Statin Use Increases Risk of New-Onset Diabetes Diagnosis - EMJ

Statin Use Increases Risk of New-Onset Diabetes Diagnosis

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STATINS are a class of treatments that act to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood, in turn minimising the risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke.

With previous research hinting at a correlation between statin use and diabetes diagnosis, researchers of the Cholesterol Treatment Trials (CTT) Collaboration recently set out to further investigate this, co-led by Christina Reith, and David Preiss, both of the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, UK. A large meta-analysis was conducted, comprising 19 double-blind, randomised trials, with a median follow-up of 4.3 years, comparing statins with a placebo for 123,940 participants. Moreover, data from four additional double-blind trials of lower- versus higher-intensity statins, with 30,724 participants who were followed for a median period of 4.9 years, were also incorporated.

In the 19 trials comparing low- or moderate-intensity statins to placebo, statins led to a notable 10% rise in new-onset diabetes, with high-intensity statins showing an even higher 36% increase. This equated to an average annual excess of 0.12% in new diabetes cases. Comparing more intensive statin therapy to less intensive regimens, there was a significant 10% increase in new-onset diabetes, resulting in a yearly excess of 0.22%.

Interestingly, most new diabetes cases (around 62%) occurred in participants with the highest baseline glycaemia levels, regardless of statin intensity. For participants with pre-existing diabetes, low- or moderate-intensity statins showed a 10% increase in worsening glycaemia compared to placebo, while high-intensity trials saw a 24% relative increase. ‘These findings should further inform clinical guidelines regarding clinical management of people taking statin therapy,’ concluded the researchers.


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