Changes to the statin label: What they really mean


The FDA has made changes to the safety label for statins, the cholesterol-lowering drugs that over 20 million Americans take in hopes of reducing their chances of having a heart attack or stroke. When the changes were announced in February 2012, it reignited a smoldering debate about the benefits and risks of statins.

If you want our bottom line, here it is: the vast majority of people taking statins should continue to take them, but some additional attention to blood sugar levels is warranted. And, as with any medication, if you're taking a statin and experience side effects, you shouldn't hesitate to contact your doctor.

Interested in more details? Read on.

Increases in blood sugar levels

The safety information for statins now says that increases in HbA1C and fasting serum glucose levels have been reported. HbA1C is a blood test that reflects average blood sugar levels; serum glucose is just another way of saying blood sugar.

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