Seems that latest push for more and more statins… had some flaws

There have been lots and lots of studies over the past decades that prove that statins are effective in changing the cholesterol levels in blood. What’s not at all so clear is whether this actually makes any difference to most patients in helping to reduce death rates from heart disease.

[NY Times]

Risk Calculator for Cholesterol Appears Flawed

Last week, the nation’s leading heart organizations released a sweeping new set of guidelines for lowering cholesterol, along with an online calculator meant to help doctors assess risks and treatment options. But, in a major embarrassment to the health groups, the calculator appears to greatly overestimate risk, so much so that it could mistakenly suggest that millions more people are candidates for statin drugs.

more info at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/18/health/risk-calculator-for-cholesterol-appears-flawed.html

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20 responses to “Seems that latest push for more and more statins… had some flaws

  1. Cholesterol itself is pure junk science. Did you ever notice that they say that lowering your cholesterol MAY reduce your risk for heart disease? MAY means that they are unsure if cholesterol causes heart disease. If they were certain then they would use the word SHALL. The upsurge in Alzheimers disease coincides with the anti- cholestoral craze. Could it be that the brain, which is composed mostly of cholesterol, requires constant replenishment of this substance?

  2. Page Not Found

    We’re sorry, we seem to have lost this page, but we don’t want to lose you.

  3. I’m reminded about the fate of Asclepius, being struck down by Zeus’s thunderbolt as punishment for raising the dead for pay

  4. One would suspect that this will keep people who could benefit from treatment from getting it since anything to do with “Big Pharma” generally gets vilified. Never use anything you can vilify, if it’s appropriate and beneficial. I think the comment on losing the public’s trust is pretty accurate, even if it ends up that people die early because of that lack of trust. Obviously, we do need better oversight on this–how the study and guideline were so messed up needs to be addressed.

    • There is some evidence that statins work, not by reducing cholesterol in the system, but by reducing artery inflammation. The statins also have an anti-inflammatory effect independent of the reduction of cholesterol.

      There is only one statin that had studies to prove that it reduce heart attack risk and that is Pravachol (pravastatin).

      • Lipitor advertises that reduces heart attack risk–which I thought meant that it was proven to do so or the FDA would be on their case?

        • No, what Lipitor proved is that it reduces cholesterol. They tried to prove the heart attack reduction, but the test was suspiciously stopped early while liver complications were on the upswing (The details are in the JunkFoodScience.com archive).

          The issue that Milloy and others take is that the cholesterol/heart attack link (the basis of the preventing heart attack claim) has never been proven outside of the extremes. In short, absurdly bad cholesterol is harmfull, but it hasn’t really been proven that “bad” cholesterol has a meaningful effect on heart attacks.

          • From the FDA website:
            LIPITOR is an inhibitor of HMG-CoA reductase (statin) indicated as an adjunct therapy to diet to:
            Reduce the risk of MI, stroke, evascularization procedures, and angina in patients without CHD, but with multiple risk factors (1.1).

            This would mean that only individuals with multiple risk factors benefit, meaning that high cholesterol alone would not be sufficient reason to prescribe the statin. Diet and exercise would need to be tried first. However, in individuals with multiple risk factors who did not respond to changes in diet and exercise, the drugs appear to have benefit.

            • “This would mean that only individuals with multiple risk factors benefit, meaning that high cholesterol alone would not be sufficient reason to prescribe the statin.”

              Tell that to your life / health insurance company. IF you have over 200 they put you in a high risk category, it doesn’t matter if you are an Olympic athlete. And no your reference doesn’t really say anything about Lipitor reducing heart attacks, because it was never determined. It is only assumed that lower cholesterol will lower heart attacks based on the lipid theory of heart attacks.

              Like I said only company that made Pravochol, actually paid for any studies that determined the heart attack risk was reduced. And it was, but not much.

            • Risk factor of 1.1, isn’t that ever so slightly better than a coin toss?

            • I guess I should have included this:
              FULL PRESCRIBING INFORMATION: CONTENTS*
              1 INDICATIONS AND USAGE
              1.1 Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease
              1.2 Hyperlipidemia
              1.3 Limitations of Use
              2 DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION
              2.1 Hyperlipidemia
              2.2 Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia in Pediatric Patients
              2.3 Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia
              2.4 Concomitant Lipid-Lowering Therapy
              2.5 Dosage in Patients With Renal Impairment
              2.6 Dosage in Patients Taking Cyclosporine, Clarithromycin, Itraconazole, or Certain Protease Inhibitors
              3 DOSAGE FORMS AND STRENGTHS
              4 CONTRAINDICATIONS
              4.1 Active Liver Disease which may include Unexplained Persistent Elevation

              This is what the (1.1) refers to. It’s like a footnote.

      • Damm!!! I been takin’ Lovastatin all this time. My Dr. just loves the numbers I get from it. It is cheap and doesn’t seem to hurt me, but at 75, I’m not counting on a lot more years anyway.

  5. “Reduce the risk of MI”–I believe that means reduce the risk of heart attack. (I can reference the definition of MI if that helps.)

    Your insurance company’s insistence that everyone with cholesterol over 200 go on statins is a problem with the insurance company, not the statins.

  6. http://news.healingwell.com/index.php?p=news1&id=520457
    http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(03)12948-0/abstract?version=printerFriendly
    http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(05)67185-1/abstract
    http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(05)67186-3/abstract
    (Some of these reference Caduet–Avorstatin plus Amlodipine)

    The study you reference appears to apply to preventing strokes and recurrent heart attacks in people with normal cholesterol. I’m not sure how that proves Pravachol prevents heart disease.

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