Statins associated with new-onset diabetes

The prescribing advice for statins has been updated, in line with MHRA guidance, regarding an increased risk of hyperglycaemia and new-onset diabetes in patients receiving statins.

Untreated hypercholesterolaemia can lead to atherosclerosis and narrowing of the arteries. | SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Untreated hypercholesterolaemia can lead to atherosclerosis and narrowing of the arteries. | SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

The risk is mainly seen in patients who are already at an increased risk of developing diabetes, including those with raised fasting blood glucose, a history of hypertension, raised triglycerides or raised BMI. The level of risk may vary between statins, but there is insufficient evidence to confirm or exclude an increased risk for any member of the drug class.

Benefits still outweigh risk

Patients at risk should be monitored both clinically and biochemically according to national guidelines. However, the MHRA advises that the overall benefits of statins continue to strongly outweigh any risks, including in patients with or at risk of developing diabetes.

Further information:

Drug Safety Update January 2012

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