Treatment with more potent statins may increase the risk of new-onset diabetes, according to Muhammad M. Mamdani, PharmD, MPH, of St. Michael’s Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues.

In a retrospective study of individuals aged 66 years and older, the researchers found a 22% increased risk of incident diabetes associated with atorvastatin use, an 18% increased risk with rosuvastatin use, and a 10% increased risk with simvastatin use compared with pravastatin, which was the reference drug.

The absolute risk for incident diabetes was approximately 31 and 34 events per 1,000 person-years for atorvastastin and  rosuvastatin, respectively, the researchers reported online ahead of print in BMJ. Simvastatin use was associated with a slightly lower risk (26 events per 1,000 person-years.

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Researchers found no significantly increased diabetes risk among patients who received fluvastatin or lovastatin.