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Statins of Any Kind May Increase Risk of Diabetes in Postmenopausal Women

Researchers say current recommendations by diabetes association nor statin guidelines should change

Jan. 10, 2012 - Statins have become the go-to drug for most senior citizens trying to maintain a healthy, cardiovascular system and most of the research has confirmed a number of health benefits. A red flag has gone up, however, after a new study has found statins appear to increase the risk of diabetes for postmenopausal women.

The study by Annie L. Culver, B. Pharm, Rochester Methodist Hospital, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and colleagues was published Online First by the Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

 

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The researchers note that statins address the cardiovascular consequences of diabetes and current American Diabetes Association guidelines for primary and secondary prevention should not change.

They also write that guidelines for statin use in nondiabetic populations also should not change.

The researchers used multiyear Women's Health Initiative data through 2005 and included 153,840 women without diabetes and with a mean (average) age of 63.2 years. Statin use was assessed at enrollment and in year three. At baseline, 7.04 percent of women reported taking statin medication.

The results indicate 10,242 new cases of diabetes and statin use at baseline was associated with an increased risk of diabetes. This association remained after adjusting for other potential variables, including age, race/ethnicity and body mass index, and was observed for all types of statins.

"The results of this study imply that statin use conveys an increased risk of new-onset DM (diabetes mellitus) in postmenopausal woman. In keeping with the findings of other studies, our results suggest that statin-induced DM is a medication class effect and not related to potency or to individual statin," the researchers write.

"However, the consequences of statin-induced DM have not been specifically defined and deserve more attention. Given the wide use of statins in the aging population, further studies among women, men, and diverse ethnicities will clarify DM risk and risk management to optimize therapy," researchers conclude.

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