(HealthDay News) – Initiating statin therapy is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, which is not explained by differential survival, according to a study published in the May issue of Diabetes Care.

To examine the correlation between statin therapy and the risk of type 2 diabetes, Goodarz Danaei, ScD, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues used electronic medical records from 500 general practices in the United Kingdom and included data from 285,864 50- to 84-year-old men and women seen from January 2000–December 2010. The design and analysis of a hypothetical randomized trial was emulated to estimate the intention-to-treat effect. Inverse-probability weighting was used to adjust for differential survival bias.

The researchers found that there were 13,455 cases of type 2 diabetes and 8,932 deaths over 1.2 million person-years of follow-up. An increased risk of type 2 diabetes correlated with statin initiation. The unadjusted hazard ratio of diabetes was 1.45, and the significant correlation persisted, but was attenuated, after adjustment for potential confounders (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.14). The estimates were not changed with adjustment for differential survival. The risk of type 2 diabetes was increased with initiation of atorvastatin and simvastatin.

“In summary, our results support a slightly increased risk of diabetes due to statin therapy in this general population in the United Kingdom,” the authors write. “We did not find any evidence of bias due to differential survival.”

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