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Statin-Associated Incident Diabetes: A Literature Review

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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate available evidence for incident diabetes associated with statin use and offer some practical management considerations.

DATA SOURCES: A literature search was performed using MEDLINE from 2000 to October 2013. The following MESH terms and text key words alone or in combination were included: 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors, HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, statins, incident diabetes, new-onset diabetes, insulin resistance, impaired insulin secretion, meta-analysis, cohort study, and observational study.

STUDY SELECTION: Analyzed studies were published in English and investigated incident diabetes associated with statin use.

DATA EXTRACTION: Author consensus determined study inclusion in this review, focusing on observational studies and meta-analyses.

DATA SYNTHESIS: Since the report of incident diabetes associated with rosuvastatin, an unexpected finding in the Justification for the Use of Statins in Prevention: an Intervention Trial Evaluating Rosuvastatin, safety concerns with statins have emerged. Results of observational studies and meta-analyses show association of incident diabetes with statin use in patients with concomitant risk factors for diabetes. A pharmacodynamic mechanism has yet to be delineated, and individual statins may behave differently. Whether cardiovascular (CV) risk will increase with statin-associated incident diabetes remains unclear.

CONCLUSION: Review of current, available clinical data suggest a possible association between statin use and incident diabetes in patients with underlying diabetes risk factors. Although study data may be insufficient to change the current practice paradigm, clinicians should vigilantly monitor for incident diabetes in patients on statins. Patients with a low risk of CV disease and high risk of diabetes should reconsider statin use and focus on lifestyle management.
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Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Department of Pharmacy Services, Swedish Covenant Hospital, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2014

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  • The Consultant Pharmacist® is the official peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. It is dedicated exclusively to the medication needs of the elderly in all settings, including adult day care, ambulatory care, assisted living, community, hospice, and nursing facilities. This award-winning journal is a member benefit of ASCP. Individuals who are not members and wish to receive The Consultant Pharmacist® will want to consider joining ASCP.
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