How statins can cause diabetes: Pills raise the risk of getting disease by 46 per cent
And the cholesterol-busting drugs do nothing to prolong the lives of those at low-risk of a heart attack, experts found.
The conclusions, published today, will put rival British doctors at loggerheads over the safety of the cheap, widely prescribed drugs.
One leading cardiologist last night said the benefits of statins, taken by eight million Britons, had been “grossly exaggerated”.
But another heart expert insisted “the benefits will outweigh the risks”.
Researchers in Finland studied 8,749 non-diabetic men to see whether taking two of the most popular statins increased the chance of developing Type 2 diabetes.
They found those who took simvastatin or atorvastatin were 46 per cent more likely to develop the condition and those on higher doses were at even greater risk.
Last year, Britain’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence issued guidance making 40 per cent of adults eligible for statins.
It said anyone thought to have a greater than 10 per cent chance of a heart attack or stroke within 10 years should be offered the drug on the NHS.
It means virtually all men aged over 55 and women over 65 are encouraged to take statins to stave off fatal cardiovascular disease.
But London cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra said: “Although the benefits are clear in reducing the risk of death in those with established heart disease this is not the case for a low-risk population.
“Millions see them as a magic pill but they are not.
“This research shows you are more likely to develop irreversible Type 2 diabetes than prevent a non-fatal heart attack if you are at Continue reading