Cholesterol drugs today’s Vitamin C?

July 20, 2010 by
Filed under: Research, Spinewave Bulletin 

The question is: Are cholesterol drugs really useful for disease prevention? Answer: No.

In this article, the authors address the question of “all-cause mortality” and statin use among persons who do not have a history of cardiovascular disease. The current mind set in primary care medicine is that statins (cholesterol drugs) are this generation’s Vitamin C: “It cures what ails ya”.

The direct-to-consumer ads quickly gloss over the idea that statins are, by their own data, useful in the presence of certain risk factors, but the impression that is left and the attitude assumed by many physicians is why wait for the symptoms, let’s use these things now and we will never get to the symptom level. In the words of the study, “Our objective was to reliably determine if statin therapy reduces all-cause mortality among intermediate to high-risk individuals without a history of cardiovascular disease.”

Again, in their words from the Data Synthesis portion of the abstract: “Data were available on 65,229 participants followed for approximately 244,000 person-years, during which 2,793 deaths occurred. The use of statins in this high-risk primary prevention setting was not associated with a statistically significant reduction (risk ratio, 0.91; 95% confidence interval, 0.83-1.01) in the risk of all-cause mortality.”

“Conclusion: This literature-based meta-analysis did not find evidence for the benefit of statin therapy on all-cause mortality in a high-risk primary prevention set-up.”

So does the risk of side effects, long term, outweigh the benefits? Always have a thorough understanding of what you’re putting through your lips. Download this PDF on useful links to understanding cholesterol drugs.

Reference: Ray, K. et al., Statins and All-Cause Mortality in High-Risk Primary Prevention. Archives of Internal Medicine, 2010. Vol. 170 No. 12.

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