Mainstream Cottons Onto The Dangers Of Statin Drugs

| November 11, 2015

Based on the new guidelines for prescribing statin drugs, rolled out last year, the UKs National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) advises doctors to prescribe statin drugs to anyone who has a combination of the following risk factors: 10 per cent risk of a heart attack or stroke, following a poor diet and lifestyle, suffering with high blood pressure or having a family history of heart disease.

This means that half of all women over 60 and 83 per cent of men over 50 are eligible for statins.

Not going as planned

NICE estimates that lowering the statin prescription threshold will prevent 28,000 heart attacks and 16,000 strokes each year. However, a recent analysis by the GPs’ magazine, Pulse, found that prescriptions for statins have risen by just 2 per cent since the new guidelines were rolled out.

Needless to say, this is not the outcome NICE was hoping for. However, in recent years, more and more doctors and patients have expressed concerns about the real benefits of taking statin drugs and as a result doctors seem to be defying these new recommendations.

With mounting evidence about the dangers of these drugs, drug makers have also been put under pressure to admit that one in ten statin users may suffer side-effects, including muscle pain and weakness. However, some studies — and anecdotal reports from doctors — indicate that the rate of side effects is much higher.

In 2014, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) — which claims that only 10 per cent of adverse drug reactions are reported — received 730 reports related to the five most prescribed statins licensed in Britain: simvastatin, atorvastatin, rosuvastatin, pravastatin and fluvastatin.

If that is 10 per cent of the total, the real number of reactions could be 7,000 or more.

But the side effects associated with statin drugs aren’t just muscle pain, weakness and fatigue. Another potential side-effect is a raised risk of type 2 diabetes — numerous studies have indicated statin users may have a 10 to 20 per cent increased risk of developing the condition. The drug may also worsen symptoms in those who are already type 2 diabetic.

One study, involving 130,000 people and published last year in The Lancet, also showed the drugs are associated with unhealthy weight gain.

There are also major concerns that the benefits of taking statins have been over-sold. Some experts say that healthy patients may be misled by being told statins will ‘almost halve’ their risk of heart attack.

According to a review of the data by the prestigious Cochrane group published in 2013, a healthy person has a 2.9 per cent chance of having a non-fatal heart attack within five years. Taking a daily statin reduces this risk by just 1 per cent to 1.9 per cent.

In September, a new analysis of data from 11 major studies found that statin treatment prolongs life by just three days in healthy people and four days if they have cardiovascular disease.

So, the question remains: If these side effect-ridden drugs only add 4 days to your life, why have they been given the golden treatment for more than 30 years?

Fortunately, it seems that the tide is slowly beginning to turn against statin drugs with more doctors finally cottoning onto the dangers of these drugs.

Professor Sherif Sultan, a heart disease expert at the National University of Ireland and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, is one of them. He recently told the press: “These drugs do have benefits for certain people who have had a heart attack or a stroke, but not for everyone. If they cause side-effects you have to stop them. The problem is there are no guidelines for GPs about when to do that.”

Here's to keeping your heart strong and healthy

Francois Lubbe
Editor
for The Cholesterol Truth



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Bear in mind we are not addressing anyone’s personal situation and you should rely on this for informational purposes only. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.


Source:

Crippled by statins: Cholesterol-busting drugs left David in a wheelchair – but doctors insisted he keep taking them, published online 03.11.15 dailymail.co.uk

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