Clinical studies have shown that statins can increase the risk of new-onset diabetes. However, little is known about the risks in older women.
To investigate, researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia looked at data from 8,372 women born between 1921 and 1926 who were diabetes-free on 1 January 2003.
Over ten years of follow up, 49% of the women were prescribed statins and 5% had initiated treatment for new-onset diabetes. Statin exposure was determined based on prescriptions dispensed between 1 July 2002 and 31 August 2013.
The researchers calculated that the risk of diabetes increased the higher the dose of statin, from 17% increased risk (hazard ratio [HR] 1.17, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.84–1.65) for the lowest dose, to 51% (HR 1.51 95% CI 1.14–1.99) for the highest dose.
Reporting in the March 2017 issue of Drugs and Aging
, the researchers conclude that older women taking statins should be regularly monitored to ensure early detection of potential diabetes.
 Jones M, Tett S, Geeske MEE et al. New-onset diabetes after statin exposure in elderly women: the Australian longitudinal study on women’s health. Drugs Aging 2017;34:203–209. doi: 10.1007/s40266-017-0435-0