New Concern About Statin Use in Postmenopausal Women: New-Onset Diabetes

New Concern About Statin Use in Postmenopausal Women: New-Onset Diabetes

Statin use in postmenopausal women is associated with an increased risk of new-onset diabetes mellitus, according to a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Annie L. Culver, from the divisions of preventive and behavioral medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, and colleagues conducted a prospective analysis of 153,840 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 years. The women were recruited from 40 sites across the US from 1993 to 1998; the study was part of the Women’s Health Initiative.
Statin use data was obtained at enrollment and again at year 3 of the study. Similarly, diabetes incidence was calculated at enrollment and annually from that point onward. The researchers found that approximately 7% of the women reported statin use at study initiation. At that time, none of the women had diabetes.

Overall, Culver and colleagues found 10,242 incident cases of self-reported diabetes over 1,004,466 person-years of follow-up. They further determined that statin use at baseline was associated with an increased risk of diabetes (hazard ratio=1.71). When the researchers adjusted for confounders, they still found an increased hazard ratio (1.48). Moreover, the increased risk was found for all types of statins.

“The results of this study imply that statin use conveys an increased risk of new-onset DM [diabetes mellitus] in postmenopausal woman,” Culver and colleagues noted. “In keeping with the findings of other studies, our results suggest that statin-induced DM is a medication class effect and not related to potency or to individual statin.”

“However, the consequences of statin-induced DM (diabetes mellitus) have not been specifically defined and deserve more attention,” they added. “Given the wide use of statins in the aging population, further studies among women, men, and diverse ethnicities will clarify DM risk and risk management to optimize therapy.”

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Culver AL, Ockene IS, Balasubramanian R, et al. Statin use and risk of diabetes mellitus in postmenopausal women in the Women’s Health Initiative. Arch Intern Med. 2012;Jan 10 [Epub].

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