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High dose of statins could increase diabetes risk, a new study reports
Statins are prescribed to help patients lower cholesterol levels, but they might simultaneously raise diabetes risk, according to a new study from the University of British Columbia.
The dosage of statins seems to be the key factor, as people in the study on higher dosages of Crestor (10 milligrams or more per day), Lipitor (20 mg or more) and Zocor (40 mg or more) were more likely to develop diabetes.
Lead study author Colin R. Dormuth told Reuters Health the issue isn't statins in general, but figuring out a safe amount to dispense to patients.
“This is not about stopping statins,” Dormuth said. “These patients should be on a statin, the question is, should they be on a higher or a lower dose?”
15 percent increased diabetes risk
The study used data on 137,000 patients without diabetes who were prescribed statins after hospitalization from a stroke, heart attack or another serious cardiovascular issue between 1997 and 2011.
Patients who were prescribed statins with a higher potency were 15 percent more likely to get a diabetes diagnosis than people on lower dosages.
Two other major studies have linked high-potency statins to a greater diabetes risk, said David Preiss, researcher at the University of Glasgow. Preiss was not involved in the current study.
“Commonly used statins, such as simvastatin, atorvastatin and rosuvastatin, taken at a lower dose probably puts one at 10 percent higher risk of developing diabetes,” Preiss said. “Taking these same statins at high doses probably pushes this up to about 20 percent.”
The cause for this increased risk isn't entirely clear, researchers said, but other factors that involved the quality of patient care might explain the association.
The study is published in BMJ.
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