Atorvastatin Linked to Insulin Resistance, Ambient Glycemia

In hypercholesterolemia, drug associated with increases in fasting insulin, glycated hemoglobin
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- In individuals with hypercholesterolemia, the use of atorvastatin is associated with higher fasting insulin and glycated hemoglobin, suggesting insulin resistance and higher ambient glycemia, according to research published in the March 23 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Kwang Kon Koh, M.D., of Gachon University in Incheon, South Korea, and colleagues analyzed data from 213 patients with hypercholesterolemia who were randomized to receive placebo or 10, 20, 40 or 80 mg of atorvastatin daily for two months.

The researchers found that all dosages of atorvastatin significantly lowered low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein B levels compared to baseline or placebo. Atorvastatin also significantly increased fasting plasma insulin by 25 to 45 percent and increased glycated hemoglobin by 2 to 5 percent compared to baseline or placebo. The drug significantly decreased insulin sensitivity compared to baseline or placebo.

"Because HbA1C levels are a sensitive indicator of ambient glycemia, our results strongly suggest that atorvastatin causes glucose intolerance that is due, in part, to decreased insulin sensitivity. These off-target detrimental metabolic effects of atorvastatin occur despite beneficial effects to improve lipid profile, flow-mediated dilation, and circulating pro-inflammatory markers," the authors write.

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