Diabetes Forecast

Statins Do Not Raise Complications Risks for People With Diabetes

What to Know

Statins are drugs commonly prescribed to lower cholesterol (harmful fats in the blood), reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Some studies have suggested that statins raise blood glucose levels, which could increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. Researchers wanted to know whether people who took statins before they were diagnosed with diabetes had a higher risk of eye, nerve, kidney, or foot complications than people who had not taken statins.

The Study

Researchers in Denmark reviewed the health records of nearly 15,700 people who took statins before they were diagnosed with diabetes and more than 47,000 people who did not take statins before learning they had diabetes. All of them were at least 40 years old. They then compared both groups’ rates of eye, nerve, and kidney disease and the frequency of gangrene of the foot.

The Results

Those who took statins before their diabetes diagnosis were less likely to have developed eye and nerve disease or gangrene of the foot. Statin takers did not have lower rates of kidney disease, however. These results held even after the researchers adjusted the data to account for various factors that could have influenced the results.


Statins, it appears, do not raise the risk of eye, nerve, or kidney disease or the risk of gangrene of the foot. In fact, they may help protect against some of these common diabetes complications. More study needs to be done to confirm these results.

Statin use before diabetes diagnosis and risk of microvascular disease: a nationwide nested matched study, by Nielsen and Nordestgaard. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology 2014;11:894-900 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(14)70173-1

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