Background: Statin treatment may be associated with adverse effects on glucose metabolism. Whether this is a class effect is not known. In contrast, ezetimibe monotherapy may beneficially affect insulin sensitivity.
Objective: The aim of this study was to compare the effects of three different regimens of equivalent low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) lowering capacity on glucose metabolism.
Methods: A total of 153 patients (56 men), who had not achieved the LDL-C goal recommended by the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP-ATP III) despite a 3-month dietary and lifestyle intervention, were randomly allocated to receive open-label simvastatin 40 mg or rosuvastatin 10 mg or simvastatin/ezetimibe 10/10 mg for 12 weeks. The primary end point was changes in homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). Secondary endpoints consisted of changes in fasting insulin levels, fasting plasma glucose (FPG), glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c), the HOMA of β-cell function (HOMA-B) (a marker of basal insulin secretion by pancreatic β-cells), LDL-C and high sensitivity C reactive protein (hsCRP).
Results: At week 12, all three treatment regimens were associated with significant increases in HOMA-IR and fasting insulin levels (p < 0.05 compared with baseline). No significant difference was observed between groups. No change in FPG, HbA1c and HOMA-B levels compared with baseline were noted in any of the three treatment groups. Changes in serum lipids and hsCRP were similar across groups.
Conclusion: To the extent that simvastatin 40 mg, rosuvastatin 10 mg and simvastatin/ezetimibe 10/10 mg are associated with adverse effects on insulin resistance, they appear to be of the same magnitude.