This drug is highly prescribed, and becoming more and more controversial. Emerging data comes out of the Women’s Health Initiative Study, looking at what to do to protect aging women. Scrutiny from the Women’s Health Initiative study suggested that taking statin medication to lower cholesterol was linked to a 48% increased risk of getting diabetes. This is not the first study to point a sugary finger at statin medication. But this research shows a much larger risk than has been shown in earlier studies.

Annie Culver (Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN), a pharmacist and lead investigator of the study, said, “I think the risk is definitely there for statins.”

The risk wasn’t seen with any one statin, but rather appears to be an issue with the whole class of meds. It appears to affect thinner women (BMI under 25) more than heavier women. This risk was highest in whites, Hispanics, and Asians, but was not seen in African-Americans. (Archives of Internal Medicine 2012)

Take home: if you are on statins, look to see if diet and nutraceuticals may help you get off. Or, get your hemoglobinA1C tested every 6 months, even at places like Walgreens, walk-in labs, or some compounding pharmacies are testing this inexpensively and without a doctor’s order.