A new meta-analysis has suggested that use of statins slightly increases the risk of developing diabetes. The analysis – published in the February 27th issue of The Lancet, (Lancet 2010;375:735-42) – was led by researchers at the University of Glasgow.
They note that trials of statin therapy have had conflicting findings on the risk of development of diabetes. They therefore performed a meta-analysis of published and unpublished data to look at this issue further. They included 13 statin trials with 91,140 participants in total, of whom 4,278 had diabetes during a mean of four years. Treatment of 255 patients with statins for four years resulted in one extra case of diabetes.
They conclude that the risk of developing diabetes with statin therapy is low both in absolute terms and when compared with the reduction in coronary events, and that “Clinical practice in patients with moderate or high cardiovascular risk or existing cardiovascular disease should not change”. The researchers say the mechanism behind this effect remains a mystery.
An accompanying editorial in The Lancet, says the finding is “paradoxical” given the benefit of statins in reducing cardiovascular events in patients with known diabetes. But it adds that “it seems reasonable to add glucose to the list of tests to monitor in older patients who are on statins”.