Statins and newly diagnosed diabetes

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2004 Sep;58(3):303-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2004.02142.x.


Aims: In order to evaluate a hypothesized protective effect of the use of HMG Co-A reductase inhibitors (statins) on the development of Type 2 diabetes, we conducted a nested case-control study based on data from the UK-based General Practice Research Database (GPRD).

Methods: We identified a population of adults 30-79 years of age between 1 January 1991 and 31 March 2002, who were being treated with a statin or who were diagnosed with hyperlipidaemia but were not being treated with a lipid-lowering drug. From this population we identified all incident cases of Type 2 diabetes. We conducted a nested case-control study encompassing 588 cases and 2063 matched controls.

Findings: We observed an adjusted odds ratio (OR) of 1.1 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.8, 1.4] for current statin users compared with non-exposed subjects and adjusted ORs for pravastatin use alone and simvastatin use alone compared with non-exposed of 0.7 (95% CI 0.4, 1.2) and 1.0 (95% CI 0.7, 1.3), respectively. There was little evidence for a duration effect for simvastatin in these data, though there is a slight suggestion of a long-term protective effect with pravastatin.

Conclusion: The current study results are most consistent with the conclusion that there is little if any protective effect of statins on the development of Type 2 diabetes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Hyperglycemia / prevention & control
  • Middle Aged


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors