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Are Statin drugs more dangerous than high cholesterol?

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The Cholesterol Myth and Why Statins Are Dangerous


If you believe what you read in the papers you’d imagine that everybody, regardless of actual risk of heart disease or cholesterol, should be taking statin drugs. I completely disagree. Statins work by blocking the production of cholesterol, which is a perfectly normal substance, and in the process, stops the body producing Co-Q10, a vital heart nutrient. As a consequence, statins are far from harmless. I’ve invited Jerome Burne, one of the most thorough medical journalists, to investigate the dark side of statins. Here’s his report:

The Cholesterol Myth and Why Statins Are Dangerous




Dangers of Statin Drugs: What You Haven’t Been Told About Popular Cholesterol-Lowering Medicines


Do Cholesterol Drugs Do Any Good?


Such drugs are the best-selling medicines in history, used by more than 13 million Americans and an additional 12 million patients around the world, producing $27.8 billion in sales in 2006
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Couldn't agree more, tho haven't read your links, yet. I have never believed that cholesterol has anything to do with heart attacks; its all about inflamation. Specifically, inflamation of the arteries, caused by cigarette smoke and other environmental exposures.Discussed this with my Dr., a rheumatologist, and he agreed. pointed out there is a recent study showing that statins have an anti-inflamatory effect, and he speculated that that is why they get a statistical improvement re; heart attacks. Not because of any advantage from reducing cholesterol.Nattokinase, to reduce fibrin, Edta, to reduce mineral component in plaque, and phosphatidyl choline, to dissolve lipids along with COQ10, E and C,even low dose aspirin etc. is a much better combo for those at high risk for heart attacks.My brother in law is dieing, from the side effects of statins, and there is nothing they can do about it.Jim

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originally posted by Michaelangelica

So a little bit of aspirin a day (cheap as chips-unlike statins) might be good to reduce inflammation?

Aspirin usage should be for adults only and not for children as there is a great risk of developing Reyes's syndrome if the child has a virus.

from Wiki

Reye's syndrome is a potentially fatal disease that causes numerous detrimental effects to many organs, especially the brain and liver. It is associated with aspirin consumption by children with viral diseases such as chickenpox.

Reye's syndrome - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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interesting, easy to read, article

The statin drugs can indeed play a role in a program of coronary plaque control and regression.


However, thanks to the overwhelming marketing (and lobbying and legislative) clout of the drug manufacturing industry, they play an undeserved, oversized role. I get reminded of this whenever I'm pressed to answer the question: "Which statin drug is best?"


In trying to answer this question, we encounter several difficulties:


1) The data nearly all use statins drugs by themselves, as so-called monotherapy.

. . .

2) The great bulk of clinical data examining both the incidence of cardiovascular events as well as plaque progression or regression have all been sponsored by the drug's manufacturer.

. . .

If we were to accept the clinical trial data at face value and ignore the above issues, then I would come to the conclusion that we should be using Crestor at a dose of 40 mg per day, since that was the regimen used in the ASTEROID Trial that achieved modest reversal of coronary atherosclerotic plaque by intravascular ultrasound.


But I do not advocate such an ASTEROID-like approach for several reasons:


1) In my experience, nobody can tolerate 40 mg of Crestor for more than few weeks, a few months at most.

. . .

2) The notion that only one drug is necessary to regress this disease is, in my view, absurd

. . .

3) Plaque reversal can occur without a statin agent.

The Heart Scan Blog: Which statin drug is best?

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  • 4 weeks later...

High Cholesterol: Are You in Danger?

Brought to you by:Pfizer

This content is selected and controlled by WebMD's editorial staff and is funded by PFIZER.

Health Quiz


Results: High-Risk Cholesterol: Myths vs Facts?



All high cholesterol levels put you at risk for disease.[/b


The correct answer is: No


Your body needs cholesterol to create cell membranes and hormones. But there are two kinds of cholesterol: "good" (HDL) and "bad" (LDL). It's the bad LDL cholesterol that builds up in your arteries, leading to heart disease.

Good cholesterol actually helps remove bad cholesterol from the blood.

A higher HDL is better; aim for 60 mg/dL or more. A lower LDL is best; aim for less than 100 mg/dL. A healthy low-fat diet and exercise naturally help you manage cholesterol. Medications help when diet and exercise alone are not enough.



