The association between the use of statins and the risk of diabetes and increased mortality within the same population has been a source of controversy, and may underestimate the value of statins for patients at risk.
We aimed to assess whether statin use increases the risk of developing diabetes or affects overall mortality among normoglycemic patients and patients with impaired fasting glucose (IFG).
Observational cohort study of 13,508 normoglycemic patients (n = 4460; 33% taking statins) and 4563 IFG patients (n = 1865; 41% taking statin) among residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota, with clinical data in the Mayo Clinic electronic medical record and at least one outpatient fasting glucose test between 1999 and 2004. Demographics, vital signs, tobacco use, laboratory results, medications and comorbidities were obtained by electronic search for the period 1999-2004. Results were analyzed by Cox proportional hazards models, and the risk of incident diabetes and mortality were analyzed by survival curves using the Kaplan-Meier method.
The main endpoints were new clinical diagnosis of diabetes mellitus and total mortality.
After a mean of 6 years of follow-up, statin use was found to be associated with an increased risk of incident diabetes in the normoglycemic (HR 1.19; 95% CI, 1.05 to 1.35; p = 0.007) and IFG groups (HR 1.24; 95%CI, 1.11 to 1.38; p = 0.0001). At the same time, overall mortality decreased in both normoglycemic (HR 0.70; 95% CI, 0.66 to 0.80; p < 0.0001) and IFG patients (HR 0.77, 95% CI, 0.64 to 0.91; p = 0.0029) with statin use.
In general, recommendations for statin use should not be affected by concerns over an increased risk of developing diabetes, since the benefit of reduced mortality clearly outweighs this small (19-24%) risk.