Atorvastatin (Lipitor)

Anyone else have elevated blood sugar with this drug? I tried it for 3 months (my LDL was slightly elevated for the first time recently, my doctor offered this and I decided to try it), and my blood sugar just went through the roof. So I stopped taking it.

I’ve tried to research a bit about this, but it seems there is only research regarding blood sugar elevation and type 2 diabetes. Just wondering if some people here with type 1 have had this problem too.

I didn’t have any noticeable change in my BGs. However, what I did have was a big increase in my liver enzymes. AST increased to about 3 times its previous level and ALT to almost five times its previous level. My doctor wanted me to still continue it anyway since even at those increases, the numbers weren’t that high above reference range. But to me it was no way. I need that liver. And I can’t see risking it for a medication that I feel may or may not be actually needed.

I’ve been on atorvastatin, simvastatin, pravastatin and rosuvastatin. The only one that increased my liver enzymes was atorvastatin. They all give me leg cramps.

Wow - that is a good reason to keep away from this. Yes I agree - we do need our livers! Thanks for your response, appreciate it.

Not everyone is going to be so affected, of course. Did your doctor test liver enzymes after your 3 month period on the med? If the doctor is cautious about such possibilities, they will often order a battery of tests to see if there are negative changes in not only liver enzymes, but other things, as well. But there are always going to be doctors that don’t do so and their patients might be taken by surprise if they stay for too long on a medicine that doesn’t work well in their system.

I am going to see a new endo in a week so I will ask her about that. This is good advice. Thank you, Uff_Da!

Since my T1 diagnosis six years ago, I did my best to stay away from statins even though I have elevated LDL. My HDL is great and all my ratios are great, but a recent calcium scan showed that athersclerosis has begun in one area of my heart. Knowing that I do have an issue that needs to be addressed, I was willing to try statins. Luckily, the cardiologist I’m seeing is very willing to work with me on minimizing any statin side effects, so we’re starting off with taking Lipitor only two days a week. He thinks I’ll likely have to bump to three, but was willing to start with the bare minimum. I’m still trying to determine whether it’s affecting my BG, but if it does, he said there are other types we can try.

All of this is to say that maybe your doc will be willing to try fewer days per week and/or another brand. My cardiologist said there really is no research on taking statins less than every day, but clinical experience has shown it can be as effective as daily use.

Thanks, Shadow2. I think my doctor(s) will be flexible. Mostly it was alarming to find that a medication I was prescribed was so drastically upping my blood sugar levels, especially right now when I’m in perimenopause and hormone fluctuations make getting my insulin right as difficult as hitting a moving target. The last thing I need is a medication which increases the challenge even more, esp. since my cholesterol is not something worrysome - though it being elevated even a little for the first time is something I want to keep an eye on. Also, I recently started seeing a cardiologist before I even got that test result, because I’ve been having some weird chest pain, so we’re still working on a few more tests to make sure that my heart isn’t an issue (as opposed to something else, like my digestive system, etc) - again something to keep an eye on anyway, since being a type 1 and being a woman are two strikes against me for heart disease.

I, too, am now taking a statin less than daily. The last one I was prescribed is rosuvastatin. Initially, I started taking 10 mg daily. And in the first 19 days I had leg cramps 19 times. I found that to be unacceptable, as when I’m awakened for any reason, much of the time I can’t get back to sleep for 3 or 4 hours. I cut the dose to 10 mg just three days a week. At that level I still get leg cramps occasionally, but it’s not like it throws my life into total chaos.

At this point I have no known heart problem or atherosclerosis, but at age 75 with family history of strokes, I still have a certain level of concern. If I knew I had a problem, I might be willing to put up with more side effects, but we’ll see if the time comes. None of us are going to get out of this place alive.

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haha! indeed! :smiley:

I have used insulin for 42 years and statins for 18 years. I can say I have never had a spike in Blood Glucose as a result of taking statins. My A1C is around 6.0, give or take 0.1 or 0.2. One of the results of statin use that I have heard of is leg pain. I know my father experienced that, but I never have.

