March 23, 2012

Statin Risks Outweighed by Statin Benefits?

Statin drugs are at a crossroads. Some are promoting statins very heavily, which includes Big Pharma. At the same time the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is issuing warnings about statins. These warnings must be part of the written materials included with every prescription.

As more risks are deemed hazardous and more people are experiencing them, it is right that the FDA has taken their action. Now we have an article in WebMD that ups the anti and says “Statin Risks Outweighed by Statin Benefits.” This has to be weighed carefully. Even though the article clearly states the favoritism for statins, as you read the article, I was surprised by the toned down approach taken.

Statin drugs are used to block an enzyme the body needs to create cholesterol and this in turn lowers the amount of LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) in the body. The article lists the following statin drugs: Altocor, Altoprev, Mevacor (lovastatin), Crestor (rosuvastatin), Lescol (fluvastatin), Lipitor (atorvastatin), Livalo (pitavastatin),
Pravachol (pravastatin), and Zocor (simvastatin). Then the person interviewed - Steven Nissen, MD, chair of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic stated, “Clinical trials show that all of these cholesterol-lowering drugs cut the risk of heart disease by 25% to 30%.”

Dr. Nissen does use some common sense, but is still in favor of statins. He states that if you have heart disease, or have a very high risk of heart disease with high cholesterol; statins are one of the best classes of drugs for treating this. He goes on to state, "When used thoughtfully and with good monitoring, they are safe and effective. We all need to watch our cholesterol levels. But statin treatment is not for everyone.”

His last statement is very good and needs to be considered on an individual basis. Nissen says. "Statins should be coupled with good diet and exercise. They are not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle."

The article continues with who should and should not take statin drugs. It covers the risks, many common side effects and the latest warnings from the FDA. Please read as this may answer some of your questions about statins. This will also give you information to have a more informed discussion with your doctor.

In addition, this video needs to be watched. This is a cardiologist from the New York School of Medicine presenting his views on the FDA warnings. Unless I totally misunderstood him, it is full speed ahead with acknowledgment that the warnings exist, but that statins are best for the patient.

1 comment:

Ila East said...

I'm one of those people that can't take statins. It took about a year for me to convience my doctor, but he finally put me on Zetia and Coreg. Now I seem to be doing OK as far as the numbers go anyway.