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Statins Tied to Decreased Insulin Sensitivity, Secretion

Large Finnish study found a nearly 50 percent increase in DM for people taking statins

THURSDAY, March 5, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Statin drugs may significantly increase a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a new study from Finland 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 six years. The men were between 45 and 73 years old. One in four of the men were taking a statin at the beginning of the study. The health of the men was followed for nearly six 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 percent 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 percent, and insulin secretion by 12 percent. 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 percent increased risk of developing diabetes, while for low-dose simvastatin the increased risk was 28 percent. High-dose atorvastatin was linked to a 37 percent 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.

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