LONDON, UK — An analysis of nearly a quarter million individuals treated with statin therapy in 135 randomized, controlled clinical trials has shown that the lipid-lowering drugs are associated with a small increased risk of diabetes, but there was no evidence of an increased risk of cancer.
Overall, statins were well tolerated, according to the investigators, with the analysis indicating no evidence of an increased risk of myalgia, myopathy, or rhabdomyolysis. Head-to-head comparison showed that pravastatin and simvastatin had the lowest risk of adverse events vs atorvastatin and rosuvastatin (Crestor, AstraZeneca).
"At the population level, mortality and cardiovascular benefits of statin therapy greatly overweigh its potential harms--even taking into account the recent finding that statin use is associated with a modest increase in diabetes incidence," write Dr Huseyin Naci (London School of Economics and Political Science, UK) and colleagues in their analysis published online July 9, 2013 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. "At the individual level, however, there may be a risk of exposing a large group of individuals to the (primarily minor) harms of statin therapy for the benefit of a smaller number of individuals."
As a class, statins were associated with a 9% increased risk of diabetes compared with patients treated with placebo (odds ratio 1.09; 1.02–1.16). In the placebo-controlled trials, the risk of diabetes was higher with rosuvastatin. However, this finding was not confirmed in the drug-level meta-analysis, in which there was no difference in risk of diabetes between statins.
Overall, there was no increased risk of cancer among statin-treated patients vs those who received a comparator drug, including placebo, and there was no evidence of any differences in risk with individual statin
POSTED BY: Steven Almany M.D.