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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

Statin benefits outweigh diabetes risk, study finds

Drugs protect against stroke, heart ailments

Six months after the US Food and Drug Administration required cholesterol-lowering statin drugs to carry warnings about diabetes risks, Brigham and Women’s Hospital researchers conclude in a new analysis of a landmark study that the increased likelihood of diabetes is outweighed by the drugs’ protective effects against heart attacks, strokes, and heart disease deaths.

The new study, published Thursday in the journal Lancet, delved into findings from a 2008 clinical trial involving nearly 18,000 adults without heart disease or high cholesterol but with high levels of artery-damaging inflammation. That trial found a small increased diabetes risk among people who took rosuvastatin (Crestor). The new analysis shows that the bulk of the extra diabetes cases occurred in certain statin users: those already on the verge of getting the disease because of being obese or having an elevated blood sugar levels or resistance to the hormone insulin.

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