Do Statins Raise Diabetes Risk?

Topics: Aging and Costs of Aging, Diabetes, High Cholesterol, Vitamins and Supplements, Wellness and Health

Probably, in higher doses.

A study of 18000 people without heart disease, called JUPITER, shows that Crestor (rosuvastatin) 20 mg showed that for every 1000 patients on high dose (40mg and up) statins, there are 6 more cases of new diabetes over 2 years.

Crestor also prevented 11 cases of heart attack, stroke, arterial revascularization, hospitalization or death from heart disease, in that 1000 patients.

The newest study includes 32,752 patients without heart disease.  Again, 2 cases of diabetes, versus 6 or more cardiac events prevented in a 1000 people over 5 years.

If you actually have heart disease or angina, then the numbers for taking a statin are different.

  • 1 in 83 life saved
  • 1 in 39 prevented a non-fatal heart attack
  • 1 in 125 prevented stroke
  • 1 in 167 developed diabetes

Is that worth the trade-off?

I try to find ways for my own patients to get off high doses of statins, especially 80mg doses, because of myopathy and pain.

A cholesterol registry can chronicle how people control cholesterol naturally.

I suggest that any patient 40 and over get screened every 3 years, and make sure they don’t suffer from abnormal lab test syndrome.  And I help them make lifestyle changes that help them reduce their need for cholesterol medication.

Statins can be important medications, and their benefits can be greater in diabetics than nondiabetics.

But there’s no sense in tempting fate. Let’s enjoy life, and avoid getting diabetes in the first place. Lower your cholesterol with what you eat.

  • Was there any mention of the predisposition for developing diabetes of people who need a fairly high dose of Crestor? It seems like that is a population that is more likely to develop diabetes in the first place, independent of statin use.

  • Good question: from Lancet, about Jupiter:
    “…the analysis did not account for baseline glycemic level. This is unlikely to be different between groups in randomized trials, but it is possible or even likely that patients who developed diabetes were more dysglycemic, and that a small “nudge” from statins was enough for them to convert to diabetes. If so, these patients were already at increased cardiovascular risk,[3] in which case treatment with statins would be far more important than the few milligrams per deciliter of fasting glucose that took these patients over the diagnostic threshold for diabetes. It is also important to note that these results do not address whether statins raise blood sugar in people already diagnosed with diabetes…”