Statins Tied to Decreased Insulin Sensitivity, Secretion

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This large Finnish study found a nearly 50% increase in diabetes for people taking statins.
This large Finnish study found a nearly 50% increase in diabetes for people taking statins.

(HealthDay News) -- Statin drugs may significantly increase a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a new Finnish study suggests. The findings were published March 4 in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

In this new study, University of Eastern Finland researchers tracked the effects of statin treatment in 8,749 men without diabetes over the course of 6 years. The men were between 45 and 73 years old. 1 in 4 of the men were taking a statin at the beginning of the study. The health of the men was followed for nearly 6 years. 

During that time, 625 men were newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the researchers said. Even after other risk factors were accounted for, people treated with statins were 46% more likely to develop diabetes than those not treated with statins.

Digging a little deeper, the investigators found that statins decreased insulin sensitivity by 24%, and insulin secretion by 12%. The more simvastatin and atorvastatin that people took, the more their ability to use and produce insulin suffered. High-dose simvastatin was associated with a 44% increased risk of developing diabetes, while for low-dose simvastatin the increased risk was 28%. High-dose atorvastatin was linked to a 37% increased diabetes risk.

The study authors noted, however, that their research only found an association between statin use and diabetes risk. And since the study was limited to white men, it's not clear if the findings would apply to women or other racial groups.


  1. Cederberg, H, et al. Diabetologia; doi: 10.1007/s00125-015-3528-5.
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