Statins, also known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, are a class of cholesterol-lowering drugs that work by inhibiting an enzyme that is known to play a central role in the creation of cholesterol in the liver. Statin drugs are wildly popular, with 1 in 4 Americans over the age of 45 currently taking statins in an attempt to combat heart disease. As a result, statin drugs pull in around 25 billion dollars in annual sales. Shockingly, statins have actually been linked to over 300 different adverse affects in peer-reviewed research, including cancer and liver damage. This ultimately led the FDA to institute new warning labels that alert consumers to the dangers of statin drugs, but only for two conditions.
While the new labels are to be added to popular brands such as Lipitor as a method of informing potential and current statin users about the associated risks, the FDA fails to take into account the hundreds of other conditions associated with statin use. In fact, the FDA’s new labels only warn customers against the links to memory loss and diabetes. Since statins also raise blood sugar levels, these drugs are also linked to diabetes. This link is particularly problematic when being taken over long periods of time. While the new labels tell of the severity of some issues, the new warnings are only scratching the surface.
The established diabetes connection was known back in June 2011, in which scientists examined 5 different trials involving 32,000 people and the usage of statins. What they found is that the higher the dosage of statin drugs being ingested, the more significant the diabetes risk. The groundbreaking meta-analysis was posted in the Journal of the American Medical Association in June of 2011, and is backed by a number of other studies with similar findings.
In 2010 another meta-analysis looked at 13 statin trials involving 91,140 participants. What they found was that statin therapy was related to a 9 percent increased risk for incident diabetes. To break down the statistics of the study, scientists concluded that for every 225 individuals taking statin drugs, one would actually develop diabetes as a result. Of course diabetes is then treated with more pharmaceuticals with side effects. This is how the pharmaceutical disease chain continues.
Statins certainly suppress cholesterol creation and reduce measurable blood serum levels, though they also come with hundreds of real side effects that the FDA and the general public need to take into account.