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  1. Kam Uppell
  1. Correspondence to Kam Uppell, kuppell{at}

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Statin treatment and risk of developing diabetes

A study looking into whether there is an association between statin use and new onset diabetes found that patients treated with atorvastatin, rosuvastatin or simvastatin were at an increased risk of new onset diabetes compared with those treated with pravastatin.

Researchers conducted a population-based retrospective cohort study in patients aged 66 years and older in Ontario, Canada who started treatment with a statin from 1 August 1997 to 31 March 2010. They examined the healthcare records of more than 1.5 million older people. The analysis was restricted to new users who had not been prescribed a statin in at least the preceding year and patients with established diabetes before the start of treatment were excluded. The primary outcome was incident diabetes. Over the 14-year study period, the researchers identified 471 250 patients with no history of diabetes who were newly treated with a statin. Of these patients, 227 994 (48.3%) received a statin for primary prevention, while 243 256 (51.7%) received a statin for secondary prevention.

Reporting their findings in the British Medical Journal the researchers say that, compared with pravastatin, there was an increased risk of incident diabetes with atorvastatin (adjusted HR 1.22, 95% CI 1.15 to 1.29), rosuvastatin (1.18, 1.10 to 1.26) and simvastatin …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.