Diabetes, muscle pain, feared side effects

It is estimated that 5 to 6 million French people use statins every day. It’s a class of drugs that’s widely prescribed around the world. Above all, they lower the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and, above all, have a preventive role by reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack or stroke.

Statins are often prescribed for life. But the other side of the coin is murky, the side effects of statins now cast doubt on their real health benefits.

Statins are a class of drugs with lipid-lowering effects. They make it possible to treat hypercholesterolemia mainly by lowering “bad” cholesterol (LDL or LDL-C for LDL cholesterol).

They mainly have a preventive role, with the aim of reducing cardiovascular risk. But when they lower certain risks on the one hand, they increase others.

A 46% increase in diabetes

A large Finnish study published in the European journal Diabetologia in March 2015 showed that the risk of type 2 diabetes at least in white men (the study involved more than 8,700 Finnish white men aged 45 to 73 part) was about twice as high in people taking statins than those not taking them, and 46% higher after correcting factors such as obesity were included to avoid confounding the results. According to the researchers, statins increase insulin resistance by about 24% and decrease insulin secretion by 12%.

According to another Australian study published in the journal Drugs and Aging in 2017, women over the age of 75 are 33% more likely to develop diabetes when taking statins.

This study, conducted by the University of Queensland in Western Australia, focused on analyzing data from more than 8,000 Australian women. Other studies have shown a link between statin use and diabetes in postmenopausal women, Prevention magazine noted in its December 2017 issue.

Rapid hyperglycemia and insulin resistance

Finally, according to a study published March 4, 2019 in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, people who take statins may have a higher risk of hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, and possibly type 2 diabetes.

The analysis focused on 9,535 people over the age of 45 who did not have diabetes at the start of the so-called Rotterdam Study and who were followed up for a period of 15 years. Compared to participants who never took statins, those who took them tended to have higher fasting serum insulin concentrations and insulin resistance.

Participants who had previously taken statins had a 38% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes during the study. This risk was greater in people with impaired glycemic control and in those who were overweight or obese.

Statins: other unpleasant side effects

Gastrointestinal complaints or liver problems can also occur when taking statins. Other side effects can include back pain and liver problems.

Liver damage from statins is very rare, with about 1 in 100,000 people taking statins, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). A study of 20 million people showed that 10-20% of this population taking statins experienced side effects, particularly muscle problems.

Most of the time, these muscle disorders are not serious, but they can affect the patient’s life (pain).

For the full list of side effects, please read the package leaflet and ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice if you are buying or taking statins.

To learn more, click on the original article below.

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* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace the advice of a doctor.

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