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A study of thousands of patients' health records found that those who were prescribed cholesterol-lowering statins had at least double the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The detailed analysis of health records and other data from patients in a private insurance plan in the Midwest provides a real-world picture of how efforts to reduce heart disease may be contributing to another major medical concern, said Victoria Zigmont, who led the study as a graduate student in public health at The Ohio State University.
Statins - Class - Drugs - Cholesterol - Blood
Statins are a class of drugs that can lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. More than a quarter of middle-aged adults use a cholesterol-lowering drug, according to recent federal estimates.
Researchers found that statin users had more than double the risk of a diabetes diagnosis compared to those who didn't take the drugs. Those who took the cholesterol-lowering drugs for more than two years had more than three times the risk of diabetes.
Fact - Duration - Statin - Use - Risk
"The fact that increased duration of statin use was associated with an increased risk of diabetes—something we call a dose-dependent relationship—makes us think that this is likely a causal relationship," Zigmont said.
"That said, statins are very effective in preventing heart attacks and strokes. I would never recommend that people stop taking the statin they've been prescribed based on this study, but it should open up further discussions about diabetes prevention and patient and provider awareness of the issue."
Researchers - Statin - Users - Percent - HbA1c
Researchers also found that statin users were 6.5 percent more likely to have a troublingly high HbA1c value—a routine blood test for diabetes that estimates average blood sugar over several months.
The study, published in the journal Diabetes Metabolism Research and Reviews, included 4,683 men and women who did not have diabetes, were candidates for statins based on heart disease risk and had not...
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