Lipitor increases the risk of Type 2 Diabetes?

A study appearing in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests that high doses of Lipitor may be linked to an increased risk in developing Type 2 Diabetes:

We used a standard definition of diabetes and excluded patients with prevalent diabetes at baseline. We identified baseline predictors of new-onset T2DM and compared the event rates in patients with and without new-onset T2DM.

High-dose atorvastatin treatment compared with placebo in the SPARCL trial is associated with a slightly increased risk of new-onset T2DM. Baseline fasting glucose level and features of the metabolic syndrome are predictive of new-onset T2DM across the 3 trials.

Of course, this is not the first study that has suggested this type of connection.  However, consider

But it also suggests that the risk may largely exist among people who also have the well-known risk factors for type 2 diabetes — including excess weight, high blood sugar, elevated triglycerides (a type of blood fat) and high blood pressure.

Those four factors appear “very good at distinguishing people at high or low risk for developing new-onset diabetes with atorvastatin,” lead researcher Dr. David D. Waters, of the University of California at San Francisco, told Reuters Health in an email.

So managing those risk factors — by shedding excess pounds, for example — would be important for curbing any extra diabetes risk, Waters said.

He also stressed that the diabetes risk tied to statins is small.

“An important point,” Waters said, “is that the risk of developing new-onset diabetes and its complications (is) greatly outweighed by the benefit of statins in reducing cardiac death, heart attack and stroke.”

In other words, Waters claims that the risk of diabetes is less than the risk of cardiac or stroke events if Lipitor is not used.