Statins (HMG CoA reductase inhibitors) are a class of medicines that lower cholesterol by altering its production in the liver. Commonly prescribed statins include atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor), and simvastatin (Zocor). On average, these medicines lower LDL (bad) cholesterol by 70 mg/dl (1.8 mmol/L).
This week, in the American Journal of Cardiology, researchers looked at medical care and pharmacy records in a group of adults using the Taiwan National Insurance database to see if there was an association between statins and new-onset diabetes. During a four year follow up, individuals who used statins had a 20 percent higher risk of developing diabetes compared to those who did not. This increased risk of diabetes was offset by a 30 percent reduction in cardiovascular events (heart attacks, strokes) and death. Study authors concluded that the benefit of statins outweighed the increased risk of developing diabetes.