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Intensive-Dose Statins Linked to Increased Diabetes Risk

But risk of cardiovascular events is lower with intensive- versus moderate-dose statin therapy

TUESDAY, June 21 (HealthDay News) -- Intensive-dose statin therapy may be associated with an increased risk of new-onset diabetes and a lower risk of cardiovascular events, according to a meta-analysis published in the June 22/29 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

David Preiss, M.R.C.P., from the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom, and colleagues investigated whether intensive-dose statin therapy is associated with an increased risk of new-onset diabetes compared with moderate-dose statin therapy. Data from five statin trials were collected from 32,752 participants without diabetes at baseline who were followed up for more than one year. The characteristics and numbers of participants developing diabetes and experiencing major cardiovascular events were analyzed, and trial-specific odds ratios (ORs) for new-onset diabetes and major cardiovascular events were calculated. Heterogeneity was measured using the I² statistic.

The investigators found that 2,749 patients developed diabetes, 1,449 of whom had been assigned intensive-dose therapy and 1,300 assigned moderate-dose therapy, representing an extra 2.0 cases per 1,000 patient-years in the intensive-dose group. The number of patients experiencing cardiovascular events was 6,684, including 3,134 who had received intensive-dose and 3,550 who had moderate-dose statin therapy, representing 6.5 fewer cases per 1,000 patient-years in the intensive-dose group. The likelihood of new-onset diabetes was significantly increased (OR, 1.12; I² = 0 percent) and cardiovascular events were significantly decreased (OR, 0.84; I² = 74 percent) for participants receiving intensive-dose therapy compared to moderate-dose therapy.

"This meta-analysis extends earlier findings of an increased incidence of diabetes with statin therapy by providing evidence of a dose-dependent association," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

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