Study: Statins’ benefits outweigh diabetes risk

USA Today reports, “The benefits of taking cholesterol-lowering medications outweigh the increased risk some patients have of developing diabetes from using the drugs,” according to research published in the Lancet.

Investigators found that “patients who were at higher risk for diabetes were 39% less likely to develop a cardiovascular illness on statins and 17% less likely to die.” Meanwhile, “patients who were not already at risk for diabetes and were taking statins had a 52% reduction in cardiovascular illness, and no increase in diabetes risk.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that the researchers arrived at these conclusions after analyzing data from a clinical trial called JUPITER, which included approximately 17,000 participants.

MedPage Today reports that in an accompanying editorial, Gerald Watts, DSc, PhD, and Esther Ooi, PhD, of the University of Western Australia in Perth, wrote, “A major take-home message for the clinician involved in either primary or secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease is that all individuals on a statin who have major risk factors for diabetes, particularly impaired fasting glucose, need to be informed about the risk, monitored regularly for hyperglycemia, and advised to lose weight and take regular physical exercise to mitigate the emergence of diabetes.”

HealthDay points out that “the concern that” statins “increased the risk for diabetes prompted the US Food and Drug Administration to require labeling that warns users of the risk.”

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