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Adverse Reactions

Why it's wrong to take a statin a day

Take a statin a day if you're male and over 50, a health expert has told us this week.  Prof Robert Boyle, the UK's adviser on heart and stroke health, reckons the drug should be taken along with the morning Corn Flakes in order to keep in check high cholesterol levels.

He's right to be concerned: heart disease and stroke is the major killer in the West.  But he's wrong about the remedy.

Statins such as Zocor, Zocord and Lipitor do indeed reduce levels of the 'bad' LDL cholesterol, but scientists are beginning to see cholesterol as the big red herring of modern medicine.  At best, a high cholesterol level seems to be nothing more than a marker of a heart problem, not the cause of one. 

Even if you don't buy that, there are more effective ways of keeping cholesterol levels down, such as through exercise and diet, and without the need for drug dependency.  Statins are also not quite as safe as everyone at first believed.  A recent report has found that they can increase the chance of cancer, but more common effects include liver toxicity and hepatitis, inflammation and pain in the muscles, blurred vision, headache, nausea and skin rash.

The truth is that medicine still doesn't fully understand the subtle and complex mechanisms of heart health, and the role that cholesterol plays.  Until we do, use statins only with caution, and certainly not every day with the Corn Flakes.

And, while you're about it, drop the Corn Flakes too and try some fruit instead.

Published 03 August 2007 12:29 by Bryan Hubbard

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Actually  we do know  how cholesterol is involved.  The cascade of events starts with  metabolic,  chemical, biological actions that injure the  lumen.  White bllod cells rush to combat the substances or pathogenes, cholesterol is trying to plug the injury, both trapped and become part pf plaque buildup.  The injurious substances, including excessive animal fats AND  OUR OWN ADIPOSE TISSUES produce  citokines  which provoke  subclinical inflammation in addition to the former triggers.

It is not cholesterol but the silent inflammation provoked  is what the problem is.  Statins'  positive effect  is not what it was invented for (to lower cholestereol) but by its anti inflammatory effect, albeit at a cost! Safe alternatives  do exist!

August 4, 2007 12:35

Benjamin Fitts said:

Statins seem to work for some people but others have serious side effects.

A couple of friends love their statins.

My dad however has memory problems and scans actually show a black spot on his brain after taking them for several months.

Statins are certainly not right for everyone!

Thanks for sharing.

August 6, 2007 16:03

Brennan Kingsland said:

I would suggest a thorough discussion with your MD before making a final decision on statins. Negative side effects are a risk with almost every medication, but as a Coronary Critical Care RN, I believe benefits must be weighed against the risks. For some individuals, even trying more natural alternatives is not sufficient. My husband's family has a genetic history of cholesterol-related diseases. He has flat-lined five times and been resuscitated with heart-related issues. Thus far, he has lived longer than any member of his family and his heart attacks have stopped, secondary to a medication regime that includes a daily statin. Yes, there are side effects to statins, but death is a BAD side-effect of NOT taking the medication when it is needed.

As a licensed RN, I would never presume to give medical advice (could lose my license), BUT while I think it is important that we humans take responsibility for our own health, countermanding a physician's order is not necessarily the wisest or safest approach.

Talk with your doctor before making your final decision. Your life may depend on it.

August 7, 2007 17:30

dgtucker said:

Interesting viewppoints....but I fail to understand why or how, a potentially life threatening drug is preferable to addressing the underlying causes with correct nutrition and exercise?

Every thing in the UK is 'Low fat'....except the population and that shoud tell us something.

Sugars, HFC,processed carbs, sedentry lifestyle....these need to be looked at and sorted, for herein lies the arteriole sclerosis/inflammation problems I believe.

........Saturated fats are in fact essential and not really a problem for most, in heart disease.

See for more detail and sensible information, research and logic!

August 17, 2007 00:55

roseanne lannigan said:

having used statins only for a few weeks have fought with doc for nearly two years have now been told my ck levels are sky high and have terrible pains and stiffness and memory loss due to this now awaiting rheumatologist appointment dont recommend these at all dangerous

October 11, 2007 20:11

Peter Fryer said:

I`ve been taking Lipitor 10 mg for the past 4 months and last night experienced a weird sensation when the outside of my vision became like ripples on water. Needless to say I`ll be making an appointment with my doctor to discuss this. It may or may not be related!