There are noticeable symptoms of high-risk cholesterol.


The correct answer is: No


One in five Americans has high cholesterol. Unfortunately, many don't know it because there are usually no symptoms.

Some people only learn they have high cholesterol after a heart attack or stroke. Not sure whether you have high-risk cholesterol? Get routine cholesterol screenings every five years -- starting in your 20s. Men over 45 and women over 55 need cholesterol testing more often because the risk of heart disease rises as we age.

People with borderline high cholesterol may need cholesterol tests every one to two years.



Medication is the only way to manage high-risk cholesterol.


The correct answer is: No


The main ways to reduce high-risk cholesterol are through diet, exercise, and medication. Maintain a healthy weight, get 30 minutes of physical activity most days, and eat right by reducing saturated fats to less than 7% of your calories.

Other dietary tips: Consume fewer than 200 milligrams of cholesterol daily; reduce trans fatty acids (hydrogenated oil) found in many packaged foods; get 10 grams of soluble fiber and 2 grams of plant sterols daily; and, boost the amount of omega-3 fatty acids to1 gram daily by eating fish and/or taking fish oil supplements.

If diet and exercise alone don't lower your cholesterol enough, your doctor will probably recommend medication, also.


Cholesterol raises your chances of type 2 diabetes.


The correct answer is: Yes


Cholesterol can play a part in the development of type 2 diabetes.

Having a low level of "good" (HDL) cholesterol is one diabetes risk factor; so is a high level of blood fat called trigylcerides.

Other risk factors are being overweight, having a family history of diabetes, being inactive, and having high blood pressure.

Type 2 diabetes, like high-risk cholesterol, can be "silent." You may not know you have it.

Learn your diabetes risk: Get a fasting blood sugar test starting at age 45 -- sooner if you're overweight. Then get a blood sugar test every three years thereafter.



If your total cholesterol is normal, you're not at risk for heart attack or stroke?



The correct answer is: No


Even with normal total cholesterol -- less than 200 mg/dL -- high LDL cholesterol or low HDL cholesterol raises your risk of heart disease and stroke.

That's why it's important to know all your cholesterol numbers.

To reduce disease risks, get your cholesterol checked and then follow your doctor's orders. Strive for an LDL less than 100 mg/dL, and HDL at least 60 mg/dL.



Tobacco and alcohol can affect your cholesterol.


The correct answer is: Yes


Alcohol and tobacco can change your cholesterol -- one perhaps for the better, the other for the worse.

Some studies suggest a moderate amount of alcohol (about one drink daily for women, two for men) may raise good cholesterol. It's well-proven that smoking can lower good cholesterol.

If you don't already drink, there's no need to start just for the cholesterol effect.

A healthy diet by itself raises good cholesterol.

But if you smoke, try to quit. Not only will you help your cholesterol, but you'll also reduce your risks of heart disease and cancer.



You should get your first cholesterol test at age 45.


The correct answer is: No


Everyone should get a cholesterol test at least every five years, starting in their 20s.

Called a fasting lipid profile, it's a simple blood test done after you've not eaten for 9-12 hours.

The results of the test break down your cholesterol into triglycerides, HDL, LDL and total cholesterol. Healthy figures are:

  • less than 150 mg/dL for triglycerides;
  • HDL of 60 mg/dL or higher;
  • LDL lower than 100 mg/dL;
  • and total cholesterol below 200 mg/dL.

If you have questions about high-risk cholesterol or about how diet and exercise affect cholesterol, talk to your doctor.



For more information, see High Cholesterol: Tips to Protect Yourself and Lower Cholesterol: Are Your Doing Enough Quiz.


High-Risk Cholesterol: Myths vs Facts?


This site has an interesting health newsletter you can subscribe to


Unfortunately all the above measurements are in Yanki-speak.

Can anyone translate their numbers for Ozzies and other poor disadvantaged people who don't live in that most wonderful of all countries?



Gene Behind Serious Statin Risk

Muscle Condition From Cholesterol Drugs Linked to Gene Variant

By Daniel J. DeNoon

WebMD Health News

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD


Aug. 20, 2008 -- A variant gene causes more than 60% of cases of a serious side effect of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs -- muscle pain and weakness.


