A high dose of the widely prescribed cholesterol-lowering statin atorvastatin, known by the brand name Lipitor, may help alleviate periodontal disease, a small, randomized study suggests. However, other studies have shown Lipitor puts users at risk for type 2 diabetes, a condition that if not properly controlled can lead to gum disease.
Periodontal disease is a gum disease that affects nearly half of U.S. adults. It has been associated with atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries in some studies although more recent studies have questioned the connection. The possible connection between atherosclerosis and gum disease comes from the type of systemic inflammation involved with periodontal disease. Statins have been shown to help protect against systemic inflammation.
Lipitor comes in varying doses from 10mg to 80mg, with recommendations that patients start at the lowest dosages with regular blood checks to ensure the medication is being tolerated. The study found no periodontal benefit with the 10mg dose of Lipitor, but did see a possible benefit with the 80mg dose.
Lipitor carries side effects, some of which can be dangerous including serious muscle injury and liver damage. The drug has also been shown to raise blood sugar levels, which can increase the risk for type 2 diabetes. Recent studies have shown that postmenopausal women using Lipitor are at greatest risk for developing diabetes, in particular ones who are not overweight.
Source: MedPage Today