Statin-diabetes link quantified in study

The news on statins has been so good for so long that a bit of not-so-great news really stands out. And here it is: The multibillion-dollar blockbusters that fight high cholesterol also appear to raise the risk of diabetes by about 9 percent.

According to a study published in the journal Lancet, however, the benefits of statins still outweigh the diabetes risk. For not only did the study show that statins were linked to one additional case of diabetes for every 1,000 patients who took them for a year, but also that they prevented five heart attacks and deaths in those same 1,000 patients.

After AstraZeneca found in one study that patients who used its statin drug Crestor had a 25 percent higher risk of diabetes, researchers looked at 13 studies of various statins--studies that together involved more than 90,000 patients. They found that 9 percent increase in risk of diabetes--and found that it spanned the entire class of medicines, and that the danger of developing diabetes increases with patient age.

David Preiss, the study's lead author, called the findings "a reassuring message," Bloomberg reports. "We're not talking a huge risk at all, and what we don't want people to do is take this as a sign to stop taking statin therapy," Preiss adds. So we suppose you could call this good news after all.

- read the Bloomberg piece