Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Here we go again - The Statins Issue

The latest news from the BBC says that "Millions more healthy people could be put on cholesterol-lowering drugs." "Under current plans around one in four adults aged over 40 is to be prescribed Statins on the NHS. GPs will begin the risk assessments later this year."

The research comes from the Maccabi Healthcare Services and Sackler Faculty of Medicine in Tel Aviv, Israel and the BBC News page doesn't mention any risks involved in taking Statins.

Well here are some information segments from a few other sites, assumed to be responsible in their reporting of any health issues involved in Statins use.

The Mail Online reported in June 2006 (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-392689/Statins-Side-effects-anti-cholesterol-drugs-questioned.html) that taking Statins was causing mental and neurological problems like irritability, memory loss and muscle weakness, leading in extreme cases to muscle cell breakdown and kidney failure. Dr Ravnskov said the reason Statins are considered safe is that trials do not include people who are likely to have problems.

"Cholesterol is vital for the development and functioning of the
brain," says Ravnskov, "so it's not surprising that various
psychological problems show up."

A further comment from that same article stated that for a non-drug approach a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine (2005) found that omega-3 reduced the chance of dying from heart disease more than Statins.

MedicineNet (http://www.medicinenet.com/statins/page2.htm#toce) reported that the most common side effects are headache, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diahorrea, rash, weakness and muscle pain. More serious but, fortunately rare, effects are liver failure and rhabdomyolysis - a serious side effect in which there is damage to muscles. Starting with muscle pain and progressinsg to loss of muscle cells, kidney failure and eventual death.

I appreciate that these reports are from a few years ago but nothing has really changed and I still wonder if what I asked in a previous blog post is still a valid question. Are Statins an unwanted by-product of some other process and this is a convenient and legal way of dumping this waste material without causing environmental issues?

I have diabetes and as such have to take care of my health, I have fought against taking Statins but my doctor has insisted that Statins are the way to go. I would still love to take something else for the treatment of high cholesterol but the medical professionals seem rather reluctant to take much notice of my requests.

It really worries me that some people, who are actually healthy, are going to be encouraged to take some potentially harmful medication to keep the drug manufacturers in business.

I know that this is yet another rant but I do feel that this is important to bring to the public eye - just because you are over 40 years old you will be screened and probably prescribed Statins.

Is this right?

Yours, in frustration,


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