"We therefore suggest that clinical practice for statin therapy does not need to change for patients with moderate or high cardiovascular risk or existing cardiovascular disease. However, the potentially raised diabetes risk should be taken into account if statin therapy is considered for patients at low cardiovascular risk or patient groups in which cardiovascular benefit has not been proven," they concluded.
The study authors also recommended monitoring of older people taking statins, since they have a higher risk of developing diabetes.
The findings were published online Feb. 16 and will appear in an upcoming print issue of The Lancet.
The benefit of taking statins to reduce cardiovascular risk greatly outweighs the risk of developing diabetes by a ratio of about 9:1, Dr. Christopher P. Cannon, of the cardiovascular division at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, wrote in an accompanying comment article.
"Nonetheless, this newly identified risk does warrant monitoring, and as such, in addition to periodic monitoring of liver-function tests and creatine kinase, it seems reasonable to add glucose to the list of tests to monitor in older patients on statins," Cannon said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about statins.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCE: The Lancet, news release, Feb. 16, 2010
All rights reserved