Weighing Statins' Risk and Reward
Research news from the American Diabetes Association 73rd Scientific Sessions
June 21–25, 2013 | Chicago, Illinois
Statins, medications that reduce LDL ("bad") blood cholesterol levels, might help people with cardiovascular disease—even though statins also increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. An analysis of 56 studies from 20 countries found that statins reduced cardiovascular disease risk by 19 to 38 percent. However, using statins also increased a patient's risk of developing type 2 diabetes by anywhere from 8 to 25 percent. So is the risk worth it? It depends. For those with a high risk of cardiovascular disease, and a lower risk of developing type 2, the researchers say statins are a good choice. For those with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a higher chance of developing type 2, lifestyle interventions to reduce cholesterol were safer and more cost-effective.