I suggest that you might ask your doctor to refer you to a cardiologist who can give the most accurate advice about the need for and the possible treatments of higher than desired LDL. I can say that over the years haveing a cardiologist has been a godsend for me. I was just telling someone this afternoon how much I value the ongoing relationship I have with my cardiologist. I count my rheumatologist, cardiologist, and endocrinologist as the core of my rather long list of specialty docotors.

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For me Atorvastatin has greatly reduced Ldl and not raised BG. I am having what might be neuropathy symptoms though in hands and feet now. These symptoms were not present
before starting the meds and at a time of much higher BG. It could be from the other meds.

I am hoping reducing the meds is the cure rather than taking more meds.

It’s frustrating but yeah, not only is there the interaction of meds that might cause problems, but just one may solve one problem only to cause another.

I am lucky to have led a life with no diabetes at all until it all began with gestational diabetes at 35 during my first pregnancy. Ah for that time of life when I was on no medications and had no chronic illness… Now I will accept whatever meds allow me to live as normal a life as possible. But as Uff_Da said above, none of us are going to get out of this place alive…

Thanks Capri. Now I need you to break the impasse in the game of doublets. I can’t stand the thought of MM winning on a technicality.

Hmm. I will see what I can do. Have never played this one. :slight_smile:

I have been on Atorvastation for years before getting diabetes last year at the age of 61 and have no issues with high bg. I do know in the past I was put on other brands and had the leg cramps but once I was put back to this med they stopped.

My experience is the same as the above poster. I had trouble with leg cramps when I was originally placed on statins over 10 years ago. I was then placed on sinvistatin and then Lipitor with no problems. I was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes but have no negative ffects using the latter with metformin and all my numbers look good.

Unfortunately there is a lot of evidence that statins raises your blood sugar raises the risk of your getting diabetes and it getting worse. Here are two articles from webmd on the subject

I refuse to take statins. I feel like my doctors have deceived (either unintentionally or intentionally) me about the risks and potentially serious side effects.


This is such a divisive subject these days. From the same site there’s this:

It’s possible that many people who develop diabetes after starting on statins were already at higher risk of developing diabetes, and would have even without taking statins.
I’m prescribed atorvastatin daily but I take it only three days a week, because of the ongoing debate about the value of statins. (My cholesterol levels are now perfect, and I did not notice any change in BG results.)
Statins significantly reduce your LDL and can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke by about 30% (lifestyle and genetics may significantly alter that number). Weigh that against a possible slight rise in BG (easily tackled by modifications to your insulin regimen) and decide which is more important for you.

I have been on 20 mgs of Atorvastatin for almost two years now. I didn’t notice a rise in my BG levels. I also had moderately elevated liver enzymes when I started Atorvastatin. I had double the amount of Bilirubin as a normal person. My last round of blood tests shows that my liver enzymes have come down to normal, my Bilirubin is also normal, and my cholesterol is back in the normal range. I have read that statin drugs do not prevent heart attacks, but merely reduce your risk after you’ve had a heart attack. I would probably not be taking a statin if not for the fact that I have three blood clotting disorders and statins are known to decrease inflammation in the blood vessels. This has been found to be beneficial in helping to prevent blood clots. That is why I remain on statins. I also know that diabetics are more prone to having atherosclerosis than non-diabetic’s. That is why they want to keep our cholesterol and triglyceride levels lower than non-diabetics. I did read somewhere that all of the control subjects that had their triglycerides under 100 did not develop heart disease, or get heart attacks. That is the only benefit that I can see with this medication, unless you actually have heart disease. My gramps had type two and he died of a massive heart attack. Some people also develop a condition where their muscles break down on statins and can become permanently disabled. So, there are risks associated with taking this medication, but mostly at higher doses. I don’t think low doses of statins are going to cause many issues. Also, if you have fatty liver disease like I do, you can’t take certain statins. I think Atorvastatin is safe for people who have liver issues. It has not affected my liver issues in any way at all. I hope this helps. I can dig up that article about no one getting heart attacks with a very low triglyceride level.

Lucky you to be clear at 75! I’m only 52, but have a very significant family history of heart disease and stroke. Seeing the scan showing the calcium in my heart really did make me re-think my anti-statin stance. I’ve been a regular exerciser my entire life, am in the low range of a healthy BMI, and eat a balanced diet. It seemed that meds were the logical next step.