Statins cause few side effects

Scientists in the UK examining the results of 29 trials involving more than 80,000 people found that only a small minority of side effects are attributable to statins.

Patients were found to have more serious adverse effects from placebos taken as part of a control group than from statins.

The researchers, from Imperial College London's National Heart and Lung Institute, say that of the side effects assessed – which included nausea, kidney disorder, muscular disease and breakdown, insomnia, fatigue and gastrointestinal disturbance – only the risk of diabetes was found to be slightly raised by the drugs.

The authors of the report, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, are calling on drug regulators to provide clear evidence to patients about claims over side effects.

"Patients and doctors need clear, reliable information about benefits and risks to make informed decisions," they said.