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Statin use linked to greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes

Statin use could be associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, though this should be weighed against their effect in lowering risk of heart attacks and strokes, researchers say.

Statin use could be associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, though this should be weighed against their effect in lowering risk of heart attacks or strokes, researchers say

Statin use could be associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, researchers say.

The findings come from a long-term follow-up study to a randomised clinical trial of 3,234 participants on the US Diabetes Prevention Programme Outcomes Study.

The trial compared modest lifestyle changes with metformin treatment, aiming to reduce or delay development of type 2 diabetes.

Participants were given advice on diet and exercise and randomly assigned to either an intensive lifestyle programme, treatment with metformin or a placebo.

Annual checks on blood fats and blood pressure, records of statin use and biannual blood glucose measurements were taken.

36%

...

Statin use could be associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, though this should be weighed against their effect in lowering risk of heart attacks or strokes, researchers say


 Statin tablets. Picture: iStock

Statin use could be associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, researchers say.

The findings come from a long-term follow-up study to a randomised clinical trial of 3,234 participants on the US Diabetes Prevention Programme Outcomes Study.

The trial compared modest lifestyle changes with metformin treatment, aiming to reduce or delay development of type 2 diabetes.

Participants were given advice on diet and exercise and randomly assigned to either an intensive lifestyle programme, treatment with metformin or a placebo.

Annual checks on blood fats and blood pressure, records of statin use and biannual blood glucose measurements were taken.

36%

The heightened risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes after taking statins

Source: BMJ

The research found 4% of participants were using statins initially but after ten years around a third used them – with the likelihood of the prescription increasing after diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

Researchers also found a 36% heightened risk of diagnosis after taking statins, compared with those not prescribed drugs.

The authors said there were no firm conclusions on cause and effect, but pointed to experimental research suggesting statins may impair production of insulin.

They warned that diabetes risk needs to be weighed against a significant reduction in risk of heart attack or stroke by taking statins.

The authors suggest: 'Glucose status should be monitored and healthy lifestyle behaviours reinforced in high risk patients who are prescribed statins for cardiovascular disease.'


Crandall J et al (2017) Statin use and risk of developing diabetes: results from the Diabetes Prevention Program. BMJ. doi: 10.1136/bmjdrc-2017-000438

 

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