Cholesterol-lowering statins, which include the widely prescribed Lipitor, were once thought to be wonder drugs because of their ability to protect against cardiovascular disease. However, new studies have raised concerns about the safety of the drugs and whether they may put users at greater risk for other health problems.
Recent studies have identified a possible link between the use of statin medications and the development of type 2 diabetes. The risk was greater with Lipitor compared to other statins. Data from a University of Massachusetts study also showed that postmenopausal women who took Lipitor, particularly those with a body mass index (BMI) lower than 25 were at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is a lifelong disease that must be treated with a specialized diet and often medications. People with type 2 diabetes are also at increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, blindness, amputations from neuropathy, and Alzheimer’s disease.
People using statins who are spooked by the recent study should consult with their doctors about whether coming off the medication is a good idea. A new study published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, has found that people who stop taking some types of cholesterol-lowering statins may be at an increased risk for developing Parkinson’s disease.
There are two different types of statins – lipophilic, or fat-soluble, statins that include Zocor (simvastatin) and Lipitor (atorvastatin), and hydrophilic, or water soluble, statins, which include Pravachol (pravastatin) and Crestor (rosuvastatin). Researchers with the National Taiwan University in Taipei noted that for people using cholesterol medications, those taking the fat-soluble statins were less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than the general population, and there was no change in patients who used the water soluble statins.
However, when patients stopped taking the fat-soluble statins, such as Lipitor, they were 58 percent more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those who continued on the drug.
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that can cause tremors, impair speech, and can lead to dementia.
Source: Science Daily