Has anyone read how horrific the side effects really are to some of these statins and realized that either they or their loved ones had these very symtoms and becames seriously ill to the point that they ended up in ICU not knowing who they were, where they were, in so much pain they could not bear to be touched and had regressed to near infancy before anyone figured out that it was zocor or lipitor or another statin they were on that was causing these bizarre illnessess ? Imagine believing that you are given a drug thinking it will make you better and you start complaining of all of these symtoms only to be told over and over again it is nothing and you end up fighting for you very life. Wouldn't you be pissed off if you found out the drug companies knew all along that this was happening and a heck of alot more than they told anyone. Sounds alot like "Vioxx" right? They lied big time over that!! Anyway just wondering if anyone has considered the class action suits they have going on right now cause that is all they understand because really what is a few lives when it comes to profit. I watched my son not even know his own name and look absolutely terrified because he had forgotton how to walk or talk. He had lost his memory before it was over with and acted like a 95 year old man and he is only 39 years old. My heart broke , I thought I was in the twilight zone. Even now doctors avoid my questions about the effect this drug had on him and I am left to my own research. I just wish I had known before not after.
I did make a post about the effect of memory from statins here some time ago, but I don't think it was taken very seriously. I believe it is likely that these drugs affect everyone in some degree, but obviously some far more than others. I am really sorry to hear about your Son and I can't even begin to imagine what it must have been like and what you went through. Perhaps it's about time they looked at a different approach. They do believe in these products so much that recommendations are constantly being made that everyone should take them, even if they have low cholesterol. I have the feeling there is a lot of money being given out to make such statements by Doctors etc.
I have no choice but to take statins, because I have familial hypercholesterolemia. I remember how I used to heal very quickly from any wound and that seems to be gone now. Maybe the abundance of cholesterol helped with this as it's used to make cell membranes. I feel very nervous being on this drug, but as the only current option, I have no choice. Goodness knows what long term effects it will have on me. I've been on them three years so far and got away with it.
Although I agree that there are some side effects from statin use, they have been proven to be very safe overall and their benefit greatly out weight the risk. There is absolutely no proven link between the prescription of statins to kick backs to doctors, that is a fairly reckless statement. I spend considerable hours during the week doing volunteer work with many cardiologists at a local cardiac care center and this topic gets discussed often. None of the doctors I work with have ever been approached to take money in exchange for prescribing or backing statins, it just doesn't happen.
For the record, I don't believe in statin use in healthy individuals with normal lipid numbers unless there is a very large risk of future cardiac events. They are finding more and more uses for statins, even this month it was announced that a study has found it beneficial to prescribe statins for a period prior to and directly after any invasive surgery due to their anti-inflammatory properties. They have also been shown to help speed the recovery or even the prevention of pneumonia.
Again, there is still much to be learned. The OP's situation is indeed very alarming, however I don't read anything that says the Zocor was responsible, just conjecture that it may be based on some Internet research. Zocor which is merely simvastatin is very safe and the incidence of side effects very low, but some will be affected differently than others. Keep in mind that you will always read more negative experiences concerning statin use on the Internet as people with problems tend to post while the vast majority that take statins have no issues and don't have a reason to post so one needs to carefully interpret the information out there.
"None of the doctors I work with have ever been approached to take money in exchange for prescribing or backing statins, it just doesn't happen"
Well drug companies can be very persuasive. Someone is recommending that every person on the planet should be taking statins. After the recommendations, who prescribes them? I think in the uk the drug companies influence the professors, who in turn try to influence Doctors. It was announced not long ago that it would be a huge benefit if kids took statins. I can't help but wonder what's next, maybe give your pets a statin a day?
Personally I agree with some Doctors who say Statins haven't really been proven. Any side effects have been a mystery or blamed on something else because the drug companies have been telling the Doctors it has nothing to do with statins. I believe the damage is just starting to be realised.
If I didn't have familial hypercholesterolemia, then I wouldn't be taking them. However, I have to wonder, with such high cholesterol for 47 years, why did it only become a problem when I hit a really stressful period in my life.
I do agree that there is more to CAD than cholesterol, I don't know if it's stress, vascular inflammation or what. I just don't think the entire medical profession is guilty of corruption or is on the take to help sell statins. These things have been around since 1987 and any long term effects would surely be seen by now.
