Harvard Heart Letter

Ask the doctor: Statins and the risk of diabetes

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Q. I've heard that taking statins can raise your risk of diabetes. Is this really true?

A. While it's true that some research has shown a link between statin use and a higher risk of diabetes, that observation doesn't necessarily prove a cause-and-effect relationship. However, in a small number of people, statins may raise blood sugar levels—potentially enough to trigger a new diagnosis of diabetes. The risk appears to be greater with higher-potency statins, such as atorvastatin (Lipitor) and simvastatin (Zocor), according to some research.

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