Does Cholesterol Lowering Medication Increase Risk of Diabetes?
Many health experts have debated the possible link between the use of medications used to lower cholesterol and the prevalence of developing Type 2 diabetes. On March 4, renowned researcher with Scripps clinic, highlighted a new FDA study making that link. Topol raised concerns that people may be using too many medications to treat cholesterol and may be placing themselves at too much risk.
Do Statins Increase Your Risk of Diabetes?
Although the FDA stated that the risk of developing diabetes from using statins was actually low (approximately 0.5%), Topol insisted on more caution. Topol said that the problem with the FDA’s study was that it included weaker statins that likely didn’t carry as high of risk. He argues that the risk is only noticeable with the use of more powerful statins such as Zocor and Lipitor. Also, the risk of developing diabetes increases when using higher doses.
Some of Topol’s colleagues have argued his points. Dr. John Mattina published an article on Forbes discussing his own views on the topic. Although Mattina stated that he had great admiration for his colleague, he found two major problems with his claims.
First of all, Mattina said that the issue could not be boiled down to one of statin potency. He stated that some of the more potent statins have the same risk of causing diabetes as their weaker counterparts. Mattina said that this puts a question mark on some of Topol’s claims.
Statins and Type 2 Diabetes
Another concern Mattina had with Topol’s claims and the FDA study itself was that the study wasn’t thoroughly controlled. On the one hand, this has been invaluable in proving a correlation between the use of statins and the development of Type 2 diabetes. The problem is that the study wasn’t controlled for multiple variables. This makes it much more difficult to understand the real relationship between the use of the drug and developing diabetes.
One interesting point that Mattina made was that statin users may become more lax with following a proper dietary regimen. The statin may give them a false sense of security, which could compel them to consume more sugars and starches.
Mattina stated that studies have found that statins provided a number of other benefits to their users. For example, empirical data suggests that they reduce the risk of developing the flu and breast cancer. However, Mattina argues that these studies should not be published either, as none of them have been conducted in a thoroughly controlled environment.
Statins and Impaired Liver Functioning?
Mattina stated that he is unsure why the FDA has been so overly cautious. He said that the FDA may feel the drug’s risks outweigh the benefits and may want to take whatever measures they can to discourage people from using it. Furthermore, he argued that the FDA also pulled another warning from the drug, which stated that it may have impeded liver functioning.
[box type="important"]Whatever the reason, Mattina wants to emphasize that the risk poised by statins is not fully understood. He argues that more research will need to be conducted before physicians or colleagues accept the warnings at face value.[/box]