Older women, over 75, taking statins -- cholesterol-lowering drugs -- may be at 33 per cent increased risk of developing diabetes, according to study.
The risk increased to over 50 per cent for women taking higher doses of statins, said researchers.
"The study showed that almost 50 per cent of women in their late seventies and eighties took statins, and five per cent were diagnosed with new-onset diabetes," said Mark Jones from the University of Queensland in Australia.
"What's most concerning was that we found a 'dose effect' where the risk of diabetes increased as the dosage of statins increased," Jones added.
Statins are prescribed to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes as well as reduce mortality.
For the study, published in the journal Drugs and Ageing, the team included 8,372 Australian women born between 1921 and 1926.
The results showed that elderly women should not be exposed to higher doses of statins.
Elderly women currently taking statins should be carefully and regularly monitored for increased blood glucose to ensure early detection and appropriate management of this potential adverse effect, including consideration of de-prescribing, the researchers suggested.
"Those elderly women taking statins should be carefully and regularly monitored for increased blood glucose to ensure early detection and management of diabetes," Jones added.