The evidence against the cholesterol-lower drug Lipitor as a less desirable treatment for the prevention of cardiovascular disease is stacking up. A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that Lipitor and other so-called statin drugs may counter the effects of exercise, a proven way to improve heart health.
Researchers first looked a small group of overweight, sedentary adults at risk for developing high cholesterol or blood pressure. The participants were put on a 12-week aerobic program. Half of the patients were given the statin Zocor. At the end of the 12 weeks, the group not taking Zocor had increased their VO2 Max by 10 percent and their muscle mass went up to 13 percent, while the group taking Zocor had only a 1.5 percent improvement in VO2 Max and their muscle mass decreased 4.5 percent.
Researchers cautioned that the study was small and that more research would be needed to confirm the outcome of statins on exercise. However, a recent Canadian study – one involving 500,000 people – raised another health issue with statins, in particular Lipitor.
Researchers found that patients who took cholesterol-lower statins were at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Those taking Lipitor had the greatest chance of developing the disease (22 percent) compared to other statins including Crestor (18 percent) and Zocor (10 percent). People taking Pravachol, however, were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Researchers advise people who are taking Lipitor and other statin medications to lower cholesterol talk with their doctors about any concerns they have about their treatment.
Source: Men’s Journal