A new study has revealed that the health benefits of taking statins outweigh the risk of developing diabetes, even among those at risk of the metabolic condition .
Statins are cholesterol-lowering drugs that reduce the risk of suffering a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or stroke, but can also significantly increase the chances of developing type 2 diabetes in patients with major risk factors for the disease.
After analysing data collected during the Jupiter trial – the first study to show that taking statins ups the risk of diabetes – scientists from the Boston-based Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that patients already at risk of diabetes were still 39 per cent less likely to develop cardiovascular disease while taking statins, and 17 per cent less likely to die over the 5-year trial period.
They also discovered that statins reduced cardiovascular disease by 52 per cent in patients who were not already at risk of type 2 diabetes and did not increase their chances of becoming diabetic .
“Our results show that in participants with and without diabetes risk, the absolute benefits of statin therapy are greater than the hazards of developing diabetes,” lead researcher Professor Paul Ridker said.
“We believe that most physicians and patients would regard heart attack, stroke and death to be more severe outcomes than the onset of diabetes, and so we hope that these results ease concern about the risks associated with statin therapy when these drugs are appropriately prescribed – in conjunction with improved diet, exercise and smoking cessation – to reduce patients’ risk of cardiovascular disease .”

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