In a new study, researchers found that people who were prescribed cholesterol-lowering statins had at least double the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
In addition, increased duration of statin use was linked to increased risk of diabetes.
The findings suggest that there may be a causal relation between statins and type 2 diabetes.
The research was done by a team from Ohio State University.
Statins are a class of drugs that can lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
More than 25% of middle-aged adults use a cholesterol-lowering drug.
In the study, the team conducted a detailed analysis of health records in 4,683 men and women who did not have diabetes.
About 16% of the group—755 patients—was eventually prescribed statins during the study period, which ran from 2011 until 2014. Participants’ average age was 46.
The team wanted to know how efforts to reduce heart disease may be contributing to another major medical concern.
They found that statin users had more than double the risk of diabetes diagnosis compared to those who didn’t take the drugs.
In addition, those who took cholesterol-lowering drugs for more than two years had more than three times the risk of diabetes.
The researchers also found that statin users were 6.5 percent more likely to have a troublingly high HbA1c value—a routine blood test for diabetes that estimates average blood sugar over several months.
The team says that increased duration of statin use was linked to an increased risk of diabetes.
This is called a dose-dependent relationship and may suggest that there is a causal relationship between the two things.
But the team also say that statins are very effective in preventing heart attacks and strokes.
They don’t recommend that people stop taking the statin they’ve been prescribed based on this study.
It is important for patients to pay attention to their metabolic health and diabetes prevention.
The leader of the study is said Victoria Zigmont, a graduate student in public health.
The study is published in Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews.
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