Diabetes risk 46% higher with statins

In a population-based sample of nearly 9000 non-diabetic men followed for six years, researchers found the likelihood of diabetes diagnosis was 46% higher among those on statin therapy, after adjustment for confounding variables.

“The association of statin use with increased risk of developing diabetes is most likely directly related to statins decreasing both insulin sensitivity and secretion,” the researchers said.

The effect was dose-dependent for simvastatin and atorvastatin, taken by a third and a half of participants, respectively.

Even after adjusting for age, BMI, waist circumference, current smoking, physical activity, alcohol intake, family history of diabetes, use of beta-blockers and use of diuretics, a high dose of simvastatin was associated with a 44% increased risk of developing diabetes, and a low dose with a 28% increased risk.

Patients on a high dose of atorvastatin had a 37% increased risk of diabetes.