An increase in body weight within a year of taking atorvastatin is associated with a higher risk of new-onset diabetes mellitus (NODM) in patients with stable coronary artery disease (CAD), according to a recent study published online ahead of print in The American Journal of Cardiology.

Researchers led by Kwok-Leung Ong, PhD, of the Centre for Vascular Research at the University of New South Wales in Australia, observed 7,595 CAD patients who did not have NODM as part of the Treating to New Targets (TNT) study. Patients were randomized to receive 10 or 80 mg of atorvastatin per day. The median follow-up was 4.9 years.

NODM developed in 650 patients (8.1% and 9.2% in the 10 and 80 mg groups, respectively). Body weight increased significantly 1 year after randomization, and the increase was greater in patients who had developed NODM. The change in body weight remained a significant risk factor for NODM after adjusting for confounding factors. Similar results were achieved in patients who had normal fasting glucose.

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“Our study highlights the importance of weight control as a lifestyle measure to prevent statin-related NODM,” the authors concluded.