According to a study published Online First in the Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals, using statins in postmenopausal women, is linked to an increased risk of diabetes.

However, researchers point out that statins address the cardiovascular consequences of diabetes, and that the latest American Diabetes Association guidelines for primary and secondary prevention should not change. The authors advise not changing guidelines for statin use in nondiabetic populations.

Annie L. Culver, B. Pharm, Rochester Methodist Hospital, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and her team evaluated data from the national, multiyear Women's Health Initiative until 2005, which included 153,840 women without diabetes, aged on average 63.2 years. The researchers examined statin use at enrollment, and in year three. 7.04% of women reported to receive statin medication at baseline.

According to the findings, 10,242 new cases of diabetes and statin use at baseline was linked to an increased risk of diabetes. The results remained unchanged following adjustment for other potential variables, such as age, race/ethnicity and body mass index, and did not differ between all types of statins.

The researchers comment:

"The results of this study imply that statin use conveys an increased risk of new-onset DM in postmenopausal woman. In keeping with the findings of other studies, our results suggest that statin-induced DM is a medication class effect and not related to potency or to individual statin.

However, the consequences of statin-induced DM (diabetes mellitus) have not been specifically defined and deserve more attention. Given the wide use of statins in the aging population, further studies among women, men, and diverse ethnicities will clarify DM risk and risk management to optimize therapy."

Written by Petra Rattue