statin side effects

  1. Bias implications in statin study

    Here's what happens when you let the drug companies run their own research: You get what they pay for.

    And they're not paying for naysayers.

    A new study finds signs of bias all over the research used by the feds to approve the cholesterol med Crestor for millions of healthy people with normal cholesterol levels. The study, called JUPITER, found that the drug might help lower the risk of heart problems in people with elevated levels of the inflammation marker C-reactive protein (CRP). (Read "Statins aimed at healthy people.")

    But a new analysis finds that JUPITER--which was paid for by Crestor's maker, AstraZeneca--had so many problems and was so inconsistent that it shouldn't have been used to change any of the guidelines for the use of the med.

    For example, nine of the 14 researchers behind the JUPITER study had financial ties to the AstraZeneca, according to the new analysis in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

    And that's not even the biggest conflict.

    The researchers also note that the study involved the use of a new test to measure levels of CRP--a test that millions of healthy Americans can now expect to receive at their own doctors' offices now that Crestor has been approved for them.

    Well, it just so happens that this test was created by the lead author of the JUPITER study, who is also a co-holder of the patent for it. That means he could soon enjoy a statin side effect that the rest of us can only envy: What to do with all the extra money that will be coming in.

    If that's not a conflict I don't know what is. Even he admits it is--but seems to think it's OK because everyone knows about it.

    "My conflict has been publicly disclosed literally hundreds of times going as far back as 1997," Dr. Paul Ridker said in an email to Bloomberg News. "There is nothing new here."

    Maybe it's not new. But it's certainly relevant. So are some of the other dirty details--like the decision to pull the plug on this study after just two years, when it was supposed to run for five years.

    Why the hurry?

    Take a guess--because no one else has a better answer than you do. The researchers behind the new analysis said that inconsistencies in the data "should have led to the continuation of the trial rather than its premature ending."

    But you know Big Pharma. They love a happy ending--and they cut the study off as soon as they got one.

    If you take these meds, however, you could be anything but happy: Statin side effects including debilitating muscle pain, liver and kidney problems and cataracts.

    All for a med that has never been proven to extend a single life.

  2. Statin side effects worse than thought

    Remember how "well-tolerated" those cholesterol drugs were supposed to be?

    Turns out, not so much.

    A new study in the British Medical Journal links statins to an alarming number of life-wrecking side effects, confirming the evidence that's been mounting for years: These meds will destroy everything from your muscles to your kidneys.

    Researchers looked at records of 2 million patients in England and Wales, all between the ages of 30 and 84. Of those, 225,922 lost the drug lottery: They were new statin users.

    I guess no one told them how unnecessary and dangerous these drugs are... so many of them had to find out the hard way.

    The researchers say that for every 10,000 high-risk women treated with statins, there are 307 new cataract patients, 74 additional cases of liver dysfunction, 23 new cases of kidney failure, and 39 extra cases of myopathy--or those famous muscle problems that are among the most painful side effects of any drug.

    High-risk men have similar numbers, but are much more likely to suffer from myopathy. The researchers estimate 110 extra cases of the condition.

    The word "myopathy" can't begin to describe the pain if you've never experienced it yourself. Let me put it this way: It's not your run-of-the-mill muscle ache, and a little Ben-Gay won't make it disappear. In fact, it can be permanent.

    Some of the people who suffer from it say the simplest movements can reduce them to tears of agony.

    It really is that bad... and some statin users have an even higher risk of coming down with this condition. The researchers say black men have eight times the risk, women with type 1 diabetes have five times the risk, and women with type 2 diabetes have double the odds of myopathy.

    The researchers also said that while the risks were highest in the first year, they could happen at any time during treatment, which is supposed to last for the rest of your life.

    Don't expect to hear about any of this in your doctor's office!

    It's maddening--because there are better, safer ways to control your cholesterol levels and lower your risk for cardiovascular problems, and it all begins with what you eat.

    It's pretty simple: Swallow good food and you won't have to swallow these risky meds. Lose weight, get some steady movement and your cholesterol levels will come down on their own.

    For an extra boost, add a fish oil supplement. Then, make a little room in your life for some plant sterols and a handful of nuts a day.

    Do yourself and your body a favor: Do this the right way. Your eyes, muscles, liver and kidneys will thank you.

    Big Pharma probably won't.

  3. Statins linked to low testosterone

    Looks like those statin drugs lower a lot more than just cholesterol levels--a new study finds that men who take these meds face shrinking testosterone levels, too.
  4. Statins up diabetes risk

    Your doctor might be convinced that ANY way to lower cholesterol levels is a good one, but I don't share that same opinion--and you won't either once you see the results of this latest study.

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