October 23, 2007 10:54

Joyce Ashman said:

I have been on 20 mgs statins for the past 16 months and the then 4 months on 10mg. Noticed that gradual muscle stiffness was increasing, especially when getting to my feet after sitting for some time and also climbing stairs was becoming a pain (literally). I really thought that the symptoms were due to rheumatic problems but when I visited my gp he advised that I come off the statins at least for 1 month. I have been without medication now for 4 days and have noticed and felt a considerable improvement in movement and pain. I can only conclude that the statins were the cause of my problems.

October 4, 2008 17:37

david score said:

im on statins 9months ago i ruptured a muscle in the arm now i ruptured a quadricept off the knee,ive had pain getting to my feet , and climbing stairs in the knees , and general muscle going to stop the statins and see if things improve,

October 21, 2008 12:27

M. Cawdery said:

For adverse reactions google MHRA DAPs; then select the drug you are interested in e.g., simvastatin. You can then download the details.  Remember that only 1-10% of doctors actually report adverse reactions. They are told that for statins these are rare based on studies such as the HPS and JUPITER where 67 and 75% of initial candidates were excluded;  reasons for exclusion were prior adverse reactions to the drug or the possibility of adverse reactions. In short every attempt was made to ensure that adverse reactions did not affect the results!

Also drs have many mandatory forms to fill in every day; voluntary ones get left out. Big Pharma also euphemistically call adverse reactions "side effects" and suggest that they are "minor".  Hence I prefer the 1% estimate for reporting.

Simvastatin has 70 deaths reported (MHRA) equivalent to between 700-7000 in real terms.

April 18, 2009 13:50

Chris Haynes said:

I have been taking SIMVASTATIN 40mg for about 2 months. I found by chance that my family had a genetic predisposition to heart disease. A sudden wake-up call as I discoverd my dad died age 54, I'm 53. I evaluated what I thought was a healthy diet, started exercising and have lost a stone. No side effects so far, thankfully.

I know not everyone has been free from side effects and absolutely agree with those who repeatedly suggest diet and exercise are a cure for high cholesterol. However, not all those taking a statin are overweight. My dad was active all his life and although I've lost a stone, I was only 9st 10lb to begin with and am 5'6'' tall. What I was unable to control through diet or exercise was cholesterol of 7.6. I'm pleased to say that the statin has done it's job and lowered it to a healthier 3.4.

July 21, 2009 18:07

M. Cawdery said:

As an addendum, other drugs such as ezetimibe (plant sterols, nicotinic acid, cholestyramine, etc) reduce cholesterol BUT HAVE NEvER BEEN USED ALONE IN A CLINICAL STUDY ON CORONARY HEART DISEASE or have failed to show any effect.  

I wonder why Ezetimibe, excellent for lowering cholesterol, has never been used in alone in clinical trials? No doubt Big Pharma is well aware that statins work by their anti-inflammatory action (Nuclear Factor-kappaB inhibition) since they are now trialing statins for use in transplant surgery and auto-immune diseases.  Howver, having throughly brainwashed  the general population and many medics, they are not going to kill the goose that lays $billions sales.

ENHANCE, a study comparing VYTORIN (a combination product of simvastatin and ezetimibe) with simvastatin alone showed that ezetimibe contribute NOTHING other than additional cholesterol lowering.

August 18, 2009 11:45

jane mills said:

simvastatins have crippled me and ruined my life. five years on 20mg a day . two years into meds and things started to go wrong cant walk now and hands are going too been off for two years six months and been thru hell research shows what this dreadful drug does g.p.s know nothing

August 27, 2009 14:14

kaledonia said:

trying to decide whether or not to take statin. healthy. but 12 stone, reducing gradually, cholesterol 5.4, pre-diabetic but 2 months glucose monitoring test shows nothing higher than 6, menopausal 45 follicle, asthmatic well controlled with 20mg beconase every other day, plus montelukast daily. oh, and i have a mirena coil for contraception, nearly 5 years in place (prostaglandin I think). anyone anything helpful to say? blood pressure 140/90 at surgery, 130/70 at home. going nuts not trusting GP and nurse, think they are on an incentive bonus scheme both for diabetics registered and statins administerd! HELP

September 3, 2009 19:50

lekann said:

Good reads 'The Statin Damage Crisis' by Duane Graveline and 'The Great Cholesterol Con' by Dr Malcolm Kendrick.

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