Skip to content

    Diabetes Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    High-Dose Statins May Increase Diabetes Risk

    Experts Say Most Heart Disease Patients Are Better Off Taking a Statin, Despite Increased Diabetes Risk
    By
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

    June 21, 2011 -- The strongest doses of cholesterol-lowering statin medications prevent heart attacks and strokes in patients with cardiovascular disease, but they may also modestly increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a new study shows.

    The study, a re-analysis of five clinical trials representing nearly 33,000 patients, found that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increased slightly in patients who were on the most aggressive statin regimens compared to those on less powerful statin doses.

    For every 498 patients who took high-dose statins for one year, there was one extra case of diabetes.

    At the same time, however, the medications prevented one cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or stroke for every 155 people who took them.

    “We found that for every one extra case of diabetes associated with this intensive statin use, you’d prevent approximately three people from having a major cardiovascular event,” says study researcher David Preiss, MRCP, a clinical research fellow at the British Heart Foundation Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Center at the University of Glasgow, in Scotland.

    “We’re certainly not saying that people shouldn’t be taking a high-dose statin,” Preiss says. “If you’re somebody who’s at high risk of an event, it’s definitely favorable for you, but what you should be doing is every once in a while getting checked for diabetes.”

    The new paper, which is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, echoes two previous studies that noted an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in patients taking statins compared to those on a placebo.

    “The evidence is strong that high doses of statins do slightly increase the risk of diagnosis of diabetes,” says Steven Nissen, MD, a cardiologist who is chair of the department of cardiovascular medicine at Cleveland Clinic, in Ohio. “However, the evidence is equally strong that patients on high doses have a reduction in cardiovascular events.”

    High-Dose Statins and Diabetes

    For the study, researchers solicited unpublished data from five studies that compared high and moderate doses of statins in 32,752 patients with either stable cardiovascular disease or a recent history of chest pain or heart attack. None of the patients had diabetes at the start of the study.

    1 | 2 | 3

    Today on WebMD

    Diabetic tools
    Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
    woman flexing muscles
    10 strength training exercises.
     
    Blood sugar test
    12 practical tips.
    Tom Hanks
    Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
     
    kenneth fujioka, md
    Video
    Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
    Article
     
    Middle aged person
    Tool
    jennie brand miller
    Video
     

    Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
    Article
    type 2 diabetes
    Slideshow
     
    food fitness planner
    Tool
    feet
    Slideshow