Statin, the cholesterol lowering medicine is vastly used in the US. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four adults in the U.S., ranging from 40 to 75 years old, is taking a statin drug. I am sure that either you and/or one of your friends and family takes statin drugs. The drug is so common that no one questions about why they need to take it. (1)
Many healthcare professionals believe that statins have significant benefit on heart attack prevention. However, the statistics that those healthcare professionals received are actually not real numbers. The recent report published in the Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology revealed the truth. The report concluded that statin advocates used a statistical tool called relative risk reduction (RRR) to amplify statins’ trivial beneficial effects.
The authors of the study said,
“In the Jupiter trial, the public and healthcare workers were informed of a 54 percent reduction in heart attacks, when the actual effect in reduction of coronary events was less than 1 percentage point.In the ASCOT-LLA study, which was terminated early because it was considered to have such outstanding results, there were heart attacks and deaths in 3% of the placebo (no treatment) group as compared to 1.9% in the Lipitor group. The improvement in outcome with Lipitor treatment was only 1.1 percentage point, but when this study was presented to the public, the advertisements used the inflated (relative risk) statistic, which transformed the 1.1% effect into a 36% reduction in heart attack risk. The inflated claims for statin effectiveness, and minimized portrayal of the adverse effects, has played a role in the health care providers and the public’s enthusiasm for cholesterol-lowering drugs.” (2)
This misleading number comes from the difference between relative risk reduction and absolute risk reduction interpretation. Absolute risk reduction is the decrease in risk of a treatment in relation to a control treatment. Relative risk reduction is calculated by dividing the absolute risk reduction by the control event rate.
The report states that “statin advocates have used statistical deception to create the illusion that statins are ‘wonder drugs,’ when the reality is that their modest benefits are more than offset by their adverse effects.”
So, now you know the benefit of Statin is almost none and the complains about its side effect are increasing. In fact FDA had expanded advice on statin drug risks that
• Cognitive (brain-related) impairment, such as memory loss, forgetfulness and confusion, has been reported by some statin users.
• People being treated with statins may have an increased risk of raised blood sugar levels and the development of Type 2 diabetes.
• Some medications interact with lovastatin (brand names include Mevacor) and can increase the risk of muscle damage. (3)
Moreover, the study about adverse effects of statin done by the Dept. of Medicine UC San Diego says that, “An array of additional risk factors for statin AEs (Adverse Effects) are those that amplify (or reflect) mitochondrial or metabolic vulnerability, such as metabolic syndrome factors, thyroid disease, and genetic mutations linked to mitochondrial dysfunction. Converging evidence supports a mitochondrial foundation for muscle AEs associated with statins, and both theoretical and empirical considerations suggest that mitochondrial dysfunction may also underlie many non-muscle statin AEs. Evidence from RCTs (Random Control Trials) and studies of other designs indicates existence of additional statin-associated AEs, such as cognitive loss, neuropathy, pancreatic and hepatic dysfunction, and sexual dysfunction. Physician awareness of statin AEs is reportedly low even for the AEs most widely reported by patients. Awareness and vigilance for AEs should be maintained to enable informed treatment decisions, treatment modification if appropriate, improved quality of patient care, and reduced patient morbidity. (4)
Belows are some side effect stories from Statin users.
“I too took a statin, pravastatin, and after a few months my health fell apart. My creatinine went up, kidney function went down, rheumatoid factor went up, felt horrible! I asked my doctor if it was the statin since it all started after taking it. She refused to even consider it.
“They were ready to diagnose me with anxiety disorder, rheumatoid arthritis & MS! I stopped the statin on my own, and began to feel better. Low and behold my anxiety, joint pains, and brain fog/memory problems have gone away.”
“I had a heart attack this past February with a stint placed due to 95% blockage. High cholesterol runs in my family. I am a 61 year old female and a working nurse. I have tried all the Statins and today I could hardly walk again due to severe joint point. I have told my Cardiologist several times that my arthritic pain gets worse. I am stopping the statins again. I have decided to live with statins is something I can no longer do. Quality of life means more at this point than quantity.”
“After horrible memory problems, breathing problems, and fatigue, my doctor agreed that enough was enough as far as statins were concerned. He said diet — either give up fat or give up carbohydrates. I choose the latter. Cholesterol dropped to acceptable levels, weight dropped (nice side effect), joint pain almost totally went away, and I felt better than I had in years. Hard diet — YES! But it was worth the effort. If you have a doctor that doesn’t believe in the side effects of statins, you might want to consider shopping for a new doctor.” (5)
When the effectiveness of the Statin study was all false, and the fact that cholesterol isn’t the only factor causing heart disease, why would you want to sacrifice your life with Statin? No one knows how you really feel and how you need to be taken care of except you. Take charge of your own health!