Doctors throughout the world often prescribe statins for people with high cholesterol to help lower their total cholesterol and reduce their risk of a heart attack or stroke. Statins are known to be highly effective and safe for most people, however, have been linked to muscle pain, digestive problems and mental fuzziness in some people who take them and may rarely cause liver damage. Rising blood sugars which could lead to diabetes is another side effect from statin use people need to be aware of.
It’s possible your blood sugar (blood glucose) level may increase when you take a statin, which may lead to developing type 2 diabetes, said the Mayo Clinic.
The health site added: “The risk is small but important enough that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning on statin labels regarding blood glucose levels and diabetes.
“The increase generally occurs when blood sugar levels are already higher than normal and fall in the prediabetes or diabetes range when you begin taking a statin.”
Researchers found that statins were associated with an almost 50 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, even after adjusting for other factors.
Statins appear to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes in several ways, the researchers said.
One is that the drugs can increase a person’s insulin resistance, and the other is that the cholesterol-lowering drugs seem to impair the ability of the pancreas to secrete insulin, according to the report.
Researchers published findings regarding statin use and rising blood sugars in the journal Diabetes.
“Recently, an increased risk of diabetes has been added to the warning label for statin use,” said lead author Jonathan Schertzer, assistant professor of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, and Canadian Diabetes Association Scholar.
“This was perplexing to us,” he continued, “because if you are improving your metabolic profile with statins you should actually be decreasing the incidence of diabetes with these drugs, yet, the opposite happened.”
In another study published in Cardiovascular Diabetology, the effects of statin use on fasting glucose in non-diabetic individuals was analysed alongside which statins affect a person’s fasting glucose the most.
The study noted: “More adherent and intensive use of statins was significantly associated with an increase in fasting glucose of non-diabetic individuals. In subgroup analysis of individual statins, use of atorvastatin, rosuvastatin, pitavastatin and simvastatin had significant association with increase in fasting glucose.
Pravastatin, lovastatin, and fluvastatin had non-significant trend toward an increased fasting glucose.
“Our findings suggest the medication class effect of statins inducing hyperglycemia.”
The Yellow Card Scheme also allows you to report suspected side effects from any type of medicine you’re taking.
This is run by a medicines safety watchdog called the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Statins shouldn’t be taken if you have severe liver disease or if blood tests suggest your liver may not be working properly.
This is because statins can affect your liver, and this is more likely to cause serious problems if you already have a severely damaged liver.