Statin Use Increases Diabetes Risk Even for Healthy Patients

A study done on beneficiaries of Tricare, the health system for the military, indicated that taking statin drugs to control cholesterol resulted in an 87 percent higher likelihood of developing diabetes. The study which was reported online to the Journal of General Internal Medicine indicates that there is a link between the commonly prescribed drugs and the risk of diabetes. However, it is one of the first studies to indicate the connection via a relatively healthy group of people. The study was designed to include only individuals that did not have heart disease, diabetes or other severe chronic illnesses.


The study was lead by Dr. Ishak Mansi, a physician-researcher with the VA North Texas Health System and the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas. Dr. Mansi says that the study’s findings are significant because the risk exists even for people that are very healthy. Previously, it had been believed that the increased risk was due to the fact that the individuals being prescribed statins had more medical risks to start.


The findings also indicated that statin use was also associated with a “very high risk of diabetes complications”. Dr. Mansi says that this finding was never demonstrated before. Out of roughly 3,300 patients, the patients on the statin drugs were 250 percent more likely to develop diabetes with complications. Users of statins are also 14 percent more likely to become overweight or obese after taking the drugs.


Dr. Mansi has recommended that further trials be done in order to gain a better understanding of the long-term effects of statin use. In addition, he hopes that the results will help patients and providers to be more aware of the risks associated with statin drugs.

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