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Tuesday 24 February 2015

The Dangers of Statin Drugs

Statin drugs are the most widely prescribed drugs in the UK, and indeed throughout the parts of the world dominated by conventional, drug-vaccine based medicine. They are supposed to lower the levels of cholesterol in the blood which drug companies have long considered to be a major cause of heart disease. 

Initially, we were told that all cholesterol was bad, and needed to be reduced. Then we were told that there is a 'good' and a 'bad' cholesterol. Now, increasing evidence seems to indicate that cholesterol, even 'bad' cholesterol, is not only necessary to our health, but beneficial. This evidence has been put together on 'The Cholesterol Truth' website.

For decades the conventional medical establishment have told us that Statins are entirely safe, that even healthy people should take them as a 'preventative' measure, even that they should be added to our water supply!

This is tremendous promotional material for the Big Pharma companies, and it has led to enormous profits for them. But these profits have been made to the detriment of the health of those people who have taken them.

There are many types and brands of Statin drugs, but they all work in much the same way. These are some of the more common names under which these drugs are sold to us.

Altoprev, Lovastatin, Crestor, Rosuvastatin, Lescol, Fluvastatin, Lipitor, Atorvastatin, Livalo,         Pitavastatin, Mevacor, Pravachol, Pravastatin, Zocor, Simvastatin, Advicor, Simcor, Vytorin.

The History of the Drug
Statins have been the wonder drug of wonder drugs in recent times, the anti-cholesterol drugs prescribed now to over 2.5 million patients in the UK alone. We have been repeatedly told that this miracle drug could significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, and that they are entiresy safe and 'well tolerated'.

The discovery of the effects of statin compounds led to the first experimental 'cholesterol inhibitor' drug in the 1970s, Lovastatin. Testing this drug in the 1980s showed it to be effective in reducing cholesterol levels in volunteers, leading to the drug companies making a link between cholesterold and heart disease, and then selling Statins to reduce heart disease.

Until recently, guidelines from NICE recommended that anyone with a 20% risk of cardiovascular disease over the next ten years should be eligible for them, which means the number of people on Statins soared to more than five million within a few years. The Department of Health somehow estimated that Statins were saving 9,700 lives every year! More recently, NICE have recommened that even more people, those with a 10% risk of heart disease, should be prescribed the drugs.

Indeed, until 2009-10 the main criticism about Statins was that they were not prescribed on a sufficient scale, and this argument was raised in a Guardian article (Sarah Boseley, 22 May 2006) which begins 

          "Virtually all middle-aged men and older women should be taking statins, the cholesterol-lowering drugs, if Britain is to have any real success in preventing heart attacks and strokes, experts say today"

The cost of the drugs was one concern in making this recommendation, with Statins costing on average £152.52 a year per patient, with the NHS bill for Statins being some £769m in 2004 alone.

Yet even at that time the dangers of Statins were beginning to emerge. A Daily Mail article (Jerome Burne, Daily Mail, 27 June 2006) referred to an article in the British Medical Journal, in which Swedish physician and cholesterol expert Dr Uffe Ravnskov claimed that too little is known about the side effects of taking statins at higher doses. The article claimed that there was a possibility of mental and neurological problems such as severe irritability and memory loss, and muscle weakness (myopathy), which can make walking difficult, cause aches and pains, and in rare cases leads to total muscle cell breakdown, and kidney failure. 

Yet the same article quotes one medical professor saying "there is almost universal benefit from statins for men over 55, regardless of their cholesterol level, and also for women over 60" . What this demonstrates is that ConMed is prepared to ignore warning signs about its drugs until the evidence is significant, and unavoidable. In other words, ConMed drugs are safe until proven otherwise!

On 15th January 2007, the Daily Mail published an article by Jenny Hope 'Do Statins raise the risk of Parkinsons'. The article referred to a study undertaken in the USA by Dr Xuemei Huang, of the University of North Carolina that found patients with low levels of LDL cholesterol (something Statins are designed to lower) are three times more likely to have Parkinson's disease. The article stated that researchers were planning larger scale trials to determine whether Statins were the cause. 

This is the route through which most drugs pass. Small research projects announce cautious findings, and these are refuted by the conventional medical establishment. Then, as time passes, further evidence makes such denial increasingly difficult.

Certainly, official figures, reported in the 2006 Daily Mail article, showed that the number of reported side effects and deaths linked with Statins had increased significantly. In 2005, deaths linked to Statins for the past 18 years was thought to be 92, with 7,000 reports of adverse reactions. Yet the annual figures released by the MHRA indicated 38 deaths, with 1,337 reported side effects.

