It's the one drug practically everyone's taking--but nobody needs.
You might even be on it yourself, because docs just can't help themselves when it comes to cholesterol meds.
I call it the "statin reflex" because every time a doctor sees a high cholesterol level, his arm reflexively goes into his pocket and pulls out a prescription pad.
It's more reliable than the old hammer-on-the-knee test.
All kidding aside, statins do almost nothing for most people--and a new study proves again that low-risk patients who take them hoping to prevent heart disease have been badly misled.
Researchers from the Cochrane Collaboration examined 14 trials involving more than 34,000 low-risk statin patients--influential studies used to push these drugs on millions--and found serious flaws in the research.
They say the researchers behind those studies cherry-picked the evidence for the most positive results... then hid data on side effects.
And that's only when they bothered to collect it at all--side effects weren't even reported in half of the studies.
So much for safety.
After crunching the real numbers, the Cochrane crew found that 1,000 low-risk patients would have to be treated with statins for an entire year to reduce the number of heart deaths from 9... all the way down to 8.
And while a life saved is a life saved, the overall cost of saving that life includes unnecessary risk to every single one of the rest of those 1,000 people being treated.
Statins come with a risk of debilitating muscle pain, liver and kidney problems and cataracts. Some people report serious memory loss to the point where it might even seem like dementia.
And those aren't the only reasons to skip these meds, because another new study even finds that these drugs won't always prevent strokes, as commonly touted--and might even cause them.
Researchers have found that statins can increase the odds of a hemorrhagic stroke by nearly 60 percent in patients who've already suffered one hemorrhagic stroke.
Yet despite serious doubts about the benefits and some very clear risks, Big Pharma continues to push statins on anyone and everyone.
In Britain, they're available over the counter. Here in the United States, some people have even suggested we dump statins into the water, a la fluoride (and we know how that turned out).
It's pure insanity--especially when you consider that cholesterol levels can be controlled safely and effectively without a single med.
All you need is a commitment to the same lifestyle changes that really will lower your risk of heart attack, stroke and more.