Taking statins for your heart problems? You might want to take a closer look at the dose and talk to your health care provider about lowering it. New research has found that higher doses of statins increase a person's risk for developing diabetes.

For the study, researchers from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver analyzed the health records of 137,000 patients from Canada, the U.S. and the UK. The patients were all prescribed statins after being hospitalized for a stroke, heart attack or other major heart problem between 1997 and 2011. At the beginning of the study, none of the participants had diabetes.

The researchers broke up the patients into groups depending upon whether they were taking high-dose statins or low-dose. Rosuvastatin (Crestor) prescribed at 10 milligrams or more per day, atorvastatin (Lipitor) at 20 mg or more and simvastatin (Zocor) at 40 mg or more were all considered high-dose statins. All other dosages were considered low-dose.

After two-years of taking the medication, researchers found that 3,600 of the patients in the study were diagnosed with diabetes. Participants taking high-dose statins were 15 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than those given lower dosages.

To be clear, the study's researchers are not recommending that patients taking statins discontinue their use.

“This is not about stopping statins,” said lead author Colin R. Dormuth, from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver in an interview with Reuters Health. “These patients should be on a statin, the question is, should they be on a higher or a lower dose?”

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High dose statins may increase diabetes risk
Study participants on higher doses of statins were 15 percent more likely to develop diabetes than those on lower doses.