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by Robert MacKay, Friday, February 19, 2010 | Categories: Cholesterol

A research group in the UK have claimed that the use of statins increases the chances of someone developing diabetes. However they said that the risk of diabetes was outweighed by the benefits that statins provide.

The team analysed data from 13 different trials, were statins were prescribed to over 90,000 patients. Of those patients, over 4,000 went on to develop type 2 diabetes during the 4 years the average patient was monitored for. The study was published in the Lancet.

Taking a statin according to the study put patients at a 9% higher risk of developing diabetes compared with those who were not on statin treatment. This was the equivalent of 1 person amongst 255 patients taking statins for 4 years of developing diabetes.

The researchers particularly noticed that for older patients, there seemed to be a stronger association between diabetes and statins. However there seemed to be no greater risk dependant on the type of statin used.

Statins are widely prescribed to lower cholesterol levels in patients, generally above 40 years of age. They have been shown to dramatically reduce the chances of someone experiencing a heart attack or stroke, as high cholesterol can cause blockages in the heart due to the build up of fatty deposits in the arteries.

The lead researcher, Professor Naveed Satar, professor at Glasgow University  of metabolic medicine, said that clinical practice in the treatment of cardiovascular problems would not change, regardless of the findings of the study. He said that the “small absolute risk” of developing the condition was outweighed by the reduction in risk for strokes and heart attacks.

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