New research from the University of British Columbia indicates that for some people, taking statins to lower their cholesterol levels may be putting them at risk of developing diabetes.
By analyzing data from 137,000 patients without diabetes prescribed statins following hospitalization from stroke or heart attack between 1997 and 2011, the research team, led by Colin R. Dormuth found that patients prescribed high-potency statins had a 15 percent higher risk of developing diabetes than those on lower dosages.
In other words, they found a dose-dependent relationship: those on higher dosages of Crestor (10 mg or more per day), Lipitor (20 mg or more per day), and Zocor (40 mg or more per day) had the higher diabetes risk.
"This is not about stopping statins," Dormuth warned. "These patients should be on a statin. The question is, should they be on a higher or a lower dose?"
Dormuth et al concluded that modest evidence exists of "a harmful association between statin potency and new diabetes in patients treated for secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease."
Their findings were reported in the BMJ.