Still much to be learned, maybe some day it will all become more clear.
Why would long term effects have been seen by now?
If the side effects are being 'hidden', why would you expect to know? A billion dollar industry can easily report good things and never the bad. Have you actually seen the latest list of benefit claims from statins? even lowering the risk of lung degradation from smoking now. Cancers, all sorts of things are claimed to have risks lowered IF you just take a magic statin a day. It was claimed that high cholesterol and high saturated fat intake increased heart disease risk and stroke. This was apparently decided by looking at death rates from some European countries and comparing them to the national average cholesterol level. They claimed there is a strong link between high fat intake and death from heart disease/stroke. They even listed the countries, but an independant study done by europe found the results to be false. They were the opposite. In fact, countries with higher cholesterol levels had far fewer heart problems. In Japan, their cholesterol rose by 20% between 1958 and 1999 due to diet change. They used to have the highest rates of deaths from strokes. The mortality rate from stroke dropped seven fold and heart attacks dropped by 50%. Strange? when the claim is that fat causes these things. The big drug companies seem very good at keeping independant research under wraps, but the evidence is there for anyone to see. France has 75% less heart disease than the uk, yet consume LOADS of saturated fats. They cook virtually everything in butter or fat too. They have a higher average cholesterol level than the british and yet seem to be getting away with it. What do the drug companies claim? it's the grapes in the wines. LOL. Oh, they also claim it's fresher ingredients which is nonsense. We are an agriculture country and have access to fresh ingredients. Europe is becoming more aware of the claims being false and before long I think something will explode. It will affect a lot of trust between nations too I think.
Have a read of this and you can look up any of the claims yourself. Don't just read what the drug companies tell you, look for the actual numbers and look for yourself. It may take a little time to dig, but it's a real eye opener.
I guess I just don't buy into the whole "big pharma companies are corrupting the medical profession" thing. Also, I don't believe anything that comes from spacedoc.net or any of their contributors. They are all hypocrites that are lining their pockets by selling books and supplements. Anytime I see a site or individual that makes money by selling books I have to look away. Spacedoc is a well known anti-statin web site that does NOT allow alternate points of view. Their forums are well know for bashing any contributor that does not agree with their position.
In my opinion, one sided web sites should never be quoted.
erijon is firmly in the statin camp. If spacedoc and others are "lining their pockets by selling books and suplements", what does he think the pharmaceutical companies are doing with their statin sales? I have spent hours and hours reading the research on statins, both US and European (I have a research background) and, quite frankly, most of the research is worthless. As one chemist put it after looking at some of the statin research, if his experiments in chemistry were as faulted as the statin research he looked at, he would never get published anywhere. He was surprised that such badly designed research was looked upon as credible. As one nurse wryly said to me, "There's research and there's research." By the way, on the internet I read that Merck was caught by an Australian publisher sending five "medical journals" in five different medical areas to Elsevier (a noted scientific publisher) about a decade ago that didn't even exist: Merck put these phony journals together to display their research in these various fields and thereby "sell" their drugs. Elsevier apologized and said they'd be more careful in future.
I'm right here so you can ask me directly and not wonder.I think the statin companies are making a return on their huge research and development investments, it's called free market system. Just because a drug company makes money on a drug does not make it evil. Where do you think the money comes from to do the R&A required to bring new medications to the market?
I assure you, I have done considerably more research on this than the vast majority here, and possibly you. I spend hours every week volunteering with respected cardiologists in a cardiac care center where I can see for myself what cholesterol has done to people. Below, take your pick of the studies done, they can't all be tainted;
i.Reduction of new coronary events and new atherothrombotic brain infarction in older persons with diabetes mellitus, prior myocardial infarction, and serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol >/=125 mg/dl treated with statins. 1
A prospective study in which 529 diabetics, mean age 79+/- 9 years with no morbidities as mentioned above were divided into 2 groups; one treated with statins and the other with no lipid lowering drug. After a follow up of 29 +/- 18 months it was observed that the use of statins was associated with a 37% significant, independent reduction in the incidence of new coronary events and with a 47% significant, independent reduction in the incidence of new atherothrombotic brain infarction. And thus it was concluded that elderly diabetics with prior MI and increased LDL-C should especially be treated with statins.
