They get told their cholesterol is high and ‘You should take this drug,’” he says. Dr. Alex Berezow is a PhD microbiologist, science writer, and public speaker who specializes in the debunking of junk science for the American Council on Science and Health. They publish their findings in a free bi-monthly bulletin called Therapeutics Letter. Aug. 18, 2014 -- Kailash Chand, a doctor in the U.K., says he once brushed aside patients who complained of muscle pains, weakness, fatigue, and memory problems after he put them on cholesterol-lowering medications called statins. Learn about alternatives such as new drugs and lifestyle changes. Not only was statin use completely unnecessary but I was perfectly healthy before they put me on statins. A replacement for statins? Blood tests, X-rays, and MRI scans showed no obvious problems. The most common side effects noted in the study were muscle and joint pains and spasms. “The prevailing dogma has been that statins are almost harmless and that they’re wonderful drugs,” says Tom Perry, MD, a pharmacologist and internist in Vancouver, Canada. What's more, studies show 140 low-risk people would need to take statins daily for 5 years to prevent just one heart attack or stroke. In studies where patients are randomly assigned to take a statin or a placebo pill, the rates of side effects reported by each group are nearly identical, leading many doctors to wonder if the side effects are really due to the medications or if something else, like the nocebo effect, might be at work. And nearly two-thirds of those stopped their medication, at least temporarily. Anytime we see half of an entire population (in this case, men aged 60+) being prescribed a drug, it might be time to ask if we're overdoing it. Turchin says one of his patients, who had shoulder pain while taking a statin, later turned out to have cancer, though he admits that’s an extreme example. But for some patients, even that is unlikely to be enough. The study, which was published last year in the Annals of Internal Medicine, also found that more than 90% of people who stopped taking their medications were able to continue on a statin if they tried again, either with a different drug or a lower dose. From that perspective, they are good and necessary drugs. Professional organizations provide widely varying recommendations on statin use, and researchers clash on their costs and benefits. If we can achieve the same health outcomes with fewer meds, we should probably aim for that. Taking statin drugs leads to diabetes out of the blue. Others have hailed such drugs as magic bullets against heart disease. Statins remain our safest and most effective drug for primary and secondary prevention of coronary artery disease. 9/11 Truther Mark Ruffalo Testifies to Congress on Science, Nothing Grimes Said About Eyeballs or Depression Makes Any Sense, Jeff Bezos' Plan to Colonize Space is Based on Sheer Nonsense, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is Helping Spread Flu and Cervical Cancer, Anti-Monsanto Lawyer and USRTK, Carey Gillam Collaborator Possibly Headed to Prison for Extortion, Journalist Peter Fairley Cites Anti-Vaxx Website, Spreads Misinformation on Flu, COVID-19, DeSmogBlog: Climate Website Is Headed by Anti-Vaxxer Brendan DeMelle, DeSmogBlog: Climate Activist Site Smears Freeman Dyson and Other Scientists. But I hope the debates playing out in the media and in online forums will not keep doctors from prescribing statins, or keep patients who truly need statins from taking them. "After 6 months, I started noticing that I was having a lack of energy," says Chand, deputy chairman of the British Medical Association. Read More » September 6, 2020 19 Comments Statins And Memory Loss: The Latest Findings Indeed, there is tremendous confusion over which patients should receive prescriptions. Some of my symptoms subsided immediately while others persist but not as bad as when I was on the drug. They also found that statins may increase the risk of muscle aches and pains, kidney and liver problems, bleeding in the brain, and type 2 diabetes. But Perry says given the small chance of benefit, it doesn't always make sense for a person who'd had trouble on a statin to try again. Only about 20% comes from your diet. High blood sugar? Some health professionals believe the benefits have been overblown and the risks downplayed. Helping Smokers Quit: The Science Behind Tobacco Harm Reduction, Foods Are Not Cigarettes: Why Tobacco Lawsuits Are Not a Model for Obesity Lawsuits, The Prevention and Treatment of Osteoporosis: A Review. It included 82 cardiologists and more than 11,000 patients. Their review found statins decrease energy and fitness, and increase fatigue and sleep problems. MMWR 67 (27): 771. Smart Grocery Shopping When You Have Diabetes, Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Dogs and Cats, Coronavirus in Context: Interviews With Experts. We raise our funds each year primarily from individuals and foundations. Sign Up to Receive Our Free Coroanvirus Newsletter, Alternative Treatments for High Cholesterol, Diabetes? If you are interested in finding out more information about statins and whether they are right for you or a loved one, call 214-645-8300 or request an appointment online . The biomedical community and public health agencies would be well advised to investigate the pros and cons of such high statin prescription rates. And I just think most patients don’t really understand. It's possible that we aren't. Within a few weeks of stopping the drug, he felt much better. Yes, statins do save lives, and some people really need to take them. Prevention, after all, is the best medicine. And are you ready for the reason why? When you take care of patients day in and day out, you hear that a lot,” Mandrola says. Dr. Rory Collins, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Oxford University in the U.K. who has overseen the analysis of study data on statins, says the drugs are extremely safe. Here's 2 pills and an injection. Contributions are fully tax-deductible. Truth: In clinical trials, statins appear to … “Aches and pains are common in many people, so it’s difficult to know whether they are coming from the statin or not,” says Alexander Turchin, MD, an endocrinologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. They have certain risk factors -- age, smoking, higher cholesterol, or diabetes, for example -- that raise their chance of having a heart attack or stroke over the next 10 years. Clearly the doctors and the organization making these recommendations are marching exactly in the wrong direction and even worse are seemingly wanting their patients to come down with cancer. "If they ruin quality of life, it's almost certainly not worth it. And it comes at a time when statins -- one of the most commonly prescribed medications in this country, taken by an estimated 1 in 4 middle-aged adults -- may become even more widely used. So if statins are saving thousands or millions of lives, perhaps it's worth it. Coronavirus: Fear of a Pandemic, or a Pandemic of Fear? There have also been suggestions that they have other, unexpected benefits too – including a lowered risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The American Council on Science and Health is a research and education organization operating under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Ironically I had an angiogram because of the arrhythmia and my arteries are clean. Vice President of Scientific Communications. Perry is part of a team of doctors at the University of British Columbia that looks at the evidence for and against drugs. Anytime we see half of an entire population (in this case, men aged 60+) being prescribed a drug, it might be time to ask if we're overdoing it. DOI: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6727a6. Muscle pain is the most frequently reported statin side-effect. Is it really necessary for that many Americans to be taking these drugs? How Long Does Coronavirus Live On Surfaces? The current debate instead focuses on using statins for patients like Chand: people between the ages of 60 and 75 without known heart disease. Too Few Americans Take Statins, CDC Study Reveals, 80% of the cholesterol in your body is produced by it, MLS Soccer Shows Why Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight Predictions Are Worthless, COVID: Asymptomatic Cancer Patient Was a One-Woman Super-Spreader, Comparing COVID Vaccines: Pfizer vs. Moderna vs. AstraZeneca/Oxford, COVID: Nasty Cultural Stuff that (Hopefully) Will End Because of Coronavirus, COVID Infection Fatality Rates by Sex and Age, COVID-19, Viral Load and Shedding: An Update, Why Pfizer's Vaccine Must Be Stored in the Deep, Deep Freeze, Thank You, Trial Lawyers, For Protecting Us from the Scourge of Baby Powder. Should You Worry About Artificial Sweeteners? 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