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Statins 14 times more likely to increase risk of developing peripheral neuropathy – warns study

From benefits to side effects

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Kuldeep Singh
Kuldeep is a Journalist and Writer at Revyuh.com. He writes about topics such as Apps, how to, tips and tricks, social network and covers the latest story from the ground. He stands in front of and behind the camera, creates creative product images and much more. Always ready to review new products. Email: kuldeep (at) revyuh (dot) com

Cholesterol-lowering statin medications have been at the forefront of managing the cardiovascular disease for several decades now.

The drugs have become so universally used that if you haven’t been prescribed a statin already, chances are you will at some point.

Preventive cardiologist Luke Laffin, MD, says statins lower your LDL ( or “bad”) cholesterol, which is associated with a reduced risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

“Additionally, statins lower inflammation, which we know is a factor that causes atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease,” Dr. Laffin says.

Despite their tangible benefits, statins have been associated with unpleasant side effects, although many studies have found no link.

The results of a study published in the journal Neurology revealed statin use can increase the risk of developing peripheral neuropathy.

Peripheral neuropathy refers to the many conditions that involve damage to the peripheral nervous system.

The peripheral nervous system is a vast communication network that sends signals between the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and all other parts of the body.

People taking statins were 14 times more likely to develop peripheral neuropathy than people who were not taking statins, according to the Danish study.

However, the overall risk of developing neuropathy is rare, noted study author David Gaist, MD, PhD, of the University of Southern Denmark in Odense.

The positive benefits of statins, particularly on reducing the risk of heart disease, far outweigh the potential risk of developing neuropathy

These findings shouldn’t affect doctor or patient decisions to start using statins. But if people who take statins develop neuropathy symptoms, they should talk with their doctor, who may reconsider the use of statins.

For the study, the researchers used a patient registry to identify all of the first-time cases of peripheral neuropathy with no known cause (such as diabetes) in Funen County, Denmark, over a five-year period.

Each case was matched to 25 people of the same age and sex with no neuropathy as a control group.

The use of statins was then determined for each group. They identified 166 cases of first-time neuropathy with no known cause. Of those, 35 had a definite diagnosis, 54 were probable cases and 77 were possible cases.

Nine of the people with neuropathy had taken statins. They had taken statins for an average of 2.8 years.

For those with a definite diagnosis of neuropathy, the statin users’ risk of developing neuropathy was 16 times higher than for the control group.

When all cases of neuropathy were taken into account, the statin users’ risk of developing neuropathy was four times higher than the control group’s risk.

Taking statins for longer periods of time and taking higher doses of them increased the risk of developing neuropathy.

It is important to note that many people who take statins experience no or very few side effects.

The risks of any side effects also have to be balanced against the benefits of preventing serious problems.

A review of scientific studies into the effectiveness of statins found around one in every 50 people who take the medicine for five years will avoid a serious event, such as a heart attack or stroke, as a result.

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