Statin Use for Prevention of Heart Disease Questioned
For people without cardiovascular disease, the risks–and cost–of statins may outweigh the benefits.
Statins are among the most widely prescribed cholesterol drugs in the United States. A large-scale analysis, however, found no evidence to support widespread statin use among people without a history of heart disease.
Researchers analyzed 14 clinical trials that dated from 1994 to 2006 and involved over 34,000 people. Each of the studies was a randomized trial that compared statins with a placebo or usual care.
As expected, the trials found that statins not only reduced cholesterol levels, they also reduced the incidence of coronary heart disease and stroke without a significant number of adverse effects
But the researchers also noted several problems with the trials: many included people who had existing cardiovascular disease during the study, some did not report any adverse events, the study participants were overwhelmingly middle-aged white men, and all but one of the trials were sponsored by drug manufacturers, which raises the issue of potential bias when it comes to results that favor a drug’s use.
What’s more, side effects, such as cognitive impairment and diabetes, have been associated with statin use.
These shortcomings made the study authors conclude that “widespread use of statins in people at low risk of cardiovascular events…is not supported by the existing evidence.
Dr. Pinna says:
Many doctors no longer prescribe the statins for patients with cholesterol levels under 260, and then, only when they have findings of arterial disease. There are a large group of doctors and other scientists who are called the “Cholesterol-Skeptics” who do not believe in the cholesterol theory of arterial disease.
Here is their website: http://www.thincs.org/
I do believe that very high levels of cholesterol associated with a family history of arterial disease is an indication for the use of statins or niacin.
I do not believe that minor elevations with no known family history of heart disease are an indication for statins. However, because the area is in a state of flux, I allow the patient to decide.
One thing is certain: Big Pharma (And their lapdog, the FDA) are out to make big money. They control almost all of the studies because of the huge expenses involved. If we look around the world, we see that many countries, particularly in Asia, do not use these drugs. Of course, their diet is much different than the Western diet.
I advise patients to change diet before taking a pill. The known side effects of the statins are many and are growing daily.