Statins could increase blood sugar, cause cognitive problems, FDA says


SILVER SPRING, Md. — Drugs widely used to treat cholesterol may cause increases in blood sugar and other symptoms, the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday.

The FDA announced that it would update the safety labeling for statin drugs to include the risk of increased blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, memory loss and confusion and risks associated with using certain statins with drugs for treating infections. In addition, the agency is recommending that patients undergo liver enzyme tests before starting statin therapy and as needed thereafter; previously, guidelines called for routine monitoring.

Statins include a wide range of drugs, branded and generic, such as Pfizer's Lipitor (atorvastatin); Novartis' Lescol (fluvastatin); Bristol-Myers Squibb's Pravachol (pravastatin); AstraZeneca's Crestor (rosuvastatin); and Merck's Mevacor (lovastatin).

In particular, the agency said, Mevacor should not be used by patients taking drugs for treating HIV, bacterial and fungal infections due to the risk of muscle injuries.

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