March 23, 2016

When Will Doctors Believe in Statin Damage?

Most doctors will continue to insist on prescribing statins, but more and more evidence is coming to light about the damage to our bodies being caused by statins. Increasing numbers of Americans are being prescribed statin drugs to lower their risk of heart attack or stroke. The risks of these drugs to muscles and kidneys may be greater than previously thought.

Statins are also associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes and with more rapid deterioration in patients with chronic kidney disease.

Duane Graveline, M.D., M.P.H., and Philip W. Blair, M.D. writing in the spring issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons say, “The risks of these drugs to muscles and kidneys may be greater than previously thought.” Graveline and Blair calculate that between 2005 and 2011 there may have been nearly 2,000 deaths from rhabdomyolysis due to statins, based on the FDA's MedWatch records.

Authors conclude that statin-associated muscle and kidney damage are both more common and more insidious than generally believed. The "collateral damage is probably higher than most clinicians would consider acceptable." They advocate restricting statin usage until more is known about these effects.

Damage may be occurring even if the patient's CPK levels are normal, authors state. CPK (creatine phosphokinase) is the blood test doctors monitor to check for muscle damage. Although rhabdomyolysis is generally considered to be an acute crisis, there is a chronic progressive form as in the case report in the article.

Some 24 percent of Americans have a gene called SNIPS, which causes blood levels of statins to be much higher than expected, authors warn.

Also read my blog about statins causing hardening of the arteries, which was not reported in this study.

With all the bad news being found in studies lately, it is hoped that doctors will slow their efforts to over prescribe statins, but the American Heart Association is not backing down in their efforts to prescribe statins to more people. They are even pushing for prescribing to people that have normal lipid panels and young people.

Those of us following the research know that people are abandoning statins in greater numbers and won't allow future prescriptions, even if they are labeled non-compliant.

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