Diabetes and Cardiovascular

new study on statin medications

Statin medications, commonly known as Crestor and Lipitor, are used to reduce cholesterol. It is known that these medications may cause liver failure and a more serious complication affecting the kidneys called Rhabdomyolysis – whereby extreme muscle pain and destruction occurs. They are also known to reduce CoQ10 levels, an important co-enzyme (helps an enzyme) in the synthesis of ATP, the energy molecule. This is needed for every cell in our body, in particular the heart, liver, and kidney.

Apart from these known associations, a recent review has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, linking high dose statin medications with diabetes mellitus.

JAMA. 2011 Jun 22;305(24):2556-64.

Risk of incident diabetes with intensive-dose compared with moderate-dose statin therapy: a meta-analysis.


BHF Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre, University of Glasgow, 126 University Pl, Glasgow G12 8TA, Scotland, United Kingdom. david.preiss@glasgow.ac.uk



A recent meta-analysis demonstrated that statin therapy is associated with excess risk of developing diabetes mellitus.


To investigate whether intensive-dose statin therapy is associated with increased risk of new-onset diabetes compared with moderate-dose statin therapy.


We identified relevant trials in a literature search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (January 1, 1996, through March 31, 2011). Unpublished data were obtained from investigators.


We included randomized controlled end-point trials that compared intensive-dose statin therapy with moderate-dose statin therapy and included more than 1000 participants who were followed up for more than 1 year.


Tabular data provided for each trial described baseline characteristics and numbers of participants developing diabetes and experiencing major cardiovascular events (cardiovascular death, nonfatal myocardial infarction or stroke, coronary revascularization). We calculated trial-specific odds ratios (ORs) for new-onset diabetes and major cardiovascular events and combined these using random-effects model meta-analysis. Between-study heterogeneity was assessed using the I(2) statistic.


In 5 statin trials with 32,752 participants without diabetes at baseline, 2749 developed diabetes (1449 assigned intensive-dose therapy, 1300 assigned moderate-dose therapy, representing 2.0 additional cases in the intensive-dose group per 1000 patient-years) and 6684 experienced cardiovascular events (3134 and 3550, respectively, representing 6.5 fewer cases in the intensive-dose group per 1000 patient-years) over a weighted mean (SD) follow-up of 4.9 (1.9) years. Odds ratios were 1.12 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04-1.22; I(2) = 0%) for new-onset diabetes and 0.84 (95% CI, 0.75-0.94; I(2) = 74%) for cardiovascular events for participants receiving intensive therapy compared with moderate-dose therapy. As compared with moderate-dose statin therapy, the number needed to harm per year for intensive-dose statin therapy was 498 for new-onset diabetes while the number needed to treat per year for intensive-dose statin therapy was 155 for cardiovascular events.


In a pooled analysis of data from 5 statin trials, intensive-dose statin therapy was associated with an increased risk of new-onset diabetes compared with moderate-dose statin therapy.

Apart from a genetic cause of hyperlipidemia (increased cholesterol), cholesterol levels can be managed with diet, lifestyle, exercise, and stress reduction.


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