Now that’s saying something …
I was reminded to look into this business when I took my wife to the Doc, who blithely recommended a catheter ablation for her afib… and statin drugs to get a grip on her borderline cholesterol.
I didn’t have to look far past the glossy Lipitor brochures…
Can Statins Cause Diabetes? Yes…
Do Statins Produce Neurological Effects? Yes …
Statins can indeed produce neurological effects. These drugs are typically prescribed to lower cholesterol and thereby reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Between 2003 and 2012 roughly one in four Americans aged 40 and older were taking a cholesterol-lowering medication, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But studies show that statins can influence our sleep and behavior—and perhaps even change the course of neurodegenerative conditions, including dementia.
The most common adverse effects include muscle symptoms, fatigue and cognitive problems. A smaller proportion of patients report peripheral neuropathy—burning, numbness or tingling in their extremities—poor sleep, and greater irritability and aggression.
“The concept that LDL is “bad cholesterol” is a simplistic and scientifically untenable hypothesis. The inordinate focus on cholesterol, a perfectly natural substance that performs many crucial functions in the body, has taken and continues to take valuable resources and attention away from factors more closely related to heart disease. Independent-thinking practitioners must look at the readily available evidence for themselves, instead of relying on the continual stream of anticholesterol propaganda emanating from “health authorities.” By doing so, they will quickly realize that the LDL hypothesis is aggressively promoted for reasons other than public health.” – Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons
This from a couple of docs who pull no punches in their attack on Big Pharma: The Ugly Side of Statins. Systemic Appraisal of the Contemporary Un-Known Unknowns
“The statin industry, with all of its spin-off, is a 20-billion-a-year industry. We are observing the revealing of the utmost medical tragedy of all times. It is unprecedented that the healthcare industry has inadvertently induced life-threatening nutrient deficiency in millions of otherwise healthy people. What is even more disparaging is that not only has there been a failure to report on these negative side-effects of statins, there has actually been active discouragement to publish any negative studies on statins.” (Emphasis added)
This from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine:
either cholesterol-lowering statin drugs or placebo. The statin users … did those in the placebo group. Whilestatins have been viewed … White HL. Effects of statins on energy and fatigue with exertion: results …
medication diabetes weight gain diabetes weight loss statin diabetes study … placed on statins, calorie intake increased 9.6 percent and fat intake … of caloric and fat intake between statin users and nonusers among US adults: …
Cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, according … women for many years. Women taking a statin drug in the beginning … with nonusers. Citations: Culver AL, Ockene IS, Balasubramanian R, et al. Statin …
It’s Not Dementia, It’s Your Heart Medication: Cholesterol Drugs and Memory http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/its-not-dementia-its-your-heart-medication/
This from Medscape, courtesy Healthwatch USA:
“It’s worth saying this another way: when the ACC/AHA ASCVD score predicted event rates of 7.5 to 10%—a range deemed above the statin-benefit cutoff—the actual events were just 3%.”
And then there’s this from JAMA, courtesy Dr. Malcom Kendrick, who says “Statins do not help you live longer – or do anything much else for that matter”
JAMA Patient Page | April 03, 2013
STATIN USE: BENEFITS AND RISKS
Like most medications, statins can have side effects. These include muscle pain or muscle weakness; nausea, constipation, or diarrhea; liver damage; and kidney damage. Recently, researchers have found that for a small number of people, statins are associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Researchers continue to evaluate these and other side effects…
Research has demonstrated that statins are effective for lowering bad cholesterol, and most physicians prescribe them for patients who have had a heart attack. However, there is some question as to whether taking statins is a good idea for people who have not had a heart attack but are at risk of one because of their high bad cholesterol level.
One question involves disagreement about whether the statin side effects are merely uncomfortable or actually pose significant heath risks. The other question is whether reducing bad cholesterol will actually help you live longer than you otherwise would. Some of this disagreement involves how physicians interpret the results of studies. However, a 2010 analysis combined the results of 11 studies and found that taking statins did not lower the death rate for people who did not have heart disease.
There’s this from a NYT Well column commenter:
“(Dr. James Wright, head of Therapeutics Initiative) found no benefit in people over the age of 65, no matter how much their cholesterol declines, and no benefit in women of any age. He did see a small reduction in the number of heart attacks for middle-aged men taking statins in clinical trials. But even for these men, there was no overall reduction in total deaths or illnesses requiring hospitalization—despite big reductions in “bad” cholesterol. “Most people are taking something with no chance of benefit and a risk of harm,” says Wright.” http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2008-01-16/do-cholesterol-drugs-do-a…
“If a patient takes this medication because he is at high risk for heart disease, or already has heart disease, the proven benefit of statins is much greater than the suspected risk of cataracts,” said the senior author, Dr. Ishak Mansi, a professor of medicine at the University of Texas. “But they have side effects, and doctors should not prescribe this medication lightly.”
… and more:
More frequent statin use is associated with accelerated coronary artery calcification (CAC) in T2DM patients with advanced atherosclerosis. Progression of vascular calcification is increased with statin use in the Veterans Affairs Diabetes Trial (VADT).
“We’re overdosing on cholesterol-lowering statins, and the consequence could be a sharp increase in the incidence of Type 2 diabetes.”
This from the excellent site HealthNewsReviews.org:
The headline I wish I’d seen about the new PCSK9 cholesterol drugs
“New Drugs Cut Heart Risks by One Percentage Point: Study”
That’s the headline I didn’t see from any stories yesterday about two new cholesterol drug studies presented at the American College of Cardiology meeting.
While it might sound like something out of The Onion, this would actually be an accurate way — I would argue, the most accurate way — to characterize the effect that these drugs had an on the cardiovascular risk of study participants.
Whayne TF, Jr. Problems and possible solutions for therapy with statins. The International journal of angiology : official publication of the International College of Angiology, Inc. 2013;22(2):75-82. doi:10.1055/s-0033-1343358.
Silva M, Matthews ML, Jarvis C, Nolan NM, Belliveau P, Malloy M et al. Meta-analysis of drug-induced adverse events associated with intensive-dose statin therapy. Clinical therapeutics. 2007;29(2):253-60. doi:10.1016/j.clinthera.2007.02.008.
Cham S, Evans MA, Denenberg JO, Golomb BA. Statin-associated muscle-related adverse effects: a case series of 354 patients. Pharmacotherapy. 2010;30(6):541-53. 37. Rallidis LS, Fountoulaki K, Anastasiou-Nana M. Managing the underestimated risk of statin-associated myopathy. Int J Cardiol. 2011.