Statins increase the risk of developing diabetes in at-risk people
Among susceptible individuals, statins — which are a common cholesterol-lowering medication — could increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by 30 percent. These new findings are sure to reignite debate.
Statins lower cholesterol by reducing its production in the liver. They do this by blocking an enzyme called hydroxy-methyl-glutaryl-coenzyme A reductase, which is involved in its manufacture.
Statins are one of the most widely prescribed types of drug in the United States.
Between 2011 and 2012, over a quarter of U.S. adults over the age of 40 were taking cholesterol-lowering medication. The vast majority of these drugs were statins.
Alongside their cholesterol-lowering ability, statins also have positive effects on inflammation and oxidative stress. Taken together, it would be unsurprising if statins helped to reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
But the reverse may well be true. Evidence is mounting that long-term statin use could increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. The first study to mention this potential effect was published in 2008.
Between then and now, many meta-analyses have been carried out. Some have added evidence supporting a link between statin use and type 2 diabetes, while others have brought such a link into question. Therefore, a definitive answer is yet to be found.
Reopening the statin-diabetes debate
Many previous studies that pointed out a link did not specifically set out to investigate diabetes and statins; their prime focus was on cardiovascular events. Because the number of diabetes cases within the experimental groups was low, it was difficu Continue reading