Should you continue to take Statin if it Increases the Risk of Diabetes?

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In the February issue of Lancet, Sattar and his colleagues presented a meta-analysis of 13 large, placebo-controlled trials, in which they discovered statin users have a higher risk of developing diabetes. 

The analysis involved 91,000 individuals and the results indicated that statin users were associated with a slight (9%) increase in risk of developing diabetes.  The increase in risk of diabetes was found mostly in older patients and the increase in risk was not associated with body-mass index or changes in LDL cholesterol.

So, should you discontinue your statin therapy?

To put this result into perspectives, it is important to note that other cardiovascular drugs have also been associated with an increase in the risk of developing diabetes.  These drugs include diuretics, beta-blockers and niacin.

Furthermore, Sattar and colleagues calculated that one extra case of diabetes occurred for every 255 patients treated with statin over four years.  However, 5.4 deaths or myocardial infarction and 5 cases of stroke or coronary revascularization procedures would be avoided over the same period.   Therefore the benefits of taking statins seem to greatly outweigh the risk by a ratio of 9:1 in favor of taking statins.  

Even though you should continue taking your statins (rosuvastatin(Crestor), atorvastatin(Lipitor), simvastatin(Zocor), lovastatin(Mevacor), pravastatin(Pravachol), fluvastatin(Lescol)), it is important to ask your physicians to also monitor your glucose level, in addition to liver-function and creatine kinase monitoring, during your routine check-up. 

Sattar et.al.  Lancet (02/27/10) Vol. 375, No. 9716, P. 735

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