The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued important new safety information on statins, cholesterol-reducing drugs taken by millions of Americans to prevent heart disease. Patients taking the drugs may have a "small increased risk" of higher blood sugar levels and of being diagnosed with diabetes.
The FDA said it will add a warning about the risk of developing diabetes to the labels of statin drugs under the "warnings and precautions" section. Medications that will receive the warning include popular brand names such as Lipitor, Lescol, Pravachol, Crestor, Mevacor, Altoprev, Livalo, and Zocor. These drugs have been taken by tens of millions of people to prevent heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.
The drugs' labels will also get adverse reaction information about the possibility of memory loss and confusion, said the FDA. Furthermore, the agency said labels will no longer include warnings about the need to monitor liver enzymes during statin therapy, as the monitoring has not been "effective in detecting or preventing this rare side effect." Finally, Mevacor will get a specific warning that some medicines, like drugs for bacterial and fungal infections and protease drugs for AIDS, can cause muscle injury when taken in combination with Mevacor.