader to conclude that statins are inherently bad. It would be less disingenuous to report that people whose genetic and unmitigated lifestyle factors that necessitate statin use are also at risk of T2DM. But we already knew that, and that’s why we prescribed the statin, the ACE inhibitor and provided dietary, exercise and lifestyle advice. Please lift your game.


Peter   7/03/2019 2:13:07 PM

Funny, I was just thinking that also.


Anthony   7/03/2019 3:45:52 PM

Got to agree with Matthew Harvey wholeheartedly...


Jo   10/03/2019 1:58:54 PM

Agree with Mathew Harvey. You already have metabolic syndrome and are at increased risk of T2DM any way. What's a statin got to do with it. I don't think there is any direct link.


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