Should you take a cholesterol drug if you’re healthy?

Risks described in new drug targeting healthy people

The U.S. government has approved a new cholesterol drug called Crestor, which targets a new category of customers: those who don’t have cholesterol problems, and will take it as a preventative measure, the New York Times reports. But some wonder if this is a good move, pointing to concern that cholesterol meds, called statins (and already the most widely prescribed drugs in the U.S.) might not be as safe when taken preventively. New research suggests that statins might raise a person’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 9 per cent. Under criteria approved by the Food and Drug Administration, an estimated 6.5 million people in the U.S. with no cholesterol problems, and no sign of heart problems, could be candidates for statins, in addition to the 80 million who already meet the guidelines. Crestor says it can be prescribed for apparently healthy people who are older and have one risk factor, like smoking or high blood pressure, in addition to elevated inflammation in the body. But some patients also complain of muscle aches due to statins, even though doctors have typically seen the risks as offset by people who have high levels of “bad” cholesterol.

New York Times

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