Strong Link Between Statin And Diabetes Found

shutterstock_44600866A database study involving beneficiaries the military health system highlighted a link between a heart medication and the risk of developing diabetes. Researchers from the VA North Texas Health System and the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas have identified a possible link between taking statins and an increase risk in developing diabetes. The results of the study were reported online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

The study involved 26,000 participants who were beneficiaries of Tricare, which is the military health system. The researchers examined the patient records covering the period between October of 2003 and March of 2012. Out of the total study population, the researchers chose 3,351 statin users and paired them with non-users who are similar based on a selection of 42 health and demographic factors. The only difference between the pairs was the use of statins. This allowed the researchers to isolate and focus on the effects of the said drug class.

Among the 3,351 pairs of similar patients, the researchers discovered that the patients taking statins were 250 percent more likely to develop diabetes with complications as compared to those not taking statins. In addition, statin users were also 14 percent more likely to become overweight as compared to non-users.

According to Dr. Ishak Mansi, a physician researcher with the VA North Texas Health system and the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas and lead author of the said study, “In our study, statin use was associated with a significantly higher risk of new-onset diabetes, even in a very healthy population. The risk of diabetes with statins has been known, but up until now it was thought that this might be due to the fact that people who were prescribed statins had greater medical risks to begin with.”

Dr. Mansi also pointed out that other previous studies have also arrived at the same findings when using different research methods.

Even when the researchers examined the data on a wider scale by looking at the comparisons with the estimated 22,000 non-users and 4,000 statin users, the researchers were still able to arrive at the same conclusion, that the statin users were two times more likely to develop diabetes compared to the non-users.

But Dr. Mansi also added, “No patient should stop taking their statins based on our study, since statin therapy is a cornerstone in treatment of cardiovascular diseases and has been clearly shown to lower mortality and disease progression. Rather, this study should alert researchers, guideline writers, and policymakers that short-term clinical trials might not fully describe the risks and benefits of long-term statin use for primary prevention.”

The lead author looks forward to further trials in order to better understand the long-term effects of statin use.

Source: Veterans Affairs Research Communications. (2015, May 7). Strong statin-diabetes link seen in large study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 8, 2015 from


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