THURSDAY, Aug. 9 (HealthDay News) -- The cardiac benefits of statins outweigh any increased chances for developing diabetes, even among those who run the highest risk of developing the blood sugar disease, Harvard researchers report.
The concern that these cholesterol-lowering drugs, which include the widely prescribed medications Lipitor, Crestor and Zocor, increased the risk for diabetes prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require labeling that warns users of the risk.
"Earlier this year, concern was raised that patients taking statins had an increased risk of developing diabetes, and on that basis many patients stopped taking their medications," explained lead researcher Dr. Paul Ridker, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at Brigham and Women's Hospital, in Boston. "Unfortunately, little if any data was available at that time to address not only the risks, but also the benefits of treatment. This is crucial since it is the benefit-to-risk ratio that physicians and their patients need to understand."
The clinical message of this new research is clear, Ridker noted. "The cardiovascular benefits of statin therapy outweigh the diabetes hazard, even among those with highest risks for diabetes," he said. "We hope these new data will better inform discussions between physicians and patients who are considering the use of statin drugs as a possible addition to diet, exercise and smoking cessation."
The report was published Aug. 9 in the online edition of The Lancet.
Ridker's team used data from a trial that was conducted to find out if one particular statin, Crestor (rosuvastatin), could prevent heart disease in patients who never had heart disease. The trial, which included nearly 18,000 patients, was the first to reveal the possibility that statins could increase the risk for diabetes.
However, Ridker's group fou
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