(GLASGOW, Scotland) -- Although cholesterol-lowering statin drugs are a backbone of current heart disease treatment and heart attack prevention, a study published last year found that long-term use of statins can increase the risk of diabetes. Now a study conducted at the University of Glasgow complicates things a bit further by comparing the effects of moderate versus intensive doses of statins on risk of diabetes as well as heart attacks and strokes.
By analyzing five already published studies involving over 30,000 patients, the authors found that intense-dose statin therapy did indeed increase the risk of diabetes over a period of five years compared to moderate-dose therapy -- by 12 percent. But at the same time, the intense-dose therapy lowered the risk of heart attacks and strokes by 16 percent compared to moderate-dose therapy. So on one hand there is a greater risk of diabetes, but on the other, a lower risk of major cardiovascular events.
Faced with this conundrum, the authors write in the report, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, that physicians “should be vigilant for the development of diabetes in patients receiving intensive statin therapy.”
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