As my tween daughter would say, "OMG!"
The media is a buzz with the news that the FDA is changing the warnings on statins.
The New York Times claims "Safety Alerts Cite Cholesterol Drugs Side Effects."
According to the Wall Street Journal "FDA Warns on Statin Drugs."
And the text on the bottom of the CNN report states "FDA places warning on statin labels."
Diabetes- This is another topic that I have blogged about, and one that seems not to want to go away. You can see my post "Statins Don't Cause Diabetes" for all the details. Much of the concern came from a Crestor trial which actually showed Crestor to cut heart attack risk in half in patients that had relatively normal cholesterol. This study used a particularly high dose of Crestor, and the FDA warnings point to other studies using high dose statins with similar findings. It is important to note that in the Crestor study, about 40% of the patients were at risk for developing diabetes in the first place, that measures of diabetes in the study were really no different, but the physician reported (i.e. unconfirmed) rates of diabetes were increased. However, more importantly, if you look at the actual rates of developing diabetes it was 3% in the Crestor group an 2.4% in the placebo group. In other words, if statins increase your risk of developing diabetes, it increases it only by 6/10 of a percent (not as low a winning the lottery/memory loss, but pretty darn low). However, with millions taking a statin, even a small risk is something to consider. However, one must also note that diabetes is a disease process more than just an isolated sugar number, and it is unclear what actual risk a statin would cause by turning a pre-diabetic patient into a diabetic one. In fact, patients who are pre-diabetic have a 4 to 6 times greater risk of heart attacks and strokes, and statins have been used in pre-diabetic patients and shown to reduce their risk of heart attack and strokes. Conversely, no study has shown that reducing sugar in a diabetic reduces their risk of heart attack and stroke.
Bottom Line-statins may raise your sugar a tiny bit, and for those patients who are at risk for developing diabetes, taking a high dose statin may "push" that patient into having diabetes sooner than expected. However, even in that circumstance, the statin is probably still well worth the risk since it is potentially preventing a heart attack or stroke and slightly increasing the sugar probably has no clinical ramifications.