Statin Drugs linked to Higher Diabetes Risk

Updated at: Feb 04, 2013
Statin Drugs linked to Higher Diabetes Risk

Statin, the cholesterol-lowering drug, has been found to increase type 2 diabetes risk by almost 50 per cent, thus stirring a heated debate among health experts.

Gunjan Rastogi
DiabetesWritten by: Gunjan RastogiPublished at: Oct 26, 2012

Statin Drugs linked to Higher Diabetes RiskThe cholesterol-lowering drug, statin, has been linked to increase one’s chances of diabetes, says a study conducted at the Harvard Medical School.


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According to the researchers, women over the age of 45, who take statin, have higher chances of developing diabetes. The study examined the data of Women’s Health Initiative study done in 1990. The study included 1, 53, 000 post menopausal women, who didn’t have diabetes at the time of the study. In a follow-up in 2005, it was found that nearly 10 per cent of the women, who had started taking statin, had developed diabetes in comparison with diabetes in 6.4 per cent of non-statin users.

That statin, which is commonly consumed by Americans, increases diabetes risk is one of the primary concerns of health experts. And most of all, the finding that the diabetes risk in statin users go up by 50 per cent is quite a revelation.


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The authors of the study have asked the patients taking statin to not stop taking it without consulting their doctors. It is because of the major benefit of statin .i.e. decreasing the risk of heart attack and stroke that it outweighs the potential risk of causing type 2 diabetes.  JoAnn Manson, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and one of the authors of the study said that the finding of the study curbs the idea of prescribing this cholesterol-lowering drug to healthy people.


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Apart from this study, several other studies have been conducted to discover the link between statin and diabetes. The first study which revealed this link was conducted in 2008. Similar studies with the same result have been published in the year 2010 and 2011 in the Lancet and the Journal of the American Medical Association respectively.

Scientists have been unable to find any concrete reason as to why and how statin increases diabetes risk. Manson said that it’s important to find the reason behind the link between diabetes and statin consumption as it may help the pharmaceutical companies to formulate statin sans the component responsible for diabetes risk.

According to the U.S. Center for Health Statistics,  use of statin among people over 45 years have witnessed tenfold increase in the last 20 years. In late 1990s, statin was consumed only by 2-3 per cent of Americans, but between 2005-2008, it was noted that almost 25 per cent Americans were using the drug.


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