a bottle of crestor and a bottle of lipitor

Q. I have been treated for prostate cancer. My oncologist has recommended that I take the diabetes drug metformin and the cholesterol medication rosuvastatin to reduce my risk of recurrence.

When I saw my family doctor and said I am taking these drugs, he was surprised. He had never heard of this use and said it was off-label. Is there any evidence that these drugs would be helpful against cancer?

A. There are studies to suggest that the diabetes drug metformin could have anti-cancer activity. An overview published in Investigative and Clinical Urology (May, 2016) noted that “Use of metformin has been shown to be associated with decreased incidence and improved outcomes of prostate, bladder, and kidney cancer.” 

Statins and an Anticancer Effect?

There are biological reasons to expect statins might also block prostate cancer, but the research so far has been inconclusive (Nutrition and Metabolic Insights, online July 14, 2016). An Australian study is underway to determine if metformin and atorvastatin together can affect the course of localized but aggressive prostate cancer (Contemporary Clinical Trials, online June 28, 2016).  The answer won’t be apparent for a few more years.

Before anyone asks about either metformin or rosuvastatin (Crestor) it is important to know about potential adverse drug reactions:

Metformin Side Effects:

  • Digestive upset, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, flatulence, GI pain
  • Rash
  • Exhaustion
  • Headache
  • Vitamin D depletion
  • Lactic acidosis (confusion, anxiety, headache, fatigue, weakness, nausea, rapid pulse, irregular heart rhythms, sweating, clammy skin, rapid breathing

Crestor (rosuvastatin) Side Effects:

  • Muscle aches, muscle pain, muscle cramps, weakness
  • Abdominal discomfort, nausea, diarrhea
  • Blood sugar elevation, diabetes
  • Back pain
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Dizziness
  • Skin reactions, itching, rash
  • Liver damage
  • Insomnia
  • Forgetfulness, memory problems
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cataracts

We look forward to the day when we have more data on the benefits and risks of metformin and statin-type drugs against prostate cancer. It would be very good news indeed if such drugs could prevent recurrence of this potentially deadly cancer.

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. rick

    I think the reason this patient was prescribed statins is basically very simple to explain $$$$$. The prescription drug industry is out of control and is causing more suffering yet curing none!

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.