Statins may increase diabetes, skin infection risks fast

A recent study from Curtin University in Perth, Australia and elsewhere found that using statins for as short a time as three months can put patients at risk for developing diabetes and skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs).

The study is published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. The lead author is Humphrey H.T. Ko, from the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences.

In the study, the team performed an analysis of prescription claims for antidiabetic medications, antistaphylococcal antibiotics, and statins from the Australian Department of Veterans’ Affairs from 2001 through 2011.

They found the use of statins was linked to a strong risk for SSTIs. The greatest risk was found to be linked to statins atorvastatin and simvastatin.

A strong risk was also found for diabetes. Again, statin drugs atorvastatin and simvastatin were found to be linked to the greatest risk for the onset of diabetes.

The findings support the hypothesis that statin users are at increased risk of SSTIs and this risk was likely independent of diabetes status or the healthy user effect.

The team says statins may increase SSTI risk via direct or indirect mechanisms.

It would seem prudent for clinicians to monitor blood glucose levels of statin users who are predisposed to diabetes, and be mindful of possible increased SSTI risks in such patients.

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