June 26, 2019
A retrospective study of thousands of individual patient health records (US) found that people who are prescribed cholesterol-lowering statins have at least double the risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who don’t take the drug. Additionally, length of time on the drug impacts risk as well. People who take statins for more than two years have more than three times the risk of newly onset type 2 diabetes.
Could statins increase risk for type 2 diabetes?
Statins are a class of drugs that help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. At least 200 million people worldwide are prescribed statins. Researchers and experts have long criticized over-subscribing statins and over-stating the drug’s benefits. These two factors can lead to minimal benefits, increased prescription drug costs and potential side effects. Further confusing the issue is how leading authorities worldwide have very different guidelines.
The study, published in the journal Diabetes Metabolism Research and Reviews, included 4,683 men and women who did not have diabetes, were candidates for statins based on heart disease risk and had not yet taken the drugs at the start of the study. About 16 percent of the group (755 patients) were eventually prescribed statins during the study period, which ran from 2011 until 2014. Participants’ average age was 46.