Study confirms that statins could increase risk of type 2 diabetes

by Barbara Hewitt on February 4, 2016

Statins are often recommended to older people to combat the risk of heart disease but now new research suggests that the drug can almost double the risk of diabetes.

Researchers from the University of Texas in the United States were concerned about their findings, which also suggest that statins can cause up to a twofold risk of serious diabetic complications.

The research looked at almost 26,000 people over a 10 year period and confirms long suspected links between statins and diabetes. It found that statin use could increase the risk of eye, nerve and kidney damage in diabetics.

Scientists Lab

However, they said that people at risk of heart disease who currently take statins should not stop taking them. They urge healthcare professionals to weigh up the potential risks associated with statin treatment before prescribing them.

“Our findings are alarming. There is not enough funding to carry out studies to assess these long term effects that are not funded by drug companies and therefore clouded by conflicts of interest,” said Professor Ishak Mansi a heart specialist at the University of Texas who led the study.

“The risk of diabetes with statins has been known, but until now it was thought that this might be due to the fact that people who were prescribed statins had greater medical risks to begin with,” he explained.

“I am sceptical about the prescribing guidelines for people at lower risk of heart disease. I am concerned about the long term effects on the huge population of healthy people on these drugs who continue for many years,” he added.

The results of the study will now be examined by the organisations that regulate drugs in various countries. In the UK a spokesman for the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency, the Government’s drug regulator, confirmed that would be the case.

“The benefits of statins are well established and are considered to outweigh the risk of side effects in the majority of patients. Any new significant information on the efficacy of statins will be carefully reviewed and action be taken if required,” he said.
Statin use doubles type 2 diabetes risk and increases risk of complications, study finds.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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