“New drug, Repatha, to beat cholesterol WITHOUT statin side effects”…
When I read this headline, there were a few things that crossed my mind:
- The mainstream is still fixed on the idea that cholesterol is enemy number one when it comes to heart health.
- A new drug to replace statin drugs — without similar side effects — seems too good to be true… and is bound to fill the pockets of Big Pharma even more.
Caught in a hamster wheel
Repatha has recently been hailed as a new “breakthrough” drug that can potentially halve levels of bad cholesterol without the side effects of statin drugs.
According to the researchers, who presented their findings at the American College of Cardiology conference in Chicago earlier this month, taking Repatha for six months resulted in “significantly greater reductions” of cholesterol than existing alternatives to statins.
In order to present their findings, the researchers conducted two separate studies. In the first study, they tested 491 people who had already reported muscle pains while taking statins. During the trial half the participants were given statins, while the other half were given a ‘dummy’ placebo pill — to test whether the statins were really having a side effect.
The researchers found that more than 40 per cent of those given the statins developed ‘intolerable’ muscle side effects — no surprise there!
In a second trial, 218 patients were given either Repatha or the cholesterol drug, ezetimibe. The researchers found that after 24 weeks the patients who took Repatha saw their levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol drop 52.8 per cent, compared to a drop of just 16.7 per cent for those who took ezetimibe.
The results also showed that of those given Repatha, only 13 per cent reported muscle pain, and just one patient stopped taking the treatment because it was intolerable. Let’s look at these results again:
- The first trial was completely pointless to begin with, because muscle pain has been a known side effect of statin drugs for decades. Apart from that, calling this side effect “muscle intolerance” is utterly misleading — the unbearable muscle pain statin users experience is not as a result of an “intolerance”, but because these drugs slowly destroy muscle mass… including the heart muscle!
- The second trial had less than half the participants of the first trial and it also did not compare the benefits or risks statin drugs against Repatha. So the comparative outcome of this trial is meaningless to say the least. Let alone the fact that the participants receiving Repatha still experienced muscle pain — the lower percentage of 13 per cent is not an indication that fewer participants experienced muscle pain, simply because less participants were involved than in the first study.
All in all, Repatha looks like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And the news reports on its so-called benefits are all part of Big Pharma’s marketing strategy to mislead the millions of statin users — who stopped taking these dangerous drugs because of their side effects — into believing that Repatha is their answer to lowering their cholesterol levels without experiencing muscle pain.
Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the researchers said: “Patients with muscle-related intolerance often refuse to take statins despite elevated LDL cholesterol levels and a high risk of major cardiovascular events.”
And that’s what it really all comes down to: More and more patients are refusing to take statin drugs, making a massive dent in the profit margins of Big Pharma. Coupled with the fact that the patents for brand-labelled statin drugs are expiring quickly, it makes perfect sense for pharmaceutical giants to start pushing new and supposed “better and safer” cholesterol-lowering drugs.
In addition, there is also the matter of all the other side effects associated with statin drugs, like memory loss, depression, kidney failure, liver dysfunction and the increased risk of type 2 diabetes… Is Repatha such a “miracle” drug that it doesn’t have similar side effects?
We don’t know, because the researchers don’t tell us… So, if you ask me, Repatha is nothing but a mirage — an empty promise — and until further in-depth larger studies have been conducted on this drug it may be best to steer clear of it.
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Drug to beat cholesterol WITHOUT statin side effects: Breakthrough treatment could get NHS green light by end of the month, published online dailymail.co.uk, 03.04.16
Category: Latest Cholesterol Research