(NaturalNews) Nearly 32 million Americans currently take statin drugs to lower their cholesterol levels, but they are probably completely unaware that these drugs can come with side effects like diabetes and memory loss. Why don't they know? Because until this week, the FDA didn't require these drugs to carry a warning of these possible dangers.
On Feb. 28 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the need for new warnings for popular statin drugs like Lipitor, Zocor and Crestor. The new labels warn doctors and patients that statin drugs can cause hyperglycemia (i.e. high blood sugar levels) and increase the risk of developing diabetes.
The research linking cholesterol drugs with diabetes is well established. The connection was first reported in one 2008 study of nearly 18,000 Crestor patients. More research soon followed confirming the risk: one study in 2010 published in the Lancet, another in 2011 published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and yet another in 2012 published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. That's a whopping four studies in four years that all confirm statin drugs increase your risk of diabetes.
The FDA also added a warning that statins may cause memory loss and confusion in some patients. These side effects have been reported by some individual statin users, although no official research has been done to verify who is most at risk for memory loss while taking statins.
But the FDA says keep taking statin drugs despite risks
One can't help wondering about the real purpose of these new statin warnings. The FDA recommends that doctors and patients discuss the risk of memory loss and diabetes, but they also say patients should keep taking these drugs. They don't want you to throw the baby out with the bath water, so to speak.
"We want healthcare professionals and patients to have the most current information on the risks of statins, but also to assure them that these medications continue to provide an important health benefit of lowering cholesterol," says Dr. Mary Parks from the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
Apparently, we need to keep millions of Americans on statin drugs, but we just want to make sure they are aware that side effects like diabetes and memory loss are normal. Patients don't need to be alarmed if they develop diabetes or experience memory loss while on cholesterol drugs. Their drugs came with warning labels reminding them that this is normal. And, of course, since this was stated on the warning label, lawsuits are definitely out of the question.
It sounds like Big Pharma doesn't want you to throw their corporate profits out the window just because of some pesky side effects. These warnings are more about protecting their wallets more than protecting patients.
About the author: Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health, nutrition and wellness. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com