Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care




Objective Several clinical trials of cardiovascular disease prevention with statins have reported increased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) with statin therapy. However, participants in these studies were at relatively low risk for diabetes. Further, diabetes was often based on self-report and was not the primary outcome. It is unknown whether statins similarly modify diabetes risk in higher risk populations.

Research design and methods During the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study (n=3234), the long-term follow-up to a randomized clinical trial of interventions to prevent T2DM, incident diabetes was assessed by annual 75 g oral glucose tolerance testing and semiannual fasting glucose. Lipid profile was measured annually, with statin treatment determined by a participant’s own physician outside of the protocol. Statin use was assessed at baseline and semiannual visits.

Results At 10 years, the cumulative incidence of statin initiation prior to diabetes diagnosis was 33%–37% among the randomized treatment groups (p=0.36). Statin use was associated with greater diabetes risk irrespective of treatment group, with pooled HR (95% CI) for incident diabetes of 1.36 (1.17 to 1.58). This risk was not materially altered by adjustment for baseline diabetes risk factors and potential confounders related to indications for statin therapy.

Conclusions In this population at high risk for diabetes, we observed significantly higher rates of diabetes with statin therapy in all three treatment groups. Confounding by indication for statin use does not appear to explain this relationship. The effect of statins to increase diabetes risk appears to extend to populations at high risk for diabetes.

Trial registration number NCT00038727; Results.


Reproduced with permission of BMJ Publishing. BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care

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