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Statins and Diabetes: Could Lipitor Be to Blame For Your Blood Sugar Problems?

More than 18 million Americans suffer from diabetes, making it a leading cause of disability in the United States. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use insulin as it should. People who are at high risk of diabetes include those who are over the age of 45, those who are overweight, and those who have a family history of diabetes.

A new study has found another risk factor: statins.

Statins are medications used to control cholesterol levels. They include Zocor (simvastatin), Crestor (rosuvastatin), and Lipitor (atorvastatin). More than 15 million Americans are currently taking statin drugs. Some people who take statins are perfectly healthy, but are taking the drugs as preventative medicine. Could these people be increasing their risk of diabetes?

In 2008, the drug company AstraZeneca conducted a study taking Crestor could prevent cardiovascular disease in healthy adults with high cholesterol. Patients who took Crestor saw a reduction in their cholesterol and in development heart disease, but they also had a 27 percent increase in cases of new-onset diabetes. Despite this finding, Crestor was approved for preventative purposes in 2010.

In 2012, a Women’s Health Initiative study found a 50 percent increase in diabetes in post-menopausal women taking statins.

In May 2013, another study was published in the journal BMJ. Researchers conducted a study of 1.5 million residents of Ontario, Canada. All patients were over the age of 66 and all had started statin therapy between 1997 and 2010. The researchers identified 471,250 patients with no history of diabetes who were new users of statins. About half of these patients were women.

After following the participants’ medical histories, the doctors found a 10 percent increased risk of diabetes in patients taking Zocor, an 18 percent increased risk in patients taking Crestor, and a 22 percent increased risk in patients taking Lipitor. Patients taking Pravachol (pravastatin) and Lescol (fluvastatin) showed a decrease in incidence of diabetes.

AstraZeneca and other statin manufacturers marketed statins as beneficial to patients with high cholesterol but no cardiovascular disease. Diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease.

When you are prescribed a medication, you have the right to know about the risks. Patients who developed diabetes after taking Zocor, Crestor, or Lipitor have a right to demand legal accountability. Patients who developed diabetes after taking statins may be eligible to file an Illinois class action pharmaceutical injury claim against the maker of the drug. To learn more about diabetes linked to Lipitor, Crestor, and Zocor, contact the lawyers at Hupy and Abraham at 866-625-2299.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham