Statins May Raise Diabetes Risk in Older Women
Study: Middle-Aged, Older Statin Users Had More Type 2 Diabetes
Statin, Diabetes Risk Seen in Earlier Studies
It is not clear if statin use caused the increased risk or if the women who took statins shared some other unidentified risk for diabetes.
But the study is not the first to suggest that statins may raise the risk for diabetes.
An analysis of 13 studies, published in February of 2010, found that statin users had a 9% increased risk for diabetes. Another study, published last June, suggested a similar increase in risk among patients taking high doses of statins.
If the drugs do increase diabetes risk, Ma and colleagues' study suggests that the risk is an effect shared by all statins, Ma says.
Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital cardiologist Christopher P. Cannon, MD, remains convinced that for most people who take statins to lower their risk for heart attack and stroke, the benefits far outweigh the risks.
“These studies are a reminder that no drug is without side effects, but if there is a risk it is more than likely a very small one,” he says.
A spokesman for Lipitor manufacturer Pfizer Inc. says the drug has been shown in multiple studies to reduce heart attack and stroke risk in high-risk patients, including those with type 2 diabetes.
“We believe the risk of diabetes is outweighed by the [healthy heart] benefits of Lipitor therapy and we encourage patients to work with their physicians to discuss their treatment options,” Pfizer media representative MacKay Jimeson tells WebMD.