Are Statins a Waste of Time, Money?

The headline above comes from a Newsmax Health article by Lynn Allison published on January 11, 2017. The article offers information showing that one of the most profitable drugs of all time is actually based on a false theory. Statin drugs bring in over $34 billion in sales each year.

Ms. Allison begins the article by saying, “Millions are being misled about the pros and cons of statin drugs.” She goes on to explain that a recently convened panel of experts are suggesting that the theory of bad cholesterol may be faulty. If this revelation is true, it would mean that the millions of statin drugs being given are unnecessary and may even be harmful.

Additionally, the side effects of taking statins may be more serious than treating cholesterol, if that cholesterol is not as harmful as once thought. Some of the side effects of statin drugs include muscle pain, liver damage, increase in blood sugar, type 2 diabetes, memory issues, and neurological effects.

Dr. John Abramson of the Harvard Medical School stated in the article that earlier research found no link between high LDL cholesterol levels and heart deaths in those over 60. In an article titled “The Great Cholesterol Con,” Dr. Abramson stated, “A lack of association between LDL cholesterol and cardiovascular disease in those over 60 from our recent systemic review suggests the conventional cholesterol hypothesis is flawed.”

Dr. Richard Thompson, former physician to the Queen of England, asks the questions, “For hundreds of years physicians have clung to outdated and ineffective treatments. Could statins be now the latest star to fall? Have patients been misled over them for many years?”

Dr. Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., co-author of “The Great Cholesterol Myth,” also added to this article by saying, “Our book, ‘The Great Cholesterol Myth,’ references dozens of studies that not only cast doubt on the cholesterol theory but in some cases totally refutes the notion that cholesterol causes heart disease. We list several peer-reviewed studies that show more than half the people admitted to hospitals for cardiovascular disease have normal cholesterol. Not only doesn’t cholesterol cause heart disease, it is a lousy predictor of it!”

To drive home his point, Dr. Bowden, while appearing on the Dr. Oz show, said, “Trying to lower the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol is like trying to lower the risk of obesity by taking the lettuce off your Big Mac.”

Dr. Bowden further explained the problem with doctors over-prescribing these drugs by saying, “Doctors prescribe them randomly for anyone with a so-called elevated cholesterol level. Interestingly, the Framingham study revealed that people with the highest cholesterol levels actually lived the longest.” He continued, “And the claim from drug companies that statins save lives usually does not hold up upon close examination. You may see a slight reduction in heart attacks but your will see a corresponding increase in cancer and diabetes.”

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