If you’re one of the millions of Americans who take statins to prevent heart disease, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has important safety information for you regarding these cholesterol-lowering medications. Some of the information concerns statins and diabetes.
Regarding diabetes risk, the FDA is advising consumers and doctors that:
- People being treated with statins may have an increased risk of raised blood sugar levels and the development of Type 2 diabetes.
In addition, the FDA wants consumers to be aware that:
- Routine monitoring of liver enzymes in the blood, once considered standard procedure for statin users, is no longer needed. Such monitoring has not been found to be effective in predicting or preventing the rare occurrences of serious liver injury associated with statin use.
- Cognitive (brain-related) impairment, such as memory loss, forgetfulness and confusion, has been reported by some statin users.
- Some medications interact with statins and can increase the risk of muscle damage.
This new information should not scare people off statins, says Amy G. Egan, M.D., M.P.H., deputy director for safety in the FDA’s Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products. “The value of statins in preventing heart disease has been clearly established,” she says. “Their benefit is indisputable, but they need to be taken with care and knowledge of their side effects.”
The statins affected include:
- Altoprev (lovastatin extended-release)
- Crestor (rosuvastatin)
- Lescol (fluvastatin)
- Lipitor (atorvastatin)
- Livalo (pitavastatin)
- Mevacor (lovastatin)
- Pravachol (pravastatin)
- Zocor (simvastatin)
Products containing statins in combination with other drugs include:
- Advicor (lovastatin/niacin extended-release
- Simcor (simvastatin/niacin extended-release)
- Vytorin (simvastatin/ezetimibe)
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration