Heart disease stubbornly remains one of the biggest killers... During the past 60 years, the management of cholesterol has become an important weapon in the fight against this – and drugs called statins are often used in treatment.
But as a new review highlights, statins can often cause crippling side-effects – and may actually result in more harm than good. Writing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Australian science reporter Maryanne Demasi claims that doctors and patients are being misled about the true benefits and harms of these drugs. She also suggests that raw data on their efficacy and safety are being kept secret and have not been subjected to scrutiny by other scientists.
Already, several investigators have compared the outcomes of COVID-19 infections in patients who take statins with those who do not. The results have been reassuring, generally suggesting that statin use does not cause harm. And in one of the largest studies of its kind, statin use was associated with fewer deaths. But while the results of these studies are interesting and important, they cannot answer the question of whether statins could treat COVID-19.
... the decades long campaign to lower cholesterol through diet and drugs has completely and utterly failed to curb the global pandemic of heart disease. Indeed, heart disease still remains the biggest killer in the western world and the UK has recently seen a rise in death rates from the condition for the first time in 50 years
There is accumulating evidence that the benefits of statins far outweigh possible risks, and nearly all statins on the market are now available as inexpensive generics.
Many people who are prescribed statins are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease because they stop taking the drugs.
Like more than half of older men, I take a cholesterol-lowering medication called a statin. Sometimes that seems a bit strange, because I don’t have high cholesterol. My doctor prescribed it based on a formula that largely hinges on age and sex.
So no, we shouldn't all be on statins. But until something better comes along (and I hope it will), they are worth considering for anyone who is in a higher-risk group for cardiovascular disease.
“These findings contribute to the debate on the effectiveness of statin therapy and highlight the need for personalised medicine in lipid management for patients,” the team, from the University of Nottingham, UK, write.
This means 97 people have to take pills for 10 years in order that three people benefit. The big problem with statins is not whether they benefit those at very high risk (they do), but the uncritical mass medication of people at low risk, 97% of whom will get no benefit at all. Those who do not benefit are nonetheless exposed to potential side effects, which include an increase in the rate of diabetes. What drives these recommendations for medicating large numbers of people for the benefit of very few?
Statins are constantly in the news, with the media sometimes advocating the benefits, other times focusing on suggested side effects, and often being laced with controversy. Many of us may not fully understand the true facts about the medication, how it can benefit us, and whether or not it is of relevance to us.
Knowing the odds of side effects and making sure to get periodic checkups that would pick up an adverse reaction, I chose to focus on the drugs’ potential benefits.
Several studies have shown that apoB may be a better predictor of cardiovascular disease risk than LDL-C.
It took two years and thousands of moldy broths for Akira Endo to find something that reduces cholesterol. His breakthrough, drawn from a mold like one that grows on oranges, turned out to be the first in a class of medicines that today brings $25 billion a year to pharmaceutical companies.
Yes, statins do save lives, and some people really need to take them. From that perspective, they are good and necessary drugs. But they also have side effects, such as muscle pain and fatigue. In other words, they can lower a patient's quality of life and/or prevent him from exercising, which is counterproductive.
Doctors see the drug as an alternative for millions of patients who can’t take or aren’t responding to statins. Doctors have sought additional therapies, but a recent new class of drugs—injectable therapies known as PCSK9 inhibitors—have seen slow uptake, in part because of their high cost.
Statin drugs have been surrounded by controversy for a number of reasons.
Despite some studies suggesting that statin drugs have benefits beyond cardiovascular health, for such issues as cancer and Alzheimer's, a broad new analysis says there's a lack of compelling evidence linking such benefits to statins -- and, thus, little reason to change recommendations for who gets these cholesterol-lowering meds and why.
Statin drugs have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in young and middle-aged adults. With older adults (those 75 and over), the benefits are less clear. But a recent study published in the European Heart Journal suggests that there is in fact a benefit to statin use in this older population.
Statins are important because they lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart attack. But there are patients who can't tolerate statins, and others with genetic disorders such as familial hypercholesterolemia who cannot lower their cholesterol enough to see a benefit on statins alone.
This is why doctors have been really excited about a new class of cholesterol-lowering medicines known as PCSK9 inhibitors.
Have you and your doctor discussed the pros and cons of statin therapy and whether it is appropriate for your circumstances?
If not, now is the time to do so. Too often, patients are given a prescription with little or no discussion of what the drug can mean for their health, and that affects their willingness to take it or stay on it.
Cholesterol-lowering drugs may help prevent yeast infections.
Our analysis and new guidelines could change your choice.
Bottom line: The headline should be that the bestselling pills of all time don't save lives or reduce major illness for most who take them. But that has been obscured by a war on science.
The war includes many assaults: performing trials that weed out side effects, claiming they should be used to counsel patients, maintaining secret databases, and, worst of all, trash-targeting a journal for publishing a discovery that brings truth to millions.
It's important to note that statin drugs are generally safe, and harms are uncommon. On the other hand, the benefits aren't that great, either. Anywhere from 50 to 200 healthy people need to take a statin daily to prevent a single heart attack for five years, so even small harms may outweigh the potential benefits, the Swiss scientists say.
The most common side effect of these drugs is muscle pain, which usually goes away if patients stop taking the medicines. People taking statins are also at a higher risk of developing diabetes, which is harder to reverse.
The risk calculator was criticized as soon as it was released in 2013, and the skeptics said the new study confirms their suspicions. If physicians use the risk predictions to identify people who should be on a statin, as the cardiology groups recommend, then at least some of those prescribed the powerful drugs “won’t benefit from them,” said epidemiologist Nancy Cook of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who was not involved in the new study.
Statins work far better for men than they do for women, researchers claim.
There is no question that many doctors have swallowed the Kool-Aid. Big Pharma has consistently exaggerated the benefits of statins and some physicians used scare tactics so that patients are afraid that if they go off the statins, they will have a heart attack immediately.
Now, here’s where things get a little complicated. Not everyone agrees that more people quitting statins as a result of the media coverage was necessarily a bad thing.
Cholesterol lowering statins like lipitor are some of the most widely taken drugs of the last century. They’ve prevented countless episodes of heart disease, and do so relatively cheaply. But that might be thrown into disarray by the approval of two effective yet expensive new drugs, so called PCSK9 inhibitors called Preluant (manufactured by Regeneron) and Repatha (from Amgen), the second approved last week.
One in five patients report muscle aches, new research shows, but some doctors warn the benefits outweigh any discomfort.
For women of a certain age, statins are supposedly the best thing since Lycra for keeping wayward bodies in check. Statins interfere with the synthesis of low-density lipoprotein, the "bad" cholesterol. LDL is a prime suspect in heart disease, the top killer of women.
The statin cut my cholesterol like buttah.
But statins can also increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, muscle and/or liver damage. Heart trouble and diabetes run in my family. Was I trading a heart attack for diabetes?
You've probably heard of Lipitor, Zocor, and Crestor. You may even be taking one of these cholesterol-lowering drugs, which are known as statins. They are the most commonly prescribed medication, and for years, they’ve been touted as the best way to manage cholesterol.
Now, top Harvard cardiologists are questioning current cholesterol guidelines.
Statins, in rare cases, have long been known to cause a side effect called rhabdomyolysis, in which the muscles are literally eaten away. One statin, Bayer's Baycol, was withdrawn from the market because of this side effect, as was the top dose of Merck's Zocor. But there are also a lot of people who complain of symptoms that aren't rhabdomyolysis: general achiness and muscle pain that many patients describe as intolerable.
Long prescribed to reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood, high doses of statins might even end plaque build-up, according to researchers.
The supposed risks of taking cholesterol-busting drugs have been under the spotlight, but common fears are unfounded, says epidemiologist Rory Collins.
Merck began clinical trials of lovastatin in healthy volunteers in 1980. Lovastatin was shown to be dramatically effective for lowering LDL cholesterol in healthy volunteers, with no obvious adverse effects.
The statins did what we thought they would do. They stabilized the scarring process that results in atherosclerosis and lowered the likelihood of more heart problems, and the people who couldn’t take them couldn’t get that benefit. No surprises here — except for one thing: taking a statin didn’t seem to lengthen lifespans.
Powerful PCSK9 inhibitors were supposed to revolutionize care for cardiac patients. But insurers and other payers balked at sky-high prices.
Should a 76-year-old who doesn’t have heart disease, but does have certain risk factors for developing it, take a statin to ward off heart attacks or strokes?
You’d think we’d have a solid answer to this question.
Attached to each LDL particle is a single molecule of a protein called apolipoprotein B100 (ApoB). And by determining how much ApoB is in the blood we can “count” exactly how many LDL particles are present.
Determining LDL in this way is better than measuring the cholesterol stored inside, because ApoB has been shown to be a superior predictor of cardiovascular disease than measuring both LDL cholesterol and non-HDL cholesterol.
More than one in four adults ages 45 and older in the United States take a cholesterol-lowering statin. But these popular medications are often misunderstood. Here's what you need to know to take them safely.
Statins—a class of drug that includes atorvastatin (Lipitor), simvastatin (Zocor), and others—are among the most effective drugs for lowering cholesterol. They are also among the most widely prescribed drugs of all time.
Like other drugs, however, statins have potentially serious side effects, and there are instances in which they should not be taken. Here is a rundown of things you should look out for if you are taking a statin, and times when you should steer clear of the drugs altogether.
NEXLETOL and NEXLIZET are indicated as adjuncts to diet and maximally tolerated statin therapy for the treatment of adults with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia or established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease who require additional lowering of LDL-C.
CRESTOR (rosuvastatin calcium) is a prescription drug belonging to a group of medicines called statins that are used to treat high cholesterol. Along with diet, CRESTOR lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol and raises HDL (good) cholesterol. It's also been proven to slow the progression of atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque in your arteries over time, as part of a treatment plan to lower cholesterol to goal.
LIPITOR (atorvastatin calcium) tablets are a prescription medicine that is used along with a low-fat diet. It lowers the LDL ("bad") cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. It can raise your HDL ("good") cholesterol as well.
ZETIA, along with a healthy diet, can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol when diet and exercise alone are not enough. Unlike some statins, ZETIA has not been shown to prevent heart disease or heart attacks.
Zocor (simvastatin) belongs to a group of drugs called HMG CoA reductase inhibitors, or "statins." Simvastatin reduces levels of "bad" cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL) and triglycerides in the blood, while increasing levels of "good" cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, or HDL).
Statins, also known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, inhibit HMG-CoA reductase (3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase) an enzyme involved in the synthesis of cholesterol especially in the liver. Decreased cholesterol production leads to an increase in the number of LDL (low density lipoprotein) membrane receptors, which increases clearance of LDL cholesterol from circulation.
By reducing the production of cholesterol, statins are able to slow the formation of new plaques and occasionally can reduce the size of plaques that already exist. In addition, through mechanisms that are not well understood, statins may also stabilize plaques and make them less prone to rupturing and develop clots.