Taking statins increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 46% in men, according to a Finish study.
The research, published in the journal Diabetologia, shows that use of statins is associated with a 46% increase in the risk of developing diabetes, even after adjustment for confounding factors.
Previous studies have suggested an increased risk – of varying levels – of developing diabetes associated with statin use, noted the authors of the new research from the University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital.
“Statin therapy was associated with a 46% increased risk of type 2 diabetes after adjustment for confounding factors”
However, they claimed these earlier studies had limitations, which had led to the number of incident cases being underestimated.
In their study, the Finish authors investigated the effects of statin treatment on the risk of type 2 diabetes and deterioration of blood sugar control in 8,749 non-diabetic men.
The authors also investigated the mechanisms of statin-induced diabetes by evaluating changes in insulin resistance and insulin secretion.
The participants, aged 45-73, were followed up for nearly six years. Diabetes was diagnosed in 625 of the men during the period.
After the results were adjusted for age, body mass index, waist circumference, physical activity, smoking, alcohol intake, family history of diabetes, and beta-blocker and diuretic treatment, patients treated with statins were 46% more likely to develop diabetes than those not treated with statins.
The risk was dose-dependent for simvastatin and atorvastatin, said the researchers. Decreases in insulin sensitivity and insulin secretion were also dose-dependent for simvastatin and atorvastatin, they said.
High-dose simvastatin was associated with a 44% increased risk of developing diabetes, while for low-dose simvastatin the increased risk was 28%. For high-dose atorvastatin, the increased risk was 37%.
Overall, 29% of participants were taking simvastatin, while 53% were taking atorvastatin.
The authors said: “The association of statin use with increased risk of developing diabetes is most likely directly related to statins decreasing both insulin sensitivity and secretion.
“Statin therapy was associated with a 46% increased risk of type 2 diabetes after adjustment for confounding factors, suggesting a higher risk of diabetes in the general population than previously reported,” they added.