Statin therapy in obese patients and the risk of diabetes

Study highlights importance of people at high risk of diabetes being monitored during statin therapy

Diabetes test close up

A growing body of evidence indicates that statins increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. However, in these studies, diabetes incidence was not the primary outcome and participants were at low-risk of diabetes.

In a paper in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care (online, 10 October 2017), a team used data from a randomised trial of interventions (placebo, metformin or lifestyle change) to prevent diabetes including a total of 3,234 overweight and obese participants, who were tested for diabetes annually[1]

At ten years, they found that the risk of being diagnosed with diabetes was 36% greater in people who received statins, regardless of which preventive intervention they had been assigned to.

The researchers said the findings indicate that people at high risk of diabetes should be monitored during statin therapy and noted that the benefits of statin treatment for cardiovascular disease prevention may outweigh the risk of diabetes.


[1] Crandall J, Mather K, Rajpathak S et al. Statin use and risk of developing diabetes: results from the Diabetes Prevention Program. BMJ Open Diab Res Care 2017;5:e000438. doi:10.1136/bmjdrc-2017-000438

Last updated
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, January 2018, Vol 10, No 1;10(1):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2017.20204049

You may also be interested in