February 20, 2017
1 min read

Benefits of statin therapy outweigh diabetes risk

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In a commentary published in The American Journal of Medicine, experts wrote that the CV benefits of statins outweigh any diabetes-related risk they may present.

Charles H. Hennekens, MD, from the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, and colleagues wrote that several studies show that the risk for diabetes from statin therapy is outweighed by the benefits in both treatment and prevention of MI and stroke.

"The totality of evidence clearly indicates that the more widespread and appropriate utilization of statins, as adjuncts, not alternatives to therapeutic lifestyle changes, will yield net benefits in the treatment and primary prevention of [MIs] and strokes, including among high-, medium- and low-risk patients unwilling or unable to adopt therapeutic lifestyle changes,” Hennekens said in a press release.

Charles H. Hennekens

According to the commentary, the underutilization of statins in the United States in secondary and primary prevention may cause too many premature deaths due to concerns about diabetes risks. These risks are especially higher in women, who have a higher rate of underutilization of statin therapy compared with men.

“Many premature deaths will occur needlessly if patients for whom statins are prescribed do not agree to take the drug or if patients prescribed statins stop taking the drug as a result of misplaced concerns about the risk of diabetes,” Hennekens and colleagues wrote.

Joseph Alpert, MD
Joseph S. Alpert

Clinical and public health challenges in treatment and primary prevention were stressed in a related editorial from Joseph S. Alpert, MD, editor-in-chief of The American Journal of Medicine, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of Arizona School of Medicine and a member of the Cardiology Today Editorial Board.

"There is no threshold for [LDL] below which there are no net benefits of statins either in the treatment or primary prevention of [MIs] and strokes," Alpert wrote. – by Dave Quaile

Disclosure: Hennekens reports financial ties with various device and pharmaceutical companies. Alpert reports no relevant financial disclosures.