Recent Canadian Study Published In BMJ Medical Journal Suggests The Increased Risk Of Diabetes Seems To Be Highest In The First Four Months Of Statin Use
- [LIPITOR pills are:] White, elliptical, film-coated tablets containing 10, 20, 40, and 80 mg atorvastatin calcium.
- The recommended starting dose of LIPITOR is 10 or 20 mg once daily.
- The dosage range of LIPITOR is 10 to 80 mg once daily.
In our January 2014 article, "Pfizer's Lipitor Statin Drug For Treatment Of High Cholesterol Linked To An Increased Risk Of Type-2 Diabetes In Some Older And Post-Menopausal Women", we listed some of the medical journal articles reviewed by the FDA prior to issuing its February 2012 Lipitor - diabetes warning.
More recently, in May 2014, BMJ (formerly known as the British Medical Journal) published this article, "Higher potency statins and the risk of new diabetes: multicentre, observational study of administrative databases", which further implicates higher doses of Lipitor as a possible cause of new-onset Type-2 diabetes in some adult women.
From the Abstract for this May 2014 BMJ aritcle:
Results In the first two years of regular statin use, we observed a significant increase in the risk of new onset diabetes with higher potency statins compared with lower potency agents (rate ratio 1.15, 95% confidence interval 1.05 to 1.26). The risk increase seemed to be highest in the first four months of use (rate ratio 1.26, 1.07 to 1.47).
Conclusions Higher potency statin use is associated with a moderate increase in the risk of new onset diabetes compared with lower potency statins in patients treated for secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Clinicians should consider this risk when prescribing higher potency statins in secondary prevention patients.
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For some contextual information concerning this recent statins - diabetes medical journal article we refer to this June 9, 2014 Reuters news report, "Higher doses of statins linked to diabetes risk":
The researchers considered rosuvastatin (brand name Crestor) prescribed at 10 milligrams or more per day, atorvastatin (Lipitor) at 20 mg or more and simvastatin (Zocor) at 40 mg or more to be higher-potency statins. All other dosages were considered lower potency.
About 3,600 of the patients were diagnosed with diabetes within two years of starting the drugs, according to results published in BMJ.
Those prescribed a higher-potency statin were 15 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than those given lower dosages....
The first major statin trial was published in 1994, but researchers did not suspect a link with diabetes until 2008, said David Preiss. He has studied statins and diabetes at the University of Glasgow in Scotland and was not part of the new study.
After that, two major trials were published which found that taking a statin puts people at slightly higher risk of developing diabetes and taking a stronger statin puts them at slightly higher risk than taking a weaker statin, he said.
“Commonly used statins, such as simvastatin, atorvastatin and rosuvastatin, taken at a lower dose probably puts one at 10 percent higher risk of developing diabetes,” Preiss said. “Taking these same statins at high doses probably pushes this up to about 20 percent.” [emphasis added]
We will continue to monitor this emerging drug-safety issue concerning association between new-onset diabetes mellitus (DM), or Type-2 diabetes, and higher doses of Lipitor as well as other statins.