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Lipitor, Zocor and Other Cholesterol Drugs May Raise Diabetes Risk: Study

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Researchers analyzing recent data about cholesterol-lowering drugs like Lipitor and Zocor, known as statins, believe they have discovered a link between the medications and an increased risk of diabetes.

University of Glasgow scientists analyzed the results of 13 different studies into the side effects of statins and found that people using the cholesterol drugs faced a 9% increased risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The results of the analysis were published last week in the medical journal The Lancet.

Statins are the best-selling drugs in the United States, with $14.5 billion in combined sales in 2008. They use the liver to block the body’s creation of cholesterol, which is a key contributor to coronary artery disease. Statin is used in a number of popular cholesterol controlling drugs, including Crestor, Lipitor, Zocor, Mevacor, Lescol and Pravachol.

Researchers looked at studies involving a total of 91,140 participants performed between 1994 and 2009. They discovered that there was about a 9% increase in the risk of type 2 diabetes among those who use statins. While they eliminated a number of other potential causes of the increased diabetes risk, they do not make a causal link between statins and diabetes, however.

Researchers said that the increased risk did not offset the health benefits of lowered cholesterol and the reduction of the risk of coronary health problems due to high cholesterol. Therefore, they recommended no change in the use of the drugs for high-cholesterol patients.

Other studies have found that about 1 in 10,000 statin users develop a sometimes-fatal muscle condition known as rhabdomyolysis. The rare condition causes skeletal muscle damage and releases myoglobin into the bloodstream. The myoglobin can cause severe kidney failure or death.

In 2002 and 2008, the FDA issued warnings about the increased risk of rhabdomylosis when statins are used in combination with heart medication containing amiodarone. In 2001, the statin-based drug Baycol was removed from the market due to its links with rhabdomyolysis.

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22 comments

  1. Victoria Reply

    Interested in any linkage of Lipitor and Type I diabetes.

  2. Barbara Reply

    I have been diagnosised with muscle damage resulting from years of prescribed statin medications, most recently ZOCOR AND CRESTOR.

    I have 4 doctors verifying my condition plus numerous blood tests showing increased CK levels.

  3. sal Reply

    I now have diabetes from using Liptor. no family history of diabetes so i blame it on Liptor. Is it wise to continue using the drug or stopping it and not have diabetes…no one can answer this. Most doctors don’t even know the side affects …

  4. Ariya Reply

    I have been taking Lipitor for more than 10 years. About an year ago I increased the dosage from 10mg to 20 mg per day on my doctor’s advice. Since then, I have observed an increase in my blood sugar level.

    I don’t have a family history of diabetes, I don’t sugar in tea or coffee. I suspected the only medication I take as a probable cause.

  5. Robbie Reply

    I had a triple bypass heart surgery. Going in, I did not have diabetes. Coming out, I was put on Zocor 40mg at the hospital. Now I have Diabetes. I was unofficially told, this could be due to trauma in surgery. Due to muscle weakness, my doctor told me to stop with Zocor. Now it would be interesting to see if my Diabetes goes away. Wish me luck. I will update this in 3 weeks.

  6. samuel Reply

    i was hospitalized on july 30.2010 in e-room and left in rm for several hours.the blood work shows high enzymes.they told me i should be admittedfor more’test”.i took my med.list with me and no one even looked at it.i told them i was diabetic/they kept me a room seven hrs with no food lig.i take zocor.i have ‘itchy shin/constipation.headaches.no one mentioned ”zocor side effects/recalls.i am going to ask my drs to take me off this medicine”now”

  7. Robbie Reply

    Here is my report. Stopped taking Zocor due to serious muscle aches as per doctors advice. Side benefit – I am free of diabetes for a week now. I am keeping my fingers crossed. It could be a fluke!

  8. REGINA Reply

    have taken lipitor for several yrs, 3 yrs ago developed diabetes, just read all the articles, scared out of my mind, what to do, also have high blood pressure which no amount of meds can control, ( 150-160/60-70),
    need a good md in rockland county ny

  9. Denise Reply

    I have had the same problem my son would not eat had loose stools, and vomiting. He ended up in the hospital for dehydration he threw up so much had to get fluids pumped in him to get something in him. It makes me so sick to know that because I choose to give him similac he has been suffering besides how ill I feel about him injesting bugs. My son is my life and they think a refund on the formula will settle things I will never use similac again he has been a totally diff baby since he has not had that tainted product. I am interested in a class action law suit hopefully thier is a lawyer ready to make them pay for all the children they have hurt!!!!!!!!

