Q. I was put on Lipitor to control cholesterol and found it shot my blood sugar through the roof. My doctor suggested switching to Crestor. Would this drug also affect blood sugar?
A. You are not the first person to note that some cholesterol-lowering medicines might raise blood sugar levels. Another reader reported that after taking Crestor, his type 2 diabetes numbers also “went through the roof.” In addition, he reported: “my hands, feet and arms tingled so much I could hardly stand it.”
The official prescribing information for both Lipitor and Crestor mention elevated blood sugar as a possible side effect. A large study of over 17,000 patients (the Jupiter Trial) reported a higher incidence of diabetes in the subjects taking Crestor (New England Journal of Medicine, Nov. 20, 2008).
Researchers are not sure whether this is a real complication of statin-type drugs or just a coincidence. In the meantime, it is still important to control cholesterol since both it and diabetes can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.