ii.ARBITER: Arterial Biology for the Investigation of the Treatment Effects of Reducing Cholesterol: a randomized trial comparing the effects of atorvastatin and pravastatin on carotid intima medial thickness. 2
This was a single center, randomized clinical trial of 161 patients with mean age of 60 years and 46% with known cardiovascular disease. The effects of atorvastatin 80 mg/d and pravastatin 40 mg/d on CIMT were compared. Baseline CIMT and other characteristics were similar in both groups. After 12 months of follow up it was found that the LDL-C was around 76 +/- 23 and 110 +/- 30 mg/dl in the atorvastatin and pravastatin group respectively. There was a regression in the CIMT of –0.034+/-0.021 mm in the atorvastatin group whereas the CIMT remained stable in the pravastatin group. It was concluded that marked LDL reduction (<100 mg/dl) provides superior efficacy for atherosclerosis regression at 1 year.
More to follow...........
Why is it unreasonable to make money after investing millions to bring a drug to market? Why can't all these so called "experts" that write books for profit get together and fund one study to dispute what they state? There are anti-statin doctors, including those on spacedoc, that have received millions from the NIH yet have not produced one study to rebuke the accepted studies of statin effectiveness.
I'm not in any "camp", I do the research, ask the questions and make the decision for myself which is the responsibility of all patients. There is not one piece of pure evidence to link big pharma companies to any tampering of any study yet the anti-statin crowd loves to poit their fingers without proof.
It's simple, everyone should discuss their options with their doctors and make their own decision. This should not be a matter of "camps". Here's a thought, if you don't want to take a statin, don't. But don't disrupt the patient/doctor relationship, you and I are not qualified to do so.
In the future, if you would like to know what I think ask.
Of the 19342 patients randomized to one of the two antihypertensive regimens 10305 were further randomly assigned atorvastatin 10 mg daily or placebo to form the lipid lowering arm of the study. Mean age of participants was 63 years and baseline blood pressure and lipid subtraction values were identical in the 2 groups. The study was stopped prematurely after median 3.3 years of follow up. Compared with placebo there was a 35% relative reduction of LDL-C in the atorvastatin group. The primary end point of the study (non fatal MI and a fatal Coronary Heart disease ) was significantly lower by 36 % in the statin group than in the placebo group.
There were also significant reductions in secondary endpoints such as total coronary events by 29% and especially fatal and non-fatal strokes by 27%. Previous randomized trials of statin use for lowering cholesterol have shown, on average, significant reduction in strokes in both primary and secondary prevention of about 15 to 30%. Hence the 27% reduction in stroke incidence is in keeping with the prior observations.
iv.Prevention of stroke and dementia with statins: Effects beyond lipid lowering. 4
The epidemiological association between elevated serum cholesterol and stroke risk is controversial. However, recent secondary prevention studies with statins have demonstrated a significant reduction in ischemic stroke. Statins probably reduce stroke by a variety of mechanisms, including modulation of precerebral atherothrombosis, thus preventing plaque disruption and artery to artery thromboembolism. They also provide endothelial homeostasis, and in experimental models have shown to decrease brain infarct size and neurological outcomes. Further studies are needed to fully address the role of statins and thus cholesterol lowering in the prevention of stroke in patients without established vascular disease.
v.Reducing the risk of coronary events: evidence from the Scandinavian Simvastatin Survival Study (4S). 5
Patients with pre-existing CAD had a reduced risk of any coronary event of 27% on Zocor compared with placebo. Looking at actual LDL-C levels achieved, the 4 year event rate was:
1.10.8% with LDL-C level of 58 to 104 mg/dl
2.13.3% with LDL-C level of 105 to 126 mg/dl
3.18.9% with LDL-C level of 127 to 266 mg/dl.
