January 9th, 2012

Statins Elevate Diabetes Risk in Postmenopausal Women

Statins increase the risk for developing diabetes in postmenopausal women, according to a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The study provides more evidence and details about the previously reported link between statins and diabetes development.

Using data from more than 153,000 postmenopausal women who were participating in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) and did not have diabetes mellitus (DM) at baseline — and with more than 1 million person-years of follow-up — the investigators found a significant increase in the risk for diabetes in women taking statins at baseline:

  • Diabetes developed in 9.93% of women (1076 out of 10,834) taking statins compared with 6.41% of women (9166 out of 143,006) not taking statins.
  • The unadjusted hazard ratio for women taking statins was 1.71 (1.61-1.83).
  • After multivariate adjustment, the HR remained significant but was slightly reduced: 1.48.
  • The results were consistent across a broad range of subgroups, including different types of statins and the potency of the statins.

In their conclusion, the authors note that the cardiovascular benefits of statins are evident in both diabetic and nondiabetic populations, and that current guidelines do not need to be changed because of the increased risk for diabetes associated with statins. “However,” they write, “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.”

Comments are closed.