Statins and New-Onset Diabetes Mellitus and Diabetic Complications: A Retrospective Cohort Study of US Healthy Adults

Ishak Mansi, Christopher R. Frei, Chen Pin Wang, Eric M. Mortensen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    60 Scopus citations


    Background: Statin use is associated with increased incidence of diabetes and possibly with increased body weight and reduced exercise capacity. Data on the long-term effects of these associations in healthy adults, however, are very limited. In addition, the relationship between these effects and diabetic complications has not been adequately studied. Objective: To examine the association between statin use and new-onset diabetes, diabetic complications, and overweight/obesity in a cohort of healthy adults. Research Design: This was a retrospective cohort study. Participants: Subjects were Tricare beneficiaries who were evaluated between October 1, 2003 and March 1, 2012. Patients were divided into statin users and nonusers. Intervention: We excluded patients who, at baseline, had a preexisting disease indicative of cardiovascular diseases, any positive element of the Charlson comorbidity index (including diabetes mellitus), or life-limiting chronic diseases. Using 42 baseline characteristics, we generated a propensity score to match statin users and nonusers. Main Measures: Outcomes assessed included new-onset diabetes, diabetic complications, and overweight/obesity. Key Results: A total of 25,970 patients (3982 statin users and 21,988 nonusers) were identified as healthy adults at baseline. Of these, 3351 statins users and 3351 nonusers were propensity score-matched. Statin users had higher odds of new-onset diabetes (odds ratio [OR] 1.87; 95 % confidence interval [95 % CI] 1.67–2.01), diabetes with complications (OR 2.50; 95 % CI 1.88–3.32), and overweight/obesity (OR 1.14; 95 % CI 1.04–1.25). Secondary and sensitivity analyses demonstrated similar findings. Conclusions: Diabetes, diabetic complications, and overweight/obesity were more commonly diagnosed among statin-users than similar nonusers in a healthy cohort of adults. This study demonstrates that short-term clinical trials might not fully describe the risk/benefit of long-term statin use for primary prevention.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1599-1610
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of General Internal Medicine
    Issue number11
    StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


    • Adverse events
    • Diabetes
    • Diabetic complications
    • Observational study
    • Overweight/obesity
    • Primary prevention
    • Satins

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Internal Medicine


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