Statins for all – let joy be unconfined!

Or not…

Ah, statins – snake-oil for the 21st century. Not too long ago new uses for, and new problems with, statins were being flagged, it seemed, almost weekly. Now they’re for everyone. Seriously?

According to Pulse**, NICE have decided that everyone older than a foetus needs statins. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but not by much (and give them time – they’ll get there!). The Pulse article says :-

“The guidelines on lipid modification – put out for consultation today – recommend GPs start patients on high-intensity statin treatment if they have a 10% or more risk of CVD in the next 10 years, rather than the previous target of 20%.”

**You might need an account to access this article.

CVD = cardiovascular disease.

The comment from Nicola Hambridge demonstrates what little value this is going to have. And as Anonymous | 12 February 2014 8:58am points out, out of 140 patients on this new regimen, it would, statistically, benefit just one.

Is that a good use of financial resources (statins aren’t particularly cheap)? And does it justify subjecting patients to the risks of taking statins  for such meagre benefits?** I don’t think so.

**a 1 in 140 chance of benefiting, while the risk of serious side effects is 2 or 3 in 100 – not great odds.

And they are not for me. Tried them, got excruciating, disabling, muscle pain (Rhabdomyolysis probably but my GP couldn’t be arsed investigating, he just bitched and whined because I refused to take any more).

And I never will again, especially as I currently have a selection of conditions, one of which is likely to kill me before my “slightly high but not a worry,” according to my former cardiologist, cholesterol becomes a problem. If, of course, it ever does.

And if you want to see the full horror of statins, go to drugs.com and look up Atorvastatin, the statin favoured by NICE for this programme, with particular attention paid to the side effects and interactions.

By the way, for those who sometimes question my knowledge of the medical matters I write about in this blog, a few years ago the editor of Pulse emailed “Doctor Graves” and asked for my practise details as he wanted to publish some of my comments in the print version of the mag.

I had to confess that I wasn’t a doctor, and did that mean I was going to be dumped off  the online mag? He said no, as long as the quality of my input remained high there’d be no problem.

My point? Simply that I do know what I’m talking about, and what I don’t know, I research, assiduously. The Blog with Integrity badge in my sidebar isn’t there for fun – I take it very seriously.

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18 thoughts on “Statins for all – let joy be unconfined!

  1. i fail to see,that if a persons levels are normal and stay so, why you,i,or anyone ,should need to take Statins. Mine is exactly the same now as when i was in hospital 6 n half years ago….4.6. Ok it could be lower but they are below the recommended 5. therefore i see no reason why i should take yet another tablet that may/may not do me more harm. i’m already taking some that i cant do without now. i do not need more. just to put more money in the pharmaceutical companies pockets. what amount in backhanders was given to/by NICE and those who produce these meds i wonder? i use Benecol, and try to do what i am supposed to do. have lost weight… was 12st 9lbs when i came out of hospital, having stopped smoking, went up to 14st 1lb. then gradually have gone down to 12stone over the last 5 years.there’s at least 3 reasons there why my cholesterol levels should not go up. they c an keep their atatins and put them where monkeys (probably wont) stick their nuts (even monkeys have their principles.lol)

  2. I’m on Atorvastatin and have been for a few years. I think I will come off them as well but will have a chat with my doctor and let him know how I feel about them.
    Thanks for that Ron, I’ve been seeing stuff about Statins over the last few months which have had me a bit worried, so I’m going with my gut and your sensible research to stop taking them.

    • I’m flattered, Jay, but if you have high cholesterol and no statin side effects, you need to think carefully about stopping.

      It’s probably fair to say that statins do work for most people, without major problems, but feeding them to the population as a whole, which is what this amounts to, is going to expose a whole lot more people to the more dangerous side effects, like Rhabdomyolyis, and kidney or liver failure, for very little benefit, and most of them aren’t going to have the knowledge to identify what’s going on. Mind you, that’s probably true already.

  3. Statins, of absolutely no use to women at all. They do not work. NICE may already have removed that part of the evidence in their “rethink” At the last “rethink” they removed that gem of truth from the prescribing literature.

    …if you have to take them, please insist that your GP runs a full liver function blood test every three months.

  4. As it will son be compulsory for all to take statins I intend to sell my Greggs shares and invest in drug companies.
    Pills not Pies will be my mantra.

    • how the heck are they going to make it compulsory? are they going to stand over you with body builders holding your arms and legs while they push the pills down your throat? only thing they can do is prescribe them but they cant make you take them/ more wasted NHS money. its like diabetes now. in the past the norm for a fasting blood sugar was 10. now its 7. (some say…..others still say 10 and only this week ive been told by another diabetic they have been told its 3.5 to 5.5…no wonder diabetics are so confused). After an episode where my fasting bloods went up a lot due to taking 4 successive lots of steroids in as many months, for different reasons, only one of which was a proper chest infection my fasting bloods are now back down to between 5.7 and 7.2. and after it being treated by diet alone for around 2 years, im now told that because they cant/dont know what my bloods are doing the rest of the time i need to go on metformin. i told my doc, that of course they dont know. cos they dont/wont give us type 2 diabetics access to test strips so they CAN find out, contrary to what NICE recommends. we have to buy what we do use ourselves.cant afford to buy enough to test several times a day. so we have no option but to go on these meds. big pharma again, you can bet your bottom dollar. i am thinking of asking to see a diabetic specialist about this to be honest. i cannot see why ,just because steroids put it up, i have to go on these things permanently. i appreciate that it can get worse. as i get older, but at the moment it isnt. cant you tell im a bit peed off right now????..as for statins,ive said it before and ill say it again. my cholesterol level is 4.6. has been there for over 6 years and no change. up or down. i do not want nor need them. have enough side effects as it is from other meds without the ones from them again.

