It has long been suspected that certain types of cholesterol-fighting statin drugs might present a risk for new-onset diabetes mellitus (DM) and that the risk might be dose dependent.
Statins are used to prevent heart attacks and strokes by lowering cholesterol.
An analysis of clinical trials involving over 113,000 patients is just the latest body of work to explore the suspected risk between different statin drugs and developing new-onset diabetes mellitus (DM).
Published in the April issue of The American Journal of Cardiology, researchers from the University of Poland did a meta-analysis of 17 randomized trials to look at the impact of different statins versus placebo or a high-dose versus a moderate-dose of statin. They searched the randomized controlled trials (RCTs) through MEDLINE, Embase, and Cochrane databases.
The greatest risk of new-onset DM was presented by rosuvastatin, marketed by AstraZeneca as Crestor, at 20 mg/day (25% increased risk for DM). The lowest risk was seen for pravastatin (marketed by Bristol-Myers Squibb as Pravachol) at 40 mg/day.
The statin drug atorvastatin (marketed by Pfizer as Lipitor) at the dosage of 80 mg/day presented an intermediate risk.
In February 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration forced an upgrade to the label of statin drugs concerning the risks of Type 2 diabetes and the potential for memory loss. The symptoms appeared drug-related in that when the drug was stopped so did the symptoms.
The link to Type 2 diabetes has been shown in previous studies and presents an increased risk of heart problems.
Some patients report liver damage from Crestor use but the FDA concludes liver damage is rare and that a patient’s liver enzymes no longer must be regularly monitored.
Crestor, also known as rosuvastatin, was approved in August 2003 and works by partially blocking the synthesis of cholesterol in the liver. Side effects include constipation, nausea, stomach pain and muscle aches.
In March 2004, Public Citizen called on the FDA to ban Crestor, citing the potential for kidney failure and muscle damage.
In the U.S. one person a minute dies from a coronary event. Besides losing weight and exercise, The Pauling Institute at Oregon State University encourages a Mediterranean-style diet to quiet the inflammation in the body associated with several disease states.