The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved of a combination drug for diabetes and high cholesterol.

Merck & Co.'s new drug, Juvisync, combines the company's diabetes medicine Januvia with simvastatin, a type of statin taken to help lower cholesterol.

This is the first product to combine a type 2 diabetes drug with a cholesterol lowering drug in one tablet, FDA Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology director Mary Parks said in a statement.

Parks noted the need to ensure that patients taking the drug received the proper dosage.

Dose selection should factor in what other drugs the patient is taking, Parks said in a statement.

Common side effects of Juvisync include constipation, upper respiratory infection, and headache, Reuters reported.

Merck scientists do not believe that all diabetes patients in the U.S. are taking much-needed cholesterol-lowering drugs, The Associated Press reported.

Perhaps one third of the nation's eligible patients with type 2 diabetes are not being treated with a statin, so here's a convenient tool for doctors to target glucose as well as cholesterol levels, Merck director of clinical affairs for diabetes Sethu Reddy said, The AP reported.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) notes that people who have diabetes are more at risk of dying from heart disease or stroke, so it is imperative that they maintain healthy cholesterol levels. 

You can lower your risk by keeping your blood glucose (sugar), blood pressure, and cholesterol on target with meal planning, physical activity, and medication, the ADA says on its Web site.