  5. sorry Ron. think ive reached a stage now where i dont recognise those sorts of jokes as jokes. i believe this government is capable of anything now, so anything is possible.

    • Well, I assumed it was a joke – who knows? But there is definitely no element of compulsion. Though I suspect my GP would be happy if there was.

      • actually what WAS said was……..”As it will soon be compulsory for all to take statins………….etc so it DIDN’T actually say it already was .but that it was going to happen ( meaning i suppose,…in his opinion). but like you our docs are trying to push their patients onto them just because/ in case of etc etc. my daughter being one of them.she has resisted so far but i have advised her to find out what her cholesterol levels are first.before dismissing them out of hand as she doesnt know.. shes a big girl of around 20stone. so possibly her levels WILL be up I would expect.

        • Well, as I said, it was a joke. There isn’t, nor can there ever be, any element of compulsion for the patient. There couldn’t possibly be because it could never work.

          GP’s, on the other hand, will be pretty much forced to try and persuade patients that this is a good idea.

          Having said that, the GP’s themselves mostly think the idea is garbage (I subscribe to the GP’s magazine, Pulse, have done for years. As well as being a good source of information it provides a useful insight into what GPs are thinking). And what they are mostly thinking about this is that they want no part of it.

          GPs, more than anyone else, know how dangerous statins can be (except for mine, apparently!), and they know that doubling the number of people who take them (which is what NICE are trying to do), will ramp up the number of people developing dangerous side effects, like Rhabdomyolysis and kidney and liver failure. And, of course, the more people who take them, the higher the risk of previously unsuspected adverse reactions appearing.

          The main problem as GPs see it is time – the time taken to try to persuade patients in the first place (though there will always be those who’ll take any damn thing a doctor suggests), and the time it’s going to take dealing with their problems further down the line.

          Unless NICE back down, and they might as it’s still at the consultation stage, this can, potentially, crash the GP system, as they simply don’t have the resources to handle it.

          The best way of dealing with high cholesterol is through diet and lifestyle changes, and for that GPs need do little more than hand out an information sheet. It also has the benefit that it won’t kill anyone or leave them needing multiple transplants.

          For me, a diet high in oats and soya products brought mine down very nicely. True, it was dull, but it worked and it was cheap.

          • oh gosh. wish i could eat oats..at least in the form of porridge. i love it. but it does tend to push my blood sugars up i have discovered. even when mde from skimmed milk or water. and sweetener rather than sugar. im not keen on soya stuff though.at least the soya foods ive tried so far.

  6. The compulsion will come from GPs in the form of emotional blackmail. GPs will be paid handsomely for putting more people on these awful drugs.

    • Not from what I’ve read, Lucy. GPs think it’s a crock, will eat up a massive amount of time trying to persuade healthy patients to take statins when the actual benefits are minimal. The only people who think it’s a good idea are NICE.

      Oh, and there’s no money in it.

  7. Dear Hugosmum70, Many a true word is spoken in jest:-) Being new to this site I did not realise that one must be at all times serious.
    My GP jokingly says that one cardiologist at the local hospital would like to add statins to the water supply.

    • Hmm . . . As the, erm, proprietor, I can assure you that being serious is not a prerequisite. It can, though, in Hugo’s Mum’s defence, often be hard to tell when someone is joking. I assumed you were, though I wasn’t certain.

      Ron.

  8. sorry. as someone who,in the last 6 years has been subject to a lot of changes in her life, mostly medical,(including a fight to get statins stopped after mistakes were made in diagnosis)..the diagnosis thing is still going on now ..did i or did i not have a heart attack 6 yrs ago… was told not initially. but now they are trying to tell me i had,. yet not one of the docs saying this is trying to make ME take any of the drugs i was on in the beginning including statins, yet are on at my daughter to do so who has never had anything that suggests she could have one,. why? (not asking anyone on here as no one can read the minds of drs they dont know..probably cant read the minds of docs they DO know either come to that.)) i find it very hard to joke about things that i find hard to see a funny side to. i have been told more than once that i am far too serious at times. but as Ron said, it is hard to see a joke in someones status sometimes.(have joked myself in the past believe it or not and got told off by others who didnt/couldnt see the joke….no excuse for my doing it though i agree.). i apologise for taking your joke too seriously Edward..but wont promise it wont happen again. cos i cant promise that. if i dont see it i dont see it. simples.

    • In 1996 I was admitted to APH with a coronary. GP was in no doubt, nor ambulance crew, nor admitting doc in A&E.

      In the coronary ward for a fortnight, at which point I was told it was angina and sent home!

      Two things suggest that’s garbage – no-one gets two weeks in hospital for angina, and it took me 6 months to recover. That doesn’t happen with angina – when it’s over it’s over, you might feel tired, you don’t need hospital.

      Just as in 2011 I was diagnosed with heart failure in APH, which was later confirmed by a cardiologist (also APH), following up after an echocardiogram where they found a calcified and stenotic aortic valve, and from which (the heart failure component), they’ve since tried to backtrack.

      And APH wonder why I think they are a bunch of incompetent morons who couldn’t find their own arse with both hands and a flashlight!

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