Case studies

Diabetes has developed while the patient was taking a statin: a concerned patient

Leon A Simons



Although there is a risk of developing diabetes while taking statins, the net benefit for patients at high cardiovascular risk still strongly favours statin therapy.

Key Points

  • The risk of developing diabetes is associated with increasing age, excess body weight and genetic factors.
  • Statin therapy may increase the risk of developing diabetes, either through exacerbation of background factors or through less well-defined mechanisms; however, the absolute risk of this event is low.
  • Patients taking statins require monitoring of their plasma glucose levels.
  • The case for statin therapy remains strong, but is dependent on a favourable balance of benefit to risk. Such therapy should be restricted to those at increased cardiovascular risk.