Raining on the statin parade
If Big Pharma and mainstream medicine had their way, we’d all be taking a daily statin along with our breakfasts.
More and more, they’ve been pushing the drugs as prevention — with one group going so far as to suggest statins be sprinkled on fast food (“You want statins with that?” 8/26/2010).
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Never mind the risks associated with these so-called “protective” statins — including diabetes, kidney failure, cataracts, liver damage, muscle weakness, or any of the other horrible risks associated with those “protective” statins. (For more on those risks, see “Are you done ‘watching’ statins?” 6/2/2010 and “Mainstream darling raises diabetes risk,” 3/1/2010.)
The way they’d tell it, statins are downright magical.
Well, I’m sorry, but there’s no such thing as a magic pill, and the whole thing smacks of yet another way for Big Pharma to rake in the dough while putting all of our health at risk.
Yesterday, I wrote about the amazing heart protection offered by a diet rich in fruits and vegetables — if you missed it, eight portions a day could earn you a 22 percent reduction in the risk of dying from heart disease (“Saving your heart is easier than you think,” 2/2/11).
And right on the heels of that news comes a review that could mark the beginning of the end of this ridiculous notion of protective statins. Of course, the statin pushers are NOT happy.
A new Cochrane meta-analysis review led its authors to put out a press release questioning just how beneficial statins are in primary prevention, and that previous data showing benefits may have been (surprise, surprise!) biased by industry-funded studies. You don’t say! You mean I can’t trust the drug companies to be truthful when they’re testing their own drugs?
All snark aside, this is very big news. Based on 14 trials involving 34,272 people, the report concludes that the benefits of protective statin use are not enough to justify the risk. In the United Kingdom, the media is actually starting to question the statin love. Headlines saying the drugs are being overused are popping up in various outlets, as is the sad notion that millions of people are being needlessly exposed to the dangerous risks statins can introduce.
Like I said, the statin pushers aren’t happy. They say the risk of side effects is negligible, and that the drugs are beneficial. Cochrane misrepresented the data, they say — and this could be dangerous for the people who NEED statins!
Don’t make me laugh.
Could we really see a reduction in the headlines proclaiming statins a miracle of heart protection? Maybe not just yet. But if we can get stories like this and yesterday’s big fruit and veggie news out there — we might not have to wait too much longer before all this statin love is a thing of the past.
“Cochrane Review Stirs Controversy Over Statins in Primary Prevention,” Medscape Today (www.medscape.com)