HealthDay News — Using statins for as short a time as three months can put patients at risk for developing diabetes and skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs), according to a study published in the November issue of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

Humphrey H.T. Ko, from the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, and colleagues performed a sequence symmetry analysis of prescription claims for antidiabetic medications, antistaphylococcal antibiotics, and statins from the Australian Department of Veterans’ Affairs from 2001 through 2011. At intervals of 91, 182, and 365 days, the authors calculated adjusted sequence ratios and confidence intervals.

The researchers found statins to be associated with a significant risk for SSTIs (adjusted sequence ratios were 1.40 at 91 days, 1.41 at 182 days, and 1.40 at 365 days; confidence interval > 1). The greatest risk was found to be associated with statins atorvastatin and simvastatin. A significant risk was also observed for the onset of diabetes (adjusted sequence ratios were 1.19 at 91 days, 1.14 at 182 days, and 1.09 at 365 days; CI > 1). Again, atorvastatin and simvastatin were found to be linked to the greatest risk for the onset of diabetes.

“Our study supports the hypothesis that statin users are at increased risk of SSTIs and this risk was likely independent of diabetes status or the healthy user effect. Statins may increase SSTI risk via direct or indirect mechanisms,” the authors write. “It would seem prudent for clinicians to monitor blood glucose levels of statin users who are predisposed to diabetes, and be mindful of possible increased SSTI risks in such patients.”

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