Cholesterol-lowering drugs linked to higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes

Individuals who take cholesterol-lowering statins may be at higher risk for developing high blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, and eventually type 2 diabetes, according to an analysis published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

The analysis examined information from 9,535 individuals older than 45 years of age who were free from diabetes at the start of the population-based Rotterdam Study and were followed up to 15 years.

Compared with participants who never used statins, those who used statins tended to have higher concentrations of serum fasting insulin and insulin resistance. Participants who ever used statins had a 38 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes during the study. This risk was more prominent in individuals with impaired glucose balance and in overweight/obese individuals.

"The findings suggest that in patients who initiate statin therapy, preventive strategies such as blood sugar control and weight loss may be warranted for minimizing the risk of diabetes," said senior author Prof. Bruno Stricker, of the Erasmus Medical Centre, in the Netherlands.​

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