Are statins (Crestor, Lipitor, Livalo, etc.) associated with Diabetes?

black haired woman What statins have been associated with diabetes  and how large is the association???

Answer: 

It appears that roughly a 9% associated diabetes risk has been identified for one member of the statin family (rosuvastattin-Crestor). Many times, research involving a large number of patients helps decide how effective a medicine really is--and it can also identify possible side effects that have not been flushed out in smaller studies.

The JUPITOR trial (Justification for the Use of Statins in Primary Prevention: an Intervention Trial Evaluating Rosuvastatin) lowered the risk of heart attack by more than half in almost 18,000 people in the 2008 study.

When a closer look at this study and the great benefit in decreasing risk of death was examined further, it also looked like an association between taking this statin and about a 9% increased risk of diabetes. It's too early to say this drug caused diabetes, yet the association appeared clear.

It is important to remember that this means that if the data hold up, 91% of people who take this medicine (and perhaps any statin) will not have an associated diabetes. More clearly stated, the benefit outweighs the risk.

Still, this controversy is an important finding (personally important as Crestor is the statin that the author takes). For now, it seems reasonable for people taking a statin to talk to their doctor about having a baseline A1C (measure of sugar control in the prior three months) and perhaps every year while taking a statin. More information on statins is available in The Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs, Update on Statins, v 1.2 available from Amazon.

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