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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Statins May Actually Cause Diabetes

Page changed: Other Dangerous Drugs for People with Diabetes

Added the following:

Statins May Cause Diabetes

The highly respected Womens Health Initiative study found that women without diabetes who were taking statins at the start of the study had almost twice the risk of developing diabetes. To quote from the study:
Statin use at baseline was associated with an increased risk of DM (hazard ratio [HR], 1.71; 95% CI, 1.61-1.83). This association remained after adjusting for other potential confounders (multivariate-adjusted HR, 1.48; 95% CI, 1.38-1.59) and was observed for all types of statin medications.
It is possible that the high cholesterol that motivated doctors to put these women on statins occurred because they had abnormally high blood sugars already that were missed because they manifested as high readings after high carb meals, rather than abnormally high fasting glucose. However, given the other studies that show a mechanism by which statins decrease insulin sensitivity, it is very possible that taking statins does independently worsen blood sugar control to the point it could push people into diabetes who would otherwise only be insulin resistant or pre-diabetic.

Statin Use and Risk of Diabetes Mellitus in Postmenopausal Women in the Women's Health Initiative. Annie L. Culver et al. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(2):144-152. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.625

This echoes the findings of a study published earlier in 2011 in the Journal of the American Medical Association which found that people taking high dose statins were 12% more likely to get diabetes than people who took lower doses. However, in this study there was no control group of people taking no statins, which might have shown that even the people taking low doses had a higher risk of getting diabetes.

Risk of Incident Diabetes With Intensive-Dose Compared With Moderate-Dose Statin Therapy: A Meta-analysis David Preiss et al. JAMA. 2011;305(24):2556-2564. doi: 10.1001/jama.2011.860

Ironically, the response of mainstream docor/thought leaders as reported in the media is that since statins help prevent the main diabetic complication--heart attack, this is nothing to worry about. Not so surprisingly, the doctors quoted are always those who get large speaking fees from, or are associated with organizations that get large research grants from, the drug companies that make statins. Apparently it doesn't matter that people with diabetes get nerve damage, diabetic blindness and kidney failure none of which are improved by taking statins.

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