Side Effects of Statins Worth the Cholesterol Reduction?

We’ve been brainwashed to believe that cholesterol = heart disease and thus statins like Lipitor are the answer. But what about the side effects of statins?

I’ll admit it. I’m no fan of the statin class of drugs to lower cholesterol (collective gasp!).

What I will further admit is that I remain absolutely stumped as to why this class of drugs even exists.  There are times that I seem to be the sole dissenter and that mainstream medicine puts them in cereal boxes and has them in the candy dish next to the sign in sheet in the office.

Trust me–I’ve looked at the data. Again and again and again. But I just don’t see it.

This particular study should, yet again, put things into perspective. Given the recent concerns that the statin class of drugs increases the risk of diabetes, researchers looked at the risk / benefit of statins with the risk of diabetes in mind.

Here’s what they determined:

  • In those with 1+ risk factors for diabetes, statins gave a 39% reduction in a cardiovascular event
  • A 17% reduction in dying
  • A 28% increase in diabetes

Putting this into perspective, this resulted in:

  • 134 vascular events or deaths avoided
  • 54 new cases of diabetes diagnosed

Keep in mind that, in the Jupiter trial that was reviewed here, almost 2/3 participants were already at risk for diabetes.   However, the researchers did NOT include those with an HDL : triglyceride ratio > 3, which may have sent the number of participants at risk much higher.

The percentage numbers above are relative numbers, not absolute reductions because the absolute numbers are not so fantastic.

So, following the absolute numbers of statin effectiveness, we treat 1,000 people for 5 years and we have 11 less cardiac events, but about 4.5 new cases of diabetes (who will likely later die of cardiovascular-related complications).

This is considered good medicine and is the best that cardiology has to offer for “prevention.”

Prevention is no way, shape or form should increase the risk of ANYTHING. In contrast, true preventative measures would cut across disease labels to lower the risk for EVERYTHING.

To offer a drug…worse–to spend tens of billions of dollars annually–that has such a paltry effect at preventing something while almost half the numbers “saved” will get another dangerous diagnosis is just plain ludicrous to me.

But maybe I’m just overly sensitive.

So what have you done to successfully lower your cholesterol?

James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.