This analysis shows a near linear relationship between LDL-C achieved and the rate of coronary events.
vi.Reduction in stroke with gemfibrozil in men with coronary heart disease and low HDL cholesterol: The Veterans Affairs HDL Intervention Trial (VA-HIT). 6
This was a placebo-controlled, randomized trial conducted in 20 Veterans Affairs medical centers. A total of 2531 men with coronary heart disease, mean HDL cholesterol 31.5 mg/dl and mean LDL cholesterol 111 mg/dl, were randomized to gemfibrozil 1200 mg/d or placebo and were followed up for 5 years. In the VA-HIT study Gemfibrozil resulted in 6 % higher value of HDL cholesterol, 4 % lower for total cholesterol and 31% lower for the triglycerides compared with placebo. There were 134 confirmed strokes, 90%of which were ischemic. 76 occurred in the placebo group and 58 in the gemfibrozil group, for a relative risk reduction of 31%. This beneficial effect of increasing HDL , lowering triglycerides and total cholesterol was observed only with atherothrombotic type of stroke. The incidences of lacunar or cardioembolic strokes were similar in the two groups. Gemfibrozil treatment was also associated with a 59 % reduction in TIA’s and 65% reduction in carotid endarterctomies. Important point to note is that all these beneficial effects were noted in the first 6 to 12 months of initiating therapy compared with statin therapy in which the lag time is 3.5 years. This study brought the role of HDL cholesterol and triglyceride in the prevention of ischemic strokes.
vii.Effects of lowering average of below-average cholesterol levels on the progression of carotid atherosclerosis: results of the LIPID Atherosclerosis Substudy. LIPID Trial Research Group. 7
In this study, 522 patients with a history of myocardial infarction or unstable angina and with baseline levels of total cholesterol between 4 to 7 mM ( average to below average values) were randomized to treatment with a low fat diet plus pravastatin (40 mg daily) or to a low fat diet plus placebo. The Primary study outcome was the change from baseline in Carotid Wall Thickness after 2 and 4 years of follow up. Carotid atherosclerosis is not only a marker of CHD risk, it is also a marker of the risks of stroke and ischemic cerebrovascular disease. Treatment with pravastatin had the following effects:
◦Total cholesterol decreased by 19%
◦LDL cholesterol reduced by 27%
◦Triglycerides by 13%
◦Apolipoprotein B decreased by 19%
◦HDL cholesterol increased by 3%
After 2 years of follow up, the mean CWT increased by 0.039 mm in the placebo group and was essentially unchanged in the pravastatin group. After 4 years of follow up, the mean CWT had increased by a total of 0.048 mm in the placebo group and had DECLINED by 0.014 mm in the pravastatin group. Thus the finding here and in previous studies of a marked effect of cholesterol lowering on the carotid atherosclerosis ( which as mentioned earlier is considered to be a marker of CHD and ischemic stroke risk), suggest that such treatment might be expected to lower the risks of having such events.
viii.The effect of pravastatin on coronary events after myocardial infarction in patients with average cholesterol levels. Cholesterol and Recurrent Events Trial investigators. 8
The primary objective of this large study of 4159 patients was to determine whether pravastatin reduces the frequency of coronary events in people who have already had one myocardial infarction yet who had average cholesterol levels (average total cholesterol of 209 mg/dL and average LDL of 139 mg/dL). The patients received either 40mg of pravastain per day or placebo for five years. The primary endpoint was a fatal coronary event or a non-fatal myocardial infarction. The frequency of the primary endpoint was 10.2% in the pravastatin group and 13.2% in the placebo group (p=.003). This difference corresponds to a 24% reduction in coronary events. The pravastatin group also showed a 31% decrease (p=.03) in the incidence of stroke compared to the placebo group. Frequencies of coronary bypass and angioplasty were also significantly lower in the pravastatin group. Patients with higher pretreatment LDL cholesterol demonstrated greater benefit from pravastatin treatment; women benefited more than men in terms of reduction of coronary events. There were no differences in overall mortality or non-coronary-related mortality between the two groups. These results show that patients with a history of coronary disease and average cholesterol levels do benefit from cholesterol-lowering therapy.
ix.MRC/BHF Heart Protection Study of cholesterol lowering with simvastatin in 20,536 high-risk individuals: a randomised placebo-controlled trial. 9
This was a study of 20,536 patients in the UK with the goal to determine whether simvastatin conferred any benefits to patients with a history of coronary disease, other occlusive arterial disease, or diabetes and who had a range of cholesterol levels. Patients were followed for five years taking 40mg of simvastatin or placebo. Among the findings was that patients taking at least simvastatin (some were taking additional lipid-lowering drugs) showed a reduction in non-fatal or fatal stroke (444 [4.3%] vs 585 [5.7%]; p<0.0001). The researchers concluded that the benefit of lipid therapy depends more on the overall risk for a vascular event than on the blood lipid concentrations alone.
