Background: Niacin increases fasting glucose levels, and statins modestly increase the rate of new-onset diabetes. The clinical importance and mechanisms of these effects are not fully explored. Objective: On the basis of anecdotal observations, we hypothesized that elevated morning fasting glucose may be accompanied by relatively normal hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) in patients treated with niacin and other lipid-modifying drugs. We conducted a retrospective cohort analysis to test this hypothesis. Methods: The Duke Lipid Clinic database (1994-2007) was screened for simultaneous determinations of fasting morning glucose and HbA1c, yielding 1483 data pairs among 554 subjects. Subjects with diabetes, by clinical diagnosis, medication, or any HbA1c ≥6.5%, or nondiabetes were analyzed separately. Repeated-measures linear regression featured glucose as dependent variable and included terms for HbA1c, drug(s), and their interaction. Results: Regression lines for glucose on HbA1c had altered slopes in the presence of niacin and/or statin use in normoglycemic subjects. The corresponding interaction terms (drug and HbA1c) were significant (niacin P =.026, statin P =.013). Fibrate use had no effect (interaction P =.49). When modeled together, niacin and statin effects were independent. Regression curves in diabetic patients were not affected by lipid medications. Conclusion: Elevated fasting glucose may be accompanied by relatively normal HbA1c in niacin- and statin-treated patients. HbA1c reflects average daily glucose levels and is likely a better measure of the glycemic effect of lipid medications. Because our data were retrospective, confirmation from randomized trials is needed.
- Hemoglobin A1c
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine