The most recent study, published in Diabetes Care (6/26/14), examined the relationship between a patient’s adherence to statin therapy and his or her risk of developing diabetes. Researchers in Italy examined data from patients who began statin treatment from 2003 to 2004 and then identified patients who were later diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or began therapy with an antidiabetic agent.
The researchers found that patients who more closely adhered to their statin therapy had an increased risk of new-onset diabetes. Patients who had a low adherence to statin therapy (identified as a proportion of days covered at 25 to 50 percent) had a hazard ratio of 1.12 when compared with patients with a very low adherence (proportion of days covered at less than 25 percent). Patients who had a high adherence to statin therapy (proportion of days covered at equal to or greater than 75 percent) had a hazard ratio of 1.32 when compared to patients in the very low group.
Despite the increased risk, researchers noted that the benefits of using statins to reduce cardiovascular events clearly outweigh the risk of developing diabetes.
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Researchers analyzed information from patients who were later hospitalized for new-onset diabetes, or given a new prescription for insulin or an oral antidiabetic drug. They found that during the first two years of regular statin use, patients who were given a higher potency statin had an increased risk of new-onset diabetes compared with those given a lower potency statin.
Lawsuits have been filed by patients who used Crestor and other statins, alleging they were not adequately warned about the risk of side effects associated with the medications.