The National Prescribing Service (NPS) is urging Australians who are taking statins to continue to take their medicine as prescribed and to see their doctor if they are unsure about the benefits.
The recommendation comes in light of regulators in the US announcing that the cholesterol-lowering drugs will now carry advice about a small increased risk of diabetes and reports of memory problems.
NPS Head of Programs Karen Kaye says that statins are recommended for people at high risk of cardiovascular events, such as a heart attack or stroke. The risk of developing diabetes with statins is small compared with their benefits for preventing heart attacks, strokes and deaths from such events. Evidence shows that for every 255 people treated with a statin for four years, at least five
cardiovascular events are avoided, while there is one extra case of diabetes.
In an analysis of statin trials involving more than 90,000 people, new diabetes cases occurred in people taking statins as well as those who didn’t.
This shows that some people at risk of cardiovascular disease may develop diabetes anyway, although the number of new diabetes cases was 9 per cent higher in those people taking statins.
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