Another study has found a slight increase in fasting glucose levels in patients at increased risk of type 2 diabetes taking statins. The study (published in BMJ online 13th September 2012) was conducted by a Finnish group who concluded that their findings suggest statin use “might have unfavourable effects on glucose metabolism and hamper beneficial effects of lifestyle intervention in people at high risk of type 2 diabetes”.
While the researchers say that that the benefits of statin therapy for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in people with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes are still unequivocal, they suggest that such patients on statins need to focus even more on intensive lifestyle intervention, with a healthy diet, non-smoking, and physical activity.
In the study, 2,798 patients at high risk of diabetes were followed for one year. Patients were given counselling on lifestyle interventions; fasting blood glucose was measured at baseline and one year. Results showed that 484 individuals (17.3%) used statins at baseline. Of these patients, 7.5% developed type 2 diabetes during follow-up compared with 6.5% of those not taking statins, a non-significant difference. However, fasting glucose increased significantly by 0.08 mmol/L in statin users but remained unchanged in non-users.