A new study found that found that statin therapy – statins of all types – is associated with an 50% increased risk for diabetes. Doctors often prescribe statins for patients with high cholesterol to reduce their risk of a heart attack or stroke. Various medications that include statins can lower your blood cholesterol levels.For patients with high or abnormal cholesterol levels the benefits may outweigh the risks of complications such as diabetes. While statins are very effective at lowering risk for heart disease and stroke, there are significant potential side effects and not everybody benefits, particularly those who are at a low risk for developing coronary artery disease (CAD).
As diabetes is an independent risk for CAD, this poses a particular concern for otherwise low-risk patients who take a statin only because of advancing age. Another study found only limited evidence that primary prevention with statins in those patients may be cost effective and improve patient quality of life.
1. Increased Diabetes Mellitus Risk With Statin Use: Tipping the Balance: Comment on “Statin Use and Risk of Diabetes Mellitus in Postmenopausal Women in the Women’s Health Initiative”, Kirsten L. Johansen Arch Intern Med. 2012;0(2012):20116231-9.
2. Statins for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Taylor, Fiona. Ward, et all, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 4, 2011)