This small risk is outweighed by the drugs' heart-protecting properties but it could prompt a rethink among those with low cardiovascular risk factors who are tempted to take statins to prevent future heart disease.
"It will stop us putting statins in the water, as it were, and mean we give them when appropriate for the right reasons."
Lovastatin, a compound isolated from Aspergillus terreus, was the first statin to be marketed for lowering cholesterol. Image source: Wikipedia, public domain.
Statins are among the most successful drugs of all time and have been credited with preventing millions of heart attacks and strokes.
This Lancet meta-analysis included 13 large randomised controlled trials involving more than 91,000 patients.
Treating 255 patients with statins for 4 years would result in only one extra case of diabetes.
Giving statins to the same group would avoid 5.4 deaths or heart attacks over 4 years, and nearly the same number of strokes.
Clinical practice in patients with moderate or high cardiovascular risk or existing cardiovascular disease should not change.
Statins Don't Cause Diabetes. Dr. Mintz' Blog.