Then, in 2009, research from the Iowa State university suggested that Statins, and other cholesterol lowering drugs, could cause a decrease in brain function. Yeon-Kyun Shin, who conducted the research, said 

          "If you deprive cholesterol from the brain, then you directly affect the machinery that triggers the release of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters affect the data-processing and memory functions. In other words - how smart you are and how well you remember things" 

One of the biggest studies of Statin drugs, (American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs 2008;8(6): 373-418) was reported in Mercola on 22nd February 2009. It described the study as "the most complete picture to date of reported side effects of statins, involving nearly 900 studies, and it gives powerful evidence of 'statin-induced injury' to the functioning of the body's energy-producing cells, called mitochondria". This, the study suggested it is underlying many of the 'adverse reactions' that occur to patients taking statin drugs.

Elsewhere I have described how conventional medical drugs have a life history that takes them from birth to death. Statins were now emerging from their 'childhood' stage, when they were considered to be safe and effective, and moving towards 'adolescence' - the stage when there is increasing evidence against the drug, but as yet the evidence is not accepted by the conventional medical authorities. An adolescent drug was once thought to be 'safe' and 'effective' but is proving to be neither! So guidelines begin to be tightened. Doctors are told that cholesterol levels, and levels of enzymes indicating if there are liver or muscle problems, should be checked before prescribing the drug, and periodically thereafter.

The need for Statin drugs had always been argued on the basis of the harmful effect of cholesterol levels within the body. This, in itself, should have raised two questions. First, was diet not be a better alternative to drugs? And second, should there have been a proper debate about whether cholesterol levels really were significant in the creation of heart disease.

What needs to be remembered is that several Statin drugs have already been withdrawn from the market.

      Mevastatin (Compactin) was never marketed because testing demonstrated in the late 1970's showed it had adverse effects of tumours, muscle deterioration, and sometimes death in laboratory dogs (Wikipedia).

      In 2001, Baycol (Cerivastatin) caused muscle damage so severe and widespread, and killed several hundred patients, that it was 'quietly' withdrawn.

Yet still massive numbers of patients were still being prescribed similar drug, and patients are not being told this information.  Dr Mercola reported on 19th February 2009 (quoting a study in the Journal of American Medical Association 2009; 301: 261-2) that doctors were discovering the dangers, and the ineffectiveness of Zocor, or simvastatin. 

Zocor (Simvastatin) has been one of the most widely used Statin drugs in the world over the past 20 years, but the report said "heart specialists are looking for better alternatives after discovering high-dose simvastatin can cause muscle weakness, or myopathy".  

In 2008 the FDA, America s drug regulator, warned that Simvastatin could lead to fatal kidney failure, especially if it is used with another drug, amiodarone .

Yet massive numbers of patients in Britain, Europe, the USA, and elsewhere, are still being prescribed Statin drugs, on the basis that they are 'well tolerated' and safe!

Known side-effects (DIEs)
The conventional medical establishment have long down-played the seriousness of Statin drugs, and they contine to do so, despite the growing evidence that these drugs are dangerous. For instance, this is a typical explanation of the 'side-effects' of Statins, taken from the British Heart Foundation website.

"Like all medication, statins have potential side effects. The most common are muscular aches and pains, but many people experience none at all. Statins are among the safest and the most studied medications available today.

This is a total deceptive and dishonest description of the damage these drugs are known to cause. The full enormity of the damage this drug is causing to patients now seems to be emerging.

In 2010, a Nottingham university study was published in the British Medical Journal, and reported here in Reuters. It found that people taking Statin drugs have a higher risk of liver dysfunction, kidney failure, muscle weakness and cataracts. The study was a large one, covering over 2 million people in Britain, but the author's of the report were reported as saying that the study was unlikely to affect of Statin drugs!

The link between Statin drugs and Diabetes is also strong. Diabetes is now at epidemic levels, and is usually dismissed as being the result of what we eat. But Statin drugs appear to play a significant role in this too.

Memory loss, confusion and dementia are now also linked to Statin drugs. The FDA, (US drug regulator) states on its website, dated 20th January 2015,  that "it has been been investigating reports of coagnitive impairment from statin use for several years" and that "the agency has reviewed databases that record reports of bad reactions to drugs and statin clinical trials that included assessments of cognitive function.
The FDA report talks about memory loss, forgetfulness and confusion that "span all statin products and all age groups"

Statins have been called the greatest medical fraud of all time, and perhaps in time this is how they will be recognised, and the conventional medical establishment will see itself able to tell patients, honestly and truthfully, about the DIEs of Statin drugs. However, despite all this evidence, it will still probably be a long time before the conventional medical estaboishment has the honesty, based on the scientific information available to it, to withdraw and ban the drug.