Unintended Consequences of Cholesterol Drugs

July 8, 2010 at 4:50 pm Leave a comment

An important study in England and Wales that didn’t make much of a ripple here in the U.S. reveals the downside of statin prescription drugs. It turns out they cause more problems than they solve.

First, some background. More than 50 million prescriptions were written for statins in Britain in 2008, an increase of 80% from just 4 years earlier. see article: A Nation of Pill-poppers. However, it turns out that this avalanche of ingested chemicals entails some unintended consequences.

A study published in The British Medical Journal in May of 2010 revealed that for every 10,000 high risk women treated with statins, the plus side would be approximately 271 fewer cases of heart disease and 8 fewer cases of esophageal cancer. However, the negative impact included 74 patients with liver dysfunction, 23 with acute renal failure, 307 with cataracts and 39 with muscular weakness (myopathy). This totals 443 female patients with negative effects from these drugs. The figures were similar for men, except the rates of myopathy were higher. (BMJ 2010;340:c2197).

These risks persisted throughout the course of therapy and were highest in the first year. The risks of developing one of these problems decreased within 1 to 3 years after stopping use of the drug. Query: Do you know anyone who has ever been taken off a cholesterol-lowering drug? I certainly don’t. Besides which, many of the injured people have suffered irreversible damage.

Do you find this alarming? Apparently the medical profession doesn’t. In an editorial published in the same edition of The British Medical Journal two senior cardiologists opined that while statins are not entirely free of adverse events, when used according to prescribing guidelines, the benefits outweigh the risks.

This new research result needs to be assessed in light of other studies demonstrating memory loss and cognitive problems in fully 50% of patients taking statin drugs. 56% of patients in another case study noted improvement in their mental faculties when the statin was removed. [case report] There are a handful of “observational” studies – no parameters given – claiming that there was a lower risk of dementia among patients receiving statins. This is typical of what I see in the medical literature. Any studies that indicate pharmaceuticals may be harmful are quickly buried by “research” (paid for by the drug companies, of course} that seems to show the opposite. In many cases, actual adverse outcomes are buried by using parameters that are too broad to isolate a specific risk group.

With regard to statins, they are now being almost universally prescribed for lower and lower total cholesterol levels. In the medical world, there is no such thing as cholesterol levels that are too low. However, there is a correlation with an increase in malignant disease in patients whose cholesterol levels fall below 150. This is particularly true for men. Low Cholesterol & Increased Cancer Risk

I have commented on this before, but let me simply reiterate the down side of statins, in addition to the items mentioned above.

  1. Since these drugs not only limit cholesterol production, but also eliminate the production of enzyme CoQ10 in the body, they inevitably lead to heart failure. The drug companies are aware of this, but refuse to publicize these facts.
  2. Cholesterol is one of the most important chemical substances in our body. We use it to make all of our steroid hormones, including sex hormones and adrenal (stress) hormones. It is also found in every cell membrane in our body and is essential to the health of neurons. Remember, brain tissue is largely composed of fats; and cholesterol functions as an anti-oxidant for fats.
  3. Men taking these drugs suffer a decrease in their total testosterone levels, resulting in sexual dysfunction and the development of “man boobs.”

Atherosclerosis (blockage of the arteries) – cited as the primary problem caused by high cholesterol – is not really due to elevated cholesterol levels in itself. It is caused by oxidized, or damaged, cholesterol. Yet, the medical laboratories no longer offer the test for cholesterol oxidation.

In truth, the emphasis on cholesterol levels and statin medications is due to the fact that the pharmaceutical companies have found a compound to alter cholesterol production in the body. Despite the barrage of advertising, the truth is that the Framingham study (the single largest longitudinal study regarding heart disease in the U.S.) found almost no correlation between cholesterol levels and heart attacks. The authors of the study admitted as much in an article published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in 1987.

So, the choice is up to you. You can follow the accepted “wisdom,” or you can question the “experts” and take responsibility for your own health. There are natural, effective and healthful alternatives. The drug companies are now trying to capitalize on these natural remedies by offering patented, synthetic (and in, many cases, harmful) versions of beneficial compounds. Watch for my next newsletter wherein I will discuss this issue.

If you want assistance in customizing a program to optimize your health, please contact the Clinic and make an appointment for a consultation.

By the way, you can also download associated articles as pdf files:
A Nation of Pill-poppers  (use link above.  This link is coming)
Some Statins Have Unintended Effects and Warrant Closer Monitoring, Study Finds

Entry filed under: Heart Health. Tags: .

FDA Encroacing on Your Freedom of Choice in Health Care VACCINES & THE INFORMATION BLACKOUT

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