Washington: A new study has revealed the benefits of taking cholesterol-lowering drugs such as statins are far greater than the risks and the diabetes risk of taking the drug was "small".
According to the researchers from UCL and the University of Glasgow, among nearly 130 000 participants from clinical trials that previously tested the effect of statins on heart disease and stroke (major vascular events), those assigned statins vs. placebo, or higher vs. lower doses of statins, were noted to have a small increase in risk of developing type 2 diabetes of about 12 percent over a four-year period, and also to gain an excess of 240g (around half a pound) in weight.
David Preiss of the University of Glasgow Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, said that weight gain is a risk factor for diabetes which might help explain the small increased risk of diabetes observed in people taking statins.
The researchers who also studied the mechanism of action found that Statins work by reducing the efficiency of a liver enzyme involved in cholesterol production, which causes liver cells to trap more low-density lipoprotein (LDL-) cholesterol from the bloodstream, reducing its circulating level. This mechanism is thought to underlie the efficacy of statins in lowering the risk of major vascular events.
The researchers added that the effects of the genetic variants are orders of magnitude lower than the effects of statins. There is also no indication from this study that an individual's genetic make-up will meaningfully affect their clinical response to statin treatment. Statin drugs should continue to be prescribed without the need for any form of genetic testing.
The study was published in The Lancet.