March 22, 2016

Statins Receive Scrutiny They Deserve

I like what is happening in Great Britain. I can only hope that the United States can learn from them. The Queen's former doctor, Sir Richard Thompson has called for an inquiry into the safety and efficacy of statins. This was after a review into key trials concluded the pills were not effective in protecting against heart disease.

The former president of the Royal College of Physicians and personal doctor to the Queen for 21 years said: “The statin data needs to be urgently scrutinized. We are very worried about it and particularly side-effect data, which seems to have been swept under the carpet. We have to be very wary of the doubts about statins produced by this new research and if we are wrong about widespread prescribing of this drug we have to stand up and say sorry.”

This is very powerful and would be a first for doctors or their organizations to admit something and to say “sorry.” The cholesterol-busting drugs are given to up to 12 million patients in the UK, or around one in four adults.

Supporters, including the British Heart Foundation charity, say they save lives and UK health regulators insist they are safe. Yes, they still do not recognize the more severe side effects and like the American Heart Association will continue to promote statins even when they may be proven wrong. Please read my blog here about statins causing hardening of the arteries, a leading cause of heart problems.

Critics say the risks, such as severe muscle pain, depression, fatigue, impaired memory, and stroke, outweigh the benefits others claim exist. They also claim that much of the data could not be trusted as it relied on trials carried out before 2005/6 when new rules were brought in to make scientific studies more credible. It was later found by independent experts that the studies have no effect on death rates.

Another is the 4S study published 1994, which the new study claims should not be relied on as it was run and analyzed statistically by staff paid by a manufacturer of statins. This “would today be totally unacceptable” said the new report’s lead author Dr Michel De Logeril. His report concluded, “Statins are not effective for cardiovascular prevention”. Dr De Logeril, a cardiologist at the University of Grenoble in France, added: “We cannot trust these trials. I would warn people not to take statins.”

He was backed by eminent London-based cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, who said: “These are truly disturbing findings and fit in with the concept that all industry-sponsored studies should be seen as marketing until proven otherwise.”

Dr Malcolm Kendrick, who has studied heart health extensively agreed. He said: “This review confirms my fears that research on statins is fatally biased.”

Experts have urged anyone with concerns about the use of statins to contact their GP

Moreover, Fiona Godlee, editor of the British Medical Journal, added: “This carefully done piece of work reinforces the need for a thorough review of the evidence base on statins.”

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