The cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins, such as Lipitor and Crestor, have been suspected of causing serious side effects, chiefly muscle weakness and liver damage. Now a new study shows that there is a possibility that statins may cause Type 2 diabetes in some patients. Millions of Americans take statins. So if diabetes is caused in only a tiny percentage of users, that would still be a large number of people.
The new study is based on the Women’s Health Initiative, which started 15 years ago as a way to track the health of post-menopausal women. The study showed that 10% of the participants developed diabetes, compared with 6% of people who do not take statins. Only a 4% difference, but potentially hundreds of thousands of patients.
This news probably shouldn’t scare anyone away from taking statins, but it might make some of us make a better effort to control our cholesterol through diet and exercise rather than by taking medications.