--statins are cholesterol-lowering drugs, and are said to lower the risk of heart attack or stroke by lowering "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides, and raising relative levels of "good" cholesterol
--use increased by 156% between 2000 and 2005
--15.8 million people-->>29.7 million people
--spending on statins: $7.7 billion-->>$19.7 billion annually
--total number of outpatient prescriptions for statins 90 million-->>174 million in 2005
--average individual annual expenditure on statins: $484 in 2000-->> $661 in 2005.
--including atorvastatin (Pfizer, brand Lipitor), pravastatin or Pravachol (Bristol Myers Squibb), fluvastatin (Novartis, brand Lescol), and more
--my mom is on a statin
--in 2004 the U.S. government's National Cholesterol Education Program panel advised those at risk for heart disease to reduce their LDL (bad) cholesterol to very, very low, levels.... these levels are debatable, we need the so-called "bad" cholesterol too.
--before 2004, 130-mg LDL cholesterol level was considered healthy, updated guidelines recommend levels under 100, or under 70 for pts at extremely high risk.
--many people are on more than one cholesterol lowering drug to meet these targets
--big market increase for big pharma, thanks to the US govt
--eight of the nine docs on the panel that approved these guidelines were making money from off statins
SIDE EFFECTS OF STATINS
--nothing immediate, all SE's are long term and systemic
--SE's show up several months after therapy begins
--most common: muscle pain and weakness (rhabdomyolysis) prob due to deficiency in Co-Q10
--OFTEN CONFUSED WITH ARTHRITIS PAIN: NHANES asked 3,580 adults age 40+ and don't have arthritis “During the past month have you had a problem with pain that lasted more than 24 hours?”, also asked pain location. 402 pts had used a statin in the previous 30 days, 22% of statin users reported musculoskeletal pain, 17% of non statin users. Most common location: lower extremity. Estimates that almost 25 percent of musculoskeletal pain in statin users is associated with the drug, or some 5.3% of users.
--in the US no warnings are given but in Canada labeling warns of CoQ10 depletion and even notes that it “could lead to impaired cardiac function in patients with borderline congestive heart failure"
--breakdown of skeletal muscle can lead to kidney failure
--statin use and sepsis in kidney patients: http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/298/3/284
--industry says 2-3% of patients get muscle aches and cramps
--a study says 98% of patients taking Lipitor and one-third of the patients taking Mevacor (a lower-dose statin) suffered from muscle problems!
--active people are actually more likely to develop problems from statin use than those who are sedentary
--Austrian study: six out of 22 athletes with familial hypercholesterolemia were able to endure statin treatment. The others discontinued treatment because of muscle pain.
--loss of mental clarity
--may increase cancer risk: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article2127605.ece
--breast cancer in postmenopausal women: http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0895435602006145
--prostate cancer in obese men: http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/kwn141v1
--substantial increase in polyneuropathy: http://neurology.jwatch.org/cgi/content/citation/2002/906/4
CHOLESTEROL AND STATINS
--big news that big pharma wants to bury: cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease
--statins are unnecessary and dangerous
--capable of lowering cholesterol levels by 50+ points
--download mercola's special report on cholesterol
--easy to change your cholesterol levels using diet and exercise, here's how: boost omega3 intake, reduce omega 6 intake, reduce grains and sugars in diet, eat raw foods, get regular exercise, avoid smoking & drinking, deal with stress...
SOURCES (logins required for jama and neurology.jwatch)