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Statins raise diabetes risk by 9%

By Lilian Anekwe

Statins raise the relative risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but the absolute risk is low when balanced against the beneficial impact of statins on the rate of coronary events, according to UK-led research group.

The researchers analysed 13 trials in which statins were given to more than 90,000 patients, in whom more than 4,000 went on to develop type 2 diabetes during a mean follow-up period of four years.

Patients on a statin had a 9% higher risk of diabetes - compared to those who were not prescribed one - equivalent to one additional case of diabetes for every 255 patients that took a statin for four years.

But for every 1mmol/L reduction in LDL-cholesterol in those same 255 patients there will be five fewer major coronary events than those not on a statin.

There were no differences between statins in diabetes risk, but the association between statins and incident diabetes was strongest in trials of older patients.

This prompted lead researcher Professor Naveed Satar, professor of metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow to conclude: ‘Clinical practice in patients with moderate or high cardiovascular risk or existing cardiovascular disease should not change. Our data suggest that surveillance for dysglycaemia might be useful for older people receiving statin therapy.'

The Lancet, published online February 17

Statins raise diabetes risk by 9%

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