Statin drugs -- Lipitor, Pravachol, Crestor, Lescol, Mevacor, and Zocor -- are considered remarkably safe. But one in every 10,000 patients per year develops drug-related muscle trouble. Very rarely, this myopathy leads to muscle breakdown and fatal kidney failure.

. . .

The gene variant is relatively common. It alters the function of a gene that regulates drug uptake in the liver. People who inherit two copies of the gene had a 17-fold increased risk of muscle problems when taking high doses of Zocor. Those with just a single copy had a 4.5-fold increased risk.

Gene Behind Serious Statin Risk

Why are genetic 'pathology' tests so expensive still?

Which statin side effects are serious?


Myositis, which is inflammation of the muscles, can occur with statins. The risk of muscle injury increases when certain other medications are coupled with statin use. For example, if you take a combination of a statin and a fibrate -- another cholesterol-reducing drug -- the risk of muscle damage increases greatly compared to someone who takes a statin alone.


Other dangers of statins include other muscle conditions, which can be serious in rare cases. First, there can be statin muscle pain. Known as myalgia, this pain can generally be resolved quickly by discontinuing the medication. Myalgias may be uncomfortable, but, medically speaking, they’re harmless.


Statins can also cause your CPK levels to be mildly elevated. CPK or creatine kinase is a muscle enzyme that can be measured in the bloodstream. Muscle pain, mild inflammation, and possibly weakness are also seen. This condition, though uncommon, can take a long while to resolve.


The third and most severe serious side effect of statins is called rhabdomyolysis. Muscles all over the body become painful and weakened because of extreme muscle inflammation and damage. CPK levels are extremely elevated as well.

The kidneys can become overworked trying to eliminate a large amount of muscle breakdown caused by statin use. The severely damaged muscles release proteins into the blood that collect in the kidneys, thereby causing damage.

This can ultimately lead to kidney failure or even death. Fortunately, rhabdomyolysis is extremely rare. It occurs in less than one in 10,000 cases.

Side Effects of Statin Drugs

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  • 3 years later...

My brother in law is dieing, from the side effects of statins, and there is nothing they can do about it.Jim


I've been reading Primal Panacea by Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD and am about half way through it. If what he says is true, it's never to late as long as there is life to start very high dose vitamin C intervenes therapy. There is no known toxic limit to how much vitamin C one can take. I'm not going to get into all the examples of the wide range of ills that the high dose therapy has cured. But I will highly recommend that others read this book and then make up their own mind. I was very skeptical when I started reading, but now I'm becoming a believer. I only wish big pharma could make some money on it, then maybe it would become a supported popular treatment that actually saved lives with out causing all the side effects and deaths the current crop of drugs cause.

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  • 1 month later...

This is a tricky area because statins are important in certain circumstances, but not all!


Unfortunately, it appears that many doctors misunderstand the correct interpretation of blood cholesterol results. As has been pointed out above, there are 2 types, HDL and LDL. HDL levels should be High, LDL levels should be Low. However, a healthy level of both of these could still be interpreted as high merely because the HDL is relatively high! Thus, statins should not be prescribed as monotherapy unless the patients VLDL (very-low density lipoproteins) is relatively high. However the complication is that VLDL is incorportated with ANOTHER form of LDL which is harmless, thus giving a false result again.


If a patient was to suffer a myocardial infarction, studies show that co-prescribing a statin alongside an ACE inhibitor, Aspirin, possibly Clopidogrel (usually if the patient underwent stent procedure), and also a H2 receptor antagonist such as Ranitidine to counter the effects of aspirin on the stomach; is very useful indeed and is standard therapy


But as monotherapy, I think it should be avoided.


Dietary factors and exercise play a key role and excessive carbohydrates should be avoided. It's also important to note that Triglyceride levels are probably more important in determining heart disease and this should also be lowered accordingly.


A post above eluded to the risk of Rhabdomyolysis. This occurs when muscle breaks down and the resulting chemicals are toxic to the kidneys rendering them damaged. This was important in the case of Cerivastatin. This drug was withdrawn in 2001 because of this risk. However, Cerivastatain was over 50+ times more likely to cause this condition than current statins today. It is a very minor risk factor indeed and should not worry the patient.

Edited by LJP07
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