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Statins raises type 2 risk in older women by 51 per cent

By Editor
16th March 2017
Research, Type 2 prevention

High doses of statins taken by older women could be increasing their risk of a type 2 diagnosis by 51 per cent, according to new research.

A study, conducted by the University of Queensland, has shown that the drug commonly used to treat high cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attacks, significantly raises the risk of type 2 developing in females aged 75 and over by 33 per cent.

The drug, which is usually taken in a tablet form once a day, is a lifelong treatment.

UQ School of Public Health researcher Dr Mark Jones said: “Statins are highly prescribed in this age group but there are very few clinical trials looking at their effects on older women. The vast majority of research is on 40- to 70-year-old men.”

“We found that almost 50 per cent of women in their late seventies and eighties in the study took statins, and five per cent were diagnosed with new-onset diabetes.”

Around 8,372 women, born between 1921 and 1926, took part in the research and they were monitored on a regular basis as part of the Women’s Health Australia study.

Dr Jones added: “What’s most concerning was that we found a ‘dose effect’ where the risk of diabetes increased as the dosage of statins increased.

“Over the 10 years of the study most of the women progressed to higher doses of statins. GPs and their elderly female patients should be aware of the risks.”

Because of the findings, which have been published in the Drugs and Ageing journal, Dr Jones is now urging more awareness to be made by doctors about the potential dangers of the drug in elderly women.

He insists they should be “carefully and regularly monitored for increased blood glucose to ensure early detection and management of diabetes”.

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