Diabetes may be an unexpected side effect of cholesterol-lowering medicine. Statin-type drugs such as Crestor, Lipitor, and Zocor (also known as simvastatin) are frequently prescribed to people at risk for heart disease. This includes patients with diabetes, who are particularly vulnerable to cardiovascular problems. A new analysis of five large randomized, double-blind clinical trials has shown that high-dose statins increase the likelihood of patients developing type 2 diabetes compared to moderate doses of the same drugs.
This comes on the heels of the FDA’s warning that high-dose simvastatin should be avoided except in patients already taking this drug without complications. The increased risk of muscle problems and now diabetes suggests that high doses of statins may not be as safe over the long term as doctors once thought.
[JAMA, June 22, 2011]