  10. vicki Reply

    I was put on Statins in 1995, days later had severe breathing problems…. had all the problems everyone seems to be having. In 1995 no warnings came with Statins. I was left on 7 long yrs., off 8 yrs. pain does not go away. I am now a diabetic (watched my blood sugar go up on all my blood tesst while on Statins). Also gotI diverticulitis and now, no one is ever going to convince me it wasn’t from Statins, I have chronic lymphocytic leukemia. ( this is my view from studing my blood tests past and present) No one in my family has ever had cancer. My body has been inflamed for 15 yrs while taking Statins and off stains. Inflamation causes cancer. My advice to you is don’t take them if on them get off. Also go back and get all your medical records and organize them in case you need them. They came in handy when I found out I was a diabetic and then cancer. My blood tests show everything. Thousands and thousands of dollars later and I am still trying to get rid of the damage. The damage doesn’t go away

  11. vicki Reply

    I now have diabetes, diverticulitus, nerve damage, cataracts, muscle damage, terrible breathing problems (hospitalized) chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). No one will ever convince me I didn’t get all this from taking Statin drugs Cancer does not run in my family. I was left on and told to tolerate the pain, for seven long yrs. Been off them for 8 yrs. Still in constant pain. Everyone get all your medical records in order. I’m glad i saved all of my blood test and records they show how one by one everything developed. Now if only I will live. I believe all this came from stains drugs. I was perfectly healthy (except Asthma once in awhile) before STATINS

  12. dave Reply

    zocor..brought to you by the makers of vioxx….they killed 50,000 people with vioxx….now they are after more with zocor…….

  13. Jerry Reply

    11-3-2008 I started taking Lipitor. I started having persistance pain in my arm and leg bones. Stopped after one year.

    Recently told I have CLL. Any connection?

  14. Pamela Reply

    After reading about the statins, I am not going to take them. From the first dose of Zocor I took, I have been very lethargic and my stomach was upset. To hear the comments about muscle pain, diverticulitis, and diabetes, has really made me take notice and I thank all of you for sharing your comments. You may have saved my life.

  15. charmin Reply

    I have been taking zocor now for about a month and my muscles ache all the time and now I’m weak.I thought I needed to go to the chiropractor to get a message or adjustment to have my muscle aches but its making it worse.I was not aware of all the side affects that this medicine causes.I was told that I had high cholesterol and that I need to take this in other to prevent a heartattack but , if I keep taking it I’m afraid that I want be able to lift anything or even have a normal life because of the way my muscles ache so much .”dang if I do , and dang if I don’t.”

  16. Richard Reply

    I’ve been prescribed various cholesterol med’s in an effort to drop my numbers and each time have had muscle pain and dropped it. Am I gambling by not taking the med’s or gambling by taking the meds? I’ve decided not to take them. This article in Business Week helped me make up my mind:

    Do Cholesterol Drugs Do Any Good?
    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_04/b4068052092994.htm

  17. Mike Reply

    I’m not diabetic but diabetes runs throughout my dad’s side of the family. I had a massive stroke 5 years ago and for the last 3-4 years my doctor has me on 80 mg.of Lipitor a day. I don’t trust my doctor anymore. I’m going to reduce that amount on my own without my doctor’s advice. I really don’t need to develop diabetes at this stage of my life. I’m actually trying to recover what I can not get worse off.

  18. delores Reply

    i was put in the hospital for 3 days because they thought i was having a heart attack only to find out that the zocor i was taking had gave me muscule damage and im still having problems thas being sence dec,2009 when do the pain stop i can,t work can;t sleep when does it end

  19. Donna Reply

    I find this research and study to confirm my concern about why my AIC levels were high. No significant diabeties in my family line yet my AIC levels show me to be prediabetic after taking Lipitor for about 3 years now. Dr told me to watch my diet ~ low carbs and healtjy fruits and veggies. I will certainly discuss my case with him and if I should continue taking my Lipitor.

  20. Cathy Reply

    Reading all these stories are really upseting to me…I have been ill for at least 4 years now but in pain for many more than that.Over and over again my doc tells me its fibromialgiaI did hurt my back ,I thought odd that taking sooo long to heal..Some days I cant even get up out of bed .Over the corse I have developed diabetes.It seems to be getting worse my vision is getting bad,I have no feeling in my feet at times .I fall because I loosemt balance.I stay cooped up in my house all the time in fear of going out by myself and falling getting sick or having some type of episode in public.I have a nine year old son who suffer.s also I cannot give him the quality of parenting he deserves.I have been on statins for years and years now and to even think that I have lost the last four to five years of my life due to a med is so messed up. Now they are (docs) putting me on levimir suppose to control my what was 6 months ago mild diabetes to now full blown injections everyday lucky if sugars under 400 routine.I honestly feel as if my body is deteriating.Which now latley has been bringing on severe to moderate depression.Never had an issue with my blood pressure .SO NOW WHAT?

  21. Larry Reply

    I,m one of the victims also. I’ve spent a lot of money on meds. Got off of Lipitor and my blood sugar returned to normal levels.

  22. vicki Reply

    Back again to add to the above info. I gave. June 2011, also got breast cancer along with the CLL cancer I mentioned above. Also a hernia was found from throwing up so much along with the diverticulitis ( torn up intestines). My diabeties type 2 is getting worse, my high blood pressure is getting worse, thank you Statin drugs. you have runined my life. I still, 15 years later, have the nerve and muscle damage, torn ligaments in my legs and hands. I’ll be lucky, very lucky to survive the cancers and other dieases I got from taking Statins (oh I have to say in my opionion), the doctor told me I needed or I would have a heart attack. or stroke. Oh and by the way my heart and veins are still just fine, clear, it doesn’t look like I’ll have a heart attack or stroke, but die of cancers.

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