April 24, 2015

Statins Up the Risk for Type 2 Diabetes – Part 1

Yes, statins increase the risk for type 2 diabetes! Most doctors have now accepted this as a risk for prescribing statins and many don't care. A recent study appearing on March 4 in Diabetologia has many doctors up in arms and criticism about the study has been heavy. This article in Medscape is typical.

Even I don't like the study because it only included men and not a combination of men and women. Statin therapy appears to increase the risk for type 2 diabetes by 46%, even after adjustment for confounding factors, a large new population-based study concludes.

This suggests a higher risk for diabetes with statins in the general population than has previously been reported, which has been in the region of a 10% to 22% increased risk.

In this new study, the authors investigated the effects of statin treatment on blood glucose control and the risk for type 2 diabetes in 8749 nondiabetic men age 45 to 73 years in a 6-year follow-up of the population-based Metabolic Syndrome in Men (METSIM) trial, based in Kuopio, Finland.

The majority of people in this new study were taking atorvastatin and simvastatin, and the risk for diabetes was dose-dependent for these two agents, the researchers found.

However, senior author Markku Laakso, MD, from the University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital, told Medscape Medical News: "Even if statin treatment is increasing the risk of getting diabetes, statins are very effective in reducing cardiovascular risk.” "Therefore I wouldn't make a conclusion from my study that people should stop statin treatment, especially those patients who have a history of myocardial infarction.”

"But what I would say is that people who are at the higher risk, if they are obese, if they have diabetes in the family, etc, should try to lower their statin dose, if possible, because high-dose statin treatment increases the risk vs. lower-dose statin treatment," he continued.

One of the main criticisms came from Alvin C Powers, MD, from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee. Asked to comment, Alvin C Powers, MD, explained that there were limitations to the conclusions that could be drawn from this study.

Speaking as part of the Endocrine Society, he said, "The first thing is that this study did not examine the benefits of statin therapy, it examined only the risk of diabetes."

With every treatment, there are risks and benefits, and the benefits of statins have been clearly proven in certain situations. In those instances, "the benefit would outweigh the increased risk of diabetes for many people," Dr. Powers told Medscape Medical News.

Dr Powers observed that this new study doesn't provide any information about whether people who have diabetes who are on a statin should continue with the statin, "but there are clear benefits for statin therapy in people who have diabetes.”

"People who have diabetes who are on a statin should continue with the statin.…This increased risk of diabetes, to me, is not relevant to their reason for taking the statin," he commented.

This is very typical of doctors that favor statins. People receiving statins would I am sure feel otherwise. Anyone that has read Dr. Malcolm Kendrick's book, The Great Cholesterol Con would feel this way.

I would urge everyone to read the latest from the FDA (last updated January 31, 2014) and what they are saying about statins.

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