Co-Q10 deficiency may relate to concern with statin drugs, higher risk of diabetes

(Medical Xpress)—A laboratory study has shown for the first time that coenzyme Q10 offsets the cellular changes that are linked to a side-effect of some statin drugs - an increased risk of adult-onset diabetes.

Statins are some of the most widely prescribed drugs in the world, able to reduce LDL, or "bad" , and the risk of heart attacks or other cardiovascular events. However, their role in raising the risk of diabetes has only been observed and studied in recent years.

The possibility of thousands of statin-induced diabetics is a growing concern, which led last year to new labeling and warnings by the about the drugs, especially when taken at higher dosage levels.

The findings of the new research were published as a rapid communication in Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders, and offer another clue to a possible causative mechanism of this problem.

Pharmacy researchers at Oregon State University who authored the study said the findings were made only in laboratory analysis of cells, and more work needs to be done with animal and ultimately human studies before recommending the use of coenzyme Q10 to help address this concern.

"A number of large, have now shown that use of statins can increase the risk of developing type-2 diabetes by about 9 percent," said Matthew K. Ito, an OSU professor of pharmacy and president-elect of the National Lipid Association.

"This is fairly serious, especially if you are in the large group of patients who have not yet had a , but just take to lower your risks of heart disease," Ito said.

A suspect in this issue has been altered levels of a protein called GLUT4, which is part of the mechanism, along with insulin, that helps to control . A reduced expression of GLUT4 contributes to and the onset of type-2 diabetes, and can be caused by the use of some statin drugs.

The statins that reduce cholesterol production also reduce levels of coenzyme Q10, research has shown. Coenzyme Q10 is needed in cells to help create energy and perform other important functions. And this study showed in laboratory analysis that if coenzyme Q10 is supplemented to cells, it prevents the reduction in GLUT4 induced by the statins.

Not all statin drugs, however, appear to cause a reduction in GLUT4.

The problems were found with one statin, simvastatin, that is "lipophilic," which means it can more easily move through the cell membrane. Some of the most commonly used statins are lipophilic, including simvastatin, atorvastatin, and lovastatin. All of these statins are now available as generic drugs, and high dosage levels have been most often linked with the increase in diabetes.

Tests in the new study done with a "hydrophilic" statin, in this case pravastatin, did not cause reduced levels of GLUT4. Pravastatin is also available as a generic .

"The concern about increasing levels of diabetes is important," Ito said. "We need to better understand why this is happening. There's no doubt that statins can reduce cardiovascular events, from 25-45 percent, and are very valuable drugs in the battle against heart disease. It would be significant if it turns out that use of coenzyme Q10 can help offset the concerns about statin use and diabetes."

Before that conclusion can be reached, the researchers said, additional studies are needed on coenzyme Q10 supplementation and the pathogenesis of statin-induced diabetes.

Related Stories

Statins shown to lower blood pressure

Apr 14, 2008

A large, randomized drug trial has shown for the first time that statin drugs result in a modest, but significant, reduction in blood pressure. These effects may contribute to the reduced risk of stroke and cardiovascular ...

Recommended for you

UN says Syria vaccine deaths was an NGO 'mistake'

15 minutes ago

The recent deaths of Syrian children after receiving measles vaccinations was the result of a "mistake" by a non-governmental partner who mixed in a muscle relaxant meant for anesthesia, a spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general ...

First US child dies from enterovirus D68

45 minutes ago

A child in the northeastern US state of Rhode Island has become the first to die from an ongoing outbreak of a respiratory virus, enterovirus D68, health officials said Wednesday.

US Ebola patient had contact with kids: governor

55 minutes ago

A man who was diagnosed with Ebola in virus in Texas came in contact with young children, and experts are monitoring them for any signs of disease, governor Rick Perry said Wednesday.

UN worker dies of suspected Ebola in Liberia

1 hour ago

The United Nations mission in Liberia announced on Wednesday the first suspected victim among its employees of the deadly Ebola epidemic ravaging the impoverished west African nation.

AAO-HNSF clinical practice guideline: Tinnitus

1 hour ago

The American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery Foundation has released the first ever mutli-disciplinary, evidence-based clinical practice guideline to improve the diagnosis and management of tinnitus, the ...

User comments