High doses of common cholesterol-lowering statins such as Lipitor, Crestor, Zocor, Vytorin, Mevacor and Pravachol may slightly increase the risk for patients to develop diabetes but reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, researchers reported this week.

The research, which can be found in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association, reveals data from the analysis of five studies in which 32,752 non-diabetic patients were given statins for an average of 4.9 years. Approximately half of these patients were given high doses of the cholesterol drugs, while the other half were given lower doses.

Overall, higher doses of the drugs increased the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by about 12%. Interestingly, given their findings, the group of researchers did not warn against using high-dose treatment regimens. Instead, the group warned physicians to be vigilant when prescribing the drugs, to pay close attention to patients showing early signs of diabetes and to treat them accordingly.

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