We investigated whether atorvastatin might decrease insulin sensitivity and increase ambient glycemia in hypercholesterolemic patients.
Clinical trials suggest that some statin treatments might increase the incidence of diabetes despite reductions in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and improvement in endothelial dysfunction.
A randomized, single-blind, placebo-controlled parallel study was conducted in 44 patients taking placebo and in 42, 44, 43, and 40 patients given daily atorvastatin 10, 20, 40, and 80 mg, respectively, during a 2-month treatment period.
Atorvastatin 10, 20, 40, and 80 mg significantly reduced LDL cholesterol (39%, 47%, 52%, and 56%, respectively) and apolipoprotein B levels (33%, 37%, 42%, and 46%, respectively) after 2 months of therapy when compared with either baseline (all p < 0.001 by paired t test) or placebo (p < 0.001 by analysis of variance [ANOVA]). Atorvastatin 10, 20, 40, and 80 mg significantly increased fasting plasma insulin (mean changes: 25%, 42%, 31%, and 45%, respectively) and glycated hemoglobin levels (2%, 5%, 5%, and 5%, respectively) when compared with either baseline (all p < 0.05 by paired t test) or placebo (p = 0.009 for insulin and p = 0.008 for glycated hemoglobin by ANOVA). Atorvastatin 10, 20, 40, and 80 mg decreased insulin sensitivity (1%, 3%, 3%, and 4%, respectively) when compared with either baseline (p = 0.312, p = 0.008, p < 0.001, and p = 0.008, respectively, by paired t test) or placebo (p = 0.033 by ANOVA).
Despite beneficial reductions in LDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B, atorvastatin treatment resulted in significant increases in fasting insulin and glycated hemoglobin levels consistent with insulin resistance and increased ambient glycemia in hypercholesterolemic patients. (Effects of Atorvastatin on Adiponectin Levels and Insulin Sensitivity In Hypercholesterolemic Patients; NCT00745836)