Statins for kids? The very idea is insane, yet millions of children are already taking these "adult" meds -- and a new set of guidelines aims to give these drugs to millions more, including kids still in elementary school.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says every child between the ages of 9 and 11 should be screened for cholesterol, even if they're in perfect health and have no family history of high cholesterol or heart problems.
Forget that there's no evidence high cholesterol is even harmful to a child. And don't even think about the fact that supposedly high LDL levels in kids usually normalize on their own over time.
Nope, none of that matters any more. All that matters now are the numbers on the blood test. And if your kid's number comes up, he needs to be "treated."
That's code for those cholesterol meds, especially the statins that make up some of the best-selling drugs in the world despite side effects such as debilitating muscle pain, kidney and liver damage, cataracts and even a higher risk of diabetes.
If there's one group of doctors out there who should be standing in the way of this, it's the doctors who supposedly know children best -- like the members of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
But that organization actually helped to create the new guidelines -- and, in fact, last year called for giving statins to kids as young as 8 years old. (Read about that here.)
This failure to protect our children from over-medication is not a surprising one. Just last month, this very same group called for giving ADHD meds to children barely out of diapers. (Read the full story here.)
You might say they can't keep their hands away from their prescription pads -- because even without these new guidelines, they've been busily passing out adult meds to children for years now.
In 2009 alone, pediatricians wrote nearly 3 million prescriptions for cholesterol meds for kids, including 2.3 million statin prescriptions. So many kids are on these meds that Pfizer even created a chewable Lipitor just for children -- and it's already been approved in Europe.
Thanks to the new guidelines, you can bet we'll be seeing it here at some point, too.
Statins aren't the only adult drugs aimed at kids. Millions of children are already hooked on painkillers, antidepressants, BP meds, diabetes drugs and more.
But all of these conditions, up to and including high cholesterol, can be treated and defeated without a single med.
Now, you just have to find a doctor who still knows how to do it.