Yet ANOTHER Study Shows Statins Are Useless
If you’re a regular reader of Constitutional Health, you already know my take on cholesterol-lowering statin drug use. If you’re a new reader, this is my view in a nutshell: I believe that statins are one of the biggest money-making schemes in history. In fact, they might even be the biggest.
Until their patents ran out, statins were the most profitable class of drugs in history. Pharma companies raked in untold billions once they hit the market, even though they were initially prescribed somewhat cautiously. As the money began to roll in, Big Pharma saw a Big Opportunity and pushed to get more people taking them. The “guidelines” for prescribing statins grew wider and wider. In the beginning, they were prescribed for people who had already had a heart attack or stroke. But as the net grew wider, they were prescribed for people with fewer and fewer “risk factors” for heart disease.
Today one person in four who’s over age 45 is on a statin, and Big Pharma would love to see that number rise to four out of four. They’d also like to see the age at which statins are prescribed drop and are pushing to have them recommended for nearly everyone once they hit 40. We’re told that statins reduce the risk of heart disease and by extension, heart attacks and strokes. There’s just one problem with this—the evidence to back it up simply isn’t there.
The fact of the matter is that the so-called “benefits” of statins are so tiny as to be almost insignificant. When weighed against the side effects and risks of statin use, any slight benefit they might have is overwhelmed by the problems they create. Problems like a wildly increased likelihood of developing diabetes—itself a risk factor for heart disease.
Now a new study in the European Journal of Epidemiology finds that statin use does nothing to reduce the incidence of heart disease in one of the highest-risk groups there is: post-menopausal women with diabetes. This should put a large nail in the coffin of the statins-for-all mindset. Unfortunately, Big Pharma will probably bury this study as it does with any study showing its pills and potions in a bad light. But if your doctor has tried to push you into taking a statin drug, here’s what you need to know:
The “benefits” of statins are pure propaganda
While the European Journal study is being largely ignored, the medical world is talking about another study called HOPE-3. They claim that this study supports using statins for “primary prevention.” That is, giving statins to healthy people hoping to ward of heart disease in the future. If we buy this idea, it means that the statin guidelines can be expanded yet again and even more people can be put on the drugs.
The news sites are running stories claiming statins reduce heart disease by an incredible 24%. And in the strictest sense the study does show this. What no one is telling us is the real numbers behind this statistic. 24 percent sounds like a lot. But when you look at the actual numbers involved, the picture is much different.
HOPE-3 involved some 12,705 people. If half these people got a statin and half a placebo, that’s about 6,352 people taking each. Now the study found that 4.8% of those on a placebo had heart attacks or strokes or died from other cardiovascular causes. 3.7% of those taking statin did. That means that 235 in the statin group had a cardiovascular incident and 304 on a placebo did. That’s a difference of only 69 people out of over six thousand. 69 people out of 6,352 is only 1%. So in order to benefit a mere 1% of the population, we’d have to subject the entire population of people with even the most miniscule risk factor to the hazards and side effects of statin use.
If this were an antibiotic, there’s no way we would call this effective. If it were a cancer drug, we wouldn’t call it effective. But since it’s the sacred cow of Big Pharma, it’s being trumpeted across the news and called a wild success. And guess who ran this study? AstraZeneca, the maker of one of the most popular statins.
Meanwhile, the studies that disagree are buried on deep in the back pages if they’re reported at all.
Beware the side effects of statins
Big Pharma has a habit of using us for guinea pigs. They run very short studies to get FDA approval. Drug safety studies are never more than a few months and often as short as a few weeks. And they don’t count people who drop out of studies before they’re finished, even if they drop out because of side effects. This makes their numbers look good and means their drugs get approved.
But it’s bad news for us, the end user. These short skewed studies mean that more often than not we really don’t know what a drug’s side effects are until doctors prescribe them to thousands of people. And even when we report side effects, they’re often ignored.
This is what’s happened with statins. Since the first statin prescriptions were written, patients have complained of side effects. Instead of taking these complaints seriously, doctors have generally dismissed them as being “all in our heads” or due to some other cause. New studies, however, are validating what we’ve been saying all along: Statins aren’t the harmless pills Big Pharma claims they are.
Statins have a host of side effects from unbearable muscle pain and weakness to a life-threatening condition called rhabdomyolysis. In this condition, the muscles actually die and release their contents into the blood stream. This can cause a variety of serious problems from kidney failure to death. And the number of studies showing long-term statin use causes diabetes grows each day.
What’s the takeaway from all this? Put bluntly: just say no to statins. They do what they’re designed to do—lower cholesterol—effectively. But there’s no real evidence showing this has much of an impact on heart disease. There is evidence of serious side effects. The so-called benefits just don't outweigh the risks, and these new studies show it.
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