More concern about the risk of diabetes with statins has been voiced after new data from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) has shown a 48% increased risk of diabetes in post-menopausal women taking these agents in the study. This adds to results of two meta-analyses of statin studies published recently, which also suggested a significant increase in risk of diabetes with statins.
In the present study, researchers analysed data from the WHI on 153,840 post-menopausal women, of whom 7% were taking statins at baseline. During the study period, 10,242 incident cases of diabetes were reported.
In an unadjusted risk model, statin use at baseline was associated with a 71% increased risk of diabetes, but after adjusting for other risk factors, this was reduced to a 48% increased risk. The association appeared to be a class effect.
Risk was increased particularly in white, Hispanic, and Asian women, but not in African American women. The association was also observed at all levels of body mass index (BMI) but women with the lowest BMI appeared to be at higher risk of diabetes compared with obese women.
The authors note that statins clearly address the cardiovascular consequences of diabetes and current guidelines for primary and secondary prevention should not change. But they add that more studies on statin-induced diabetes are needed to clarify the risk and to optimise therapy. (Arch Intern Med 2012;172:144–52).