Statins side effects – safe or not?

Statins side effects

statins side effects

Do we really believe the media

When I saw in the media yesterday the statement ‘Statins have virtually no side-effects’ I was prompted to address this untruth – statins side-effects are real.  Scientists at Imperial College conducted a retrospective analysis of 29 RCT studies exploring the associated risks of adverse events when taking statins. They concluded there were no risks other than an increased risk of diabetes (20%)!

Their statement omits to ask the very relevant question, what is the benefit of taking statins in terms of prevention of a cardiovascular episode for those with and those without heart disease?  In simple terms if you don’t have heart disease what are the benefits?

Finegold JA, Manisty CH, Goldacre B, Barron A J, Francis DP What proportion of symptomatic side effects in patients taking statins are genuinely caused by the drug? Systematic review of randomized placebo-controlled trials to aid individual patient choice European Journal of Preventive Cardiology March 12, 2014 View Abstract

Lets look at the Statins benefits argument another way

There is a way of understanding how much modern medicine has to offer individual patients. It is a simple statistical concept called the “Number-Needed-to-Treat”, or for short the ‘NNT’. The NNT offers a measurement of the impact of a medicine or therapy by estimating the number of patients that need to be treated in order to have an impact on one person. The concept is statistical, but intuitive, for we know that not everyone is helped by a medicine or intervention — some benefit, some are harmed, and some are unaffected. The NNT tells us how many of each.

So how many people with known heart disease who took statins for 5 years saw a benefit:

1 in 83 were helped (life saved)
1 in 39 were helped (preventing non-fatal heart attack)
1 in 125 were helped (preventing stroke)
1 in 50 were harmed (develop diabetes)
1 in 10 were harmed (muscle damage)

For those without Heart Disease

None were helped (life saved)
1 in 60 were helped (preventing heart attack)
1 in 268 were helped (preventing stroke)
1 in 50 were harmed (develop diabetes)
1 in 10 were harmed (muscle damage)


Why would this Dr write about the dangers of statins

There are so many cases of circumstantial evidence of the real side-effects of statins that I suggest you read around the subject. Just search on Amazon for Duane Graveline  and you’ll have a very credible account from his books. He is a retired NASA Doctor and his own personal story is well worth the read.

There are other ways to control your cholesterol levels and one of the most popular is to adopt a modified Mediterranean diet – good tasting food and healthy too.

The Mediterranean diet prevented deaths for 1 in 30 heart patients, and heart attacks for 1 in 18. That makes it three times more powerful than a statin drug for heart patients – what should we recommend our population?

By the way I was on statins for 15 years and was medically retired from the armed forces because of joint problems – that may be because of statins – but there is no way of proving it.

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