Statin use and risk of diabetes mellitus

World J Diabetes. 2015 Mar 15;6(2):352-7. doi: 10.4239/wjd.v6.i2.352.


The 3-hydroxy-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors, statins, are widely used in the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular diseases to lower serum cholesterol levels. As type 2 diabetes mellitus is accompanied by dyslipidemia, statins have a major role in preventing the long term complications in diabetes and are recommended for diabetics with normal low density lipoprotein levels as well. In 2012, United States Food and Drug Administration released changes to statin safety label to include that statins have been found to increase glycosylated haemoglobin and fasting serum glucose levels. Many studies done on patients with cardiovascular risk factors have shown that statins have diabetogenic potential and the effect varies as per the dosage and type used. The various mechanisms for this effect have been proposed and one of them is downregulation of glucose transporters by the statins. The recommendations by the investigators are that though statins can have diabetogenic risk, they have more long term benefits which can outweigh the risk. In elderly patients and those with metabolic syndrome, as the risk of diabetes increase, the statins should be used cautiously. Other than a subset of population with risk for diabetes; statins still have long term survival benefits in most of the patients.

Keywords: Cardiovascular risk; Dyslipidemia; Hyperglycemia; New onset diabetes mellitus; Statins.

Publication types

  • Review