Reports in the British tabloid press recently suggested that statins, the cholesterol-lowering drugs, could increase patient risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The headlines were based on a review of published trials data. However, the papers also pointed out that intensive use reduces the risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks or strokes, and warned readers not to stop taking their statins on the basis of the report. The UK's National Health Service, in its behind the headlines site, NHS Choices, highlighted the fact that the absolute increase in risk was very small and that there are several shortcomings in the review and the studies it analysed. The research nevertheless provides a good illustration of the balance of benefits and risks that exists with any pharmaceutical.
Statin risk-benefits not static