Statins may double diabetes and blood pressure risk

People who take cholesterol-lowering statins may be at twice the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, says a new study. Statins are a class of drugs that can lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. More than a quarter of middle-aged adults use a cholesterol-lowering drug, according to estimates. The study, published in the Diabetes Metabolism Research and Reviews journal, found that statin users had more than double the risk of a diabetes diagnosis compared to those who didn’t take the drugs. Those who took the cholesterol-lowering drugs for more than two years had more than three times the risk of diabetes.

“The fact that increased duration of statin use was associated with an increased risk of diabetes — something we call a dose-dependent relationship — makes us think that this is likely a causal relationship,” said the study’s lead author Victoria Zigmont, a graduate student at the Ohio State University. “Statins are very effective in preventing heart attacks and strokes. I would never recommend that people stop taking the statin they’ve been prescribed based on this study, but it should open up further discussions about diabetes prevention,” Zigmont added.