A new research has revealed that use of statins can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 46 percent, even after adjustment for confounding factors.
Researchers looked into the effects of statin treatment on the risk of type 2 diabetes and deterioration of blood sugar control in 8,749 non-diabetic men in a 6-year follow-up of the population-based Metabolic Syndrome in Men (METSIM) study, based in Kuopio, Finland. The researchers also investigated the mechanisms of statin-induced diabetes by evaluating changes in insulin resistance and insulin secretion.
The study participants, aged 45-73 years, were followed up for 5.9 years. The study found that new diabetes was diagnosed in 625 men with either an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), an HbA1c level of 6.5 percent or higher, or anti-diabetic medication started during the follow-up. Insulin sensitivity and secretion were evaluated during the study period. The researchers found that, after the results were adjusted for age, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, physical activity, smoking, alcohol intake, family history of diabetes, and beta-blocker and diuretic treatment, patients treated with statins were 46 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those not treated with statins.
This increased risk was dose-dependent for simvastatin and atorvastatin. Statin treatment significantly increased 2-h glucose (2hPG) at follow-up, with a nominally significant increase in fasting glucose (FPG) level. Insulin sensitivity was decreased by 24 percent and insulin secretion by 12 percent in individuals receiving statin treatment. Decreases in insulin sensitivity and insulin secretion were also dose-dependent for simvastatin and atorvastatin. After adjustment for all the confounders mentioned above, high-dose simvastatin was associated with a 44 percent increased risk of developing diabetes, while for low-dose simvastatin the increased risk was 28 percent and for high-dose atorvastatin the increased risk was 37 percent.
The researchers stressed that the study sample was Caucasian men, so the applicability to women or people of other ethnic origin cannot be confirmed without further research.
The study appears in Diabetologia.