The UK trial is a bit odd too. It claimed fantastic results for statin usage, and yet during that time cerivastatin was taken very quickly off the shelves because it was killing people. Why don't governments pay to have independant research? why is it always the drug companies who pay for them? Years ago the UK were asking serious questions about statins and then suddenly the drug companies organise research here, trying to prove a point, but also a bit coincidental. The whole point is, and forgetting research which is not accurate, cholesterol is not the 'cause' of atherosclerosis. Everyone knows that. It's a bit like saying the cause of atheroscerosis is water, so everyone is told to stop drinking water. Instead they have to drink a solution in bottles supplied by a drug company. How much would they make from that?
There isn't just one Doctor, there are many who are questioning why their patients are becoming ill on statins. I've had four lipid tests this year, I only used to have one a year, but I never questioned why my Doctor was insisting on this. Do we turn a blind eye and ignore all the people sick from statins and the memory side effects, do we ignore cholesterol is not the cause of atherosclerosis, and just believe everything the drug companies say? I'm sorry, but I can't just do that.
It just seems that everytime a Doctor makes a noise about the number of patients having side effects, new research pops up and claims the results show it as nonsense. It's all very political and clever.
I put this question to you. Can you point out ANY study to back up what you're saying or do you only have articles and links to anti-statin sites? Is cholesterol the only cause? Of course not, but don't you think some one with an LDL of 75 is better off than an person with an LDL of 200?
For the record, studies have been funded by the NIH to prove links to some of the serious side effects and statin use, none have been conclusive to date. In fact, they are now finding additional uses for statins. It is being recommended that statins be prescribed both before and after invasive surgery due to their ability to control inflammation. Also, they are showing to be very useful in treating pneumonia.
Again, no one should start taking statins without doing the research, its our responsibility as patients. In a recent blind study concerning Simvastatin, the statin control group and the placebo control group were almost identical on the reported sided effects. Why? Because these are common side effects.
Lipitor side effects are listed as 1 in 2200 so it is very rare which has shown Lipitor to be a very safe drug. Just make sure that you are aware of the possible side effects and report them to your doctor so he can help weigh the benefits to the risk. Also, there may be other treatment options as well. Typically, I have my blood work done every 6 months to make sure everything is fine, which it always has been for the past several years.
Let me now if you have other questions and I'll forward what I have.
You keep quoting the wonderful figures given by the drug companies. While I agree it has anti-inflammatory properties, short term use, i.e.before and after surgery could be of use. However, many people with inflammation of the joints through arthritis have complained how it makes them feel a lot worse. So, perhaps it's good with some types of swelling.
Now, when I last had my blood taken for cholesterol tests, I asked my GP two questions.
1. Have you been asked by any research if you have patients with problems related to statins.
2. Do you have to report any such findings to the statin companies or anyone related to them.
3. Are all your patients taking statins with no side effects.
The answer on both counts is no. There are FAR more patients treated by a general practitioner than there are patients in hospitals. It is here where the side effects are most likely to be reported and yet nobody seems to ask them. Not in the UK anyway.
General practitioners don't get invited to the big presentations given by drug companies, only those in top positions in hospitals who are responsible for funding get that privalidge. So, where is the voice for the GP? and the patients who DO suffer?
If a GP attended one of those meetings, and just so happened to mention their 10 patients with side effects, the drug companies would simply swamp them with figures like "oh your 10 are nothing in the millions who take them", but collectively, it worries me there is a much higher figure.
One more comment, there is also a recommendation I read last week where statin therapy is now being researched as a treatment for arthritis as it has been shown that arthritis patients on statins fair better, go figure.
Maybe a coin toss? Actually, I am influenced by the cardiologists I spend time with. I am fortunate to be able to shoot the breeze with them at length and get their opinions which helps direct me where to look for data. I wish I had the answers, unil then I have to stick to fact. If the facts change I may change my opinion.
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