Statin users have an elevated risk of dysglycemia and new-onset-diabetes

Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2019 Nov;35(8):e3189. doi: 10.1002/dmrr.3189. Epub 2019 Jul 7.


Objective: Statins are one of the most widely prescribed medications in the United States; however, there is a concern that they are associated with new-onset-diabetes (NOD) development. We sought to understand the risk of dysglycemia and NOD for a cohort of individuals that reflect real-world physician prescribing patterns.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted among individuals with indications for statin use (n = 7064). To examine elevated glycosylated hemoglobin (>6.0%), logistic regression with inverse probability weighting was used to create balance between incident statin users and nonusers. To evaluate the risk of NOD development, Cox PH models with time varying statin use compared NOD diagnoses among statin users and nonusers.

Results: A higher prevalence of elevated HbA1c (PD = 0.065; 95% CI: 0.002, 0.129, P = 0.045) occurred among nondiabetic incident users of statins. Additionally, statin users had a higher risk of developing NOD (AHR = 2.20; 95% CI: 1.35, 3.58, P = 0.002). Those taking statins for 2 years or longer (AHR = 3.33; 95% CI: 1.84, 6.01, P < 0.001) were at the greatest risk of developing NOD; no differences were observed by statin class or intensity of dose.

Conclusion: As lifestyle programs like the Diabetes Prevention Program are promoted in primary care settings, we hope physicians will integrate and insurers support healthy lifestyle strategies as part of the optimal management of individuals at risk for both NOD and cardiovascular disease. The relationships between statin use and glycemic control should be evaluated in large cohort studies, medical record databases, and mechanistic investigations to inform clinical judgment and treatment.

Keywords: dysglycemia; inverse probability weighting; statin use; survival analysis; type 2 diabetes mellitus.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / analysis*
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Diabetes Mellitus / chemically induced
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glucose Intolerance / chemically induced
  • Glucose Intolerance / epidemiology*
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human