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Can lowering cholesterol be worse than cholesterol?,
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This review is from: The Great Cholesterol Con: The Truth About What Really Causes Heart Disease and How to Avoid It (Paperback)
If you've somehow managed to sidestep the pressure to go on statins, this book will provide you with justification. Kendrick walks you, step by step, through your own physiology and bio-chemistry, and backs his contentions that cholesterol can not be the cause of heart disease by citing and summarizing published studies that bear this out. The book is technical but highly readable thanks to an easy conversational style (if your high school biology teacher had been Kendrick, you'd have understood everything and gotten an A). If you don't really care about arterial plaques and exactly how they're formed (and exactly how they're not) the take-away message is pretty much this: statins are ineffective for women, especially for women over 50 years old, and for anybody over 70 years old. Further, statistical studies may indicate that lowering cholesterol encourages cancer. Many of the points Kendrick makes here are also borne out in Gary Taubes' excellent "Good Calories, Bad Calories." Both of these books are recommended.
I also feel somewhat compelled to add this: While doctors will tell you they've rarely seen anyone with side effects from statins, among my own circle of middle-aged friends, I know 3 who've had serious problems with their livers, one who had some muscles permanently destroyed, one--a usually energetic tennis player-- who felt, for the few months he took statins, as though he had the flu, and could barely go to work-- and one who was left with ringing in the ears and a facial tic. All of these are listed as side effects of statins, as Kendrick points out.
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Showing 1-10 of 42 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 9, 2008 1:20:21 PM PDT
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2008 4:10:25 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 26, 2008 1:18:47 AM PDT
"Wow! Strange that as a doctor whose prescribed thousands of statins I've never met anyone with these side effects"
That was exactly his point, you proved it.
Do a simple google of "statin fibromyalgia" you'll find hundreds of cases.
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2008 1:32:01 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 10, 2008 5:29:28 AM PDT
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 7, 2008 10:48:00 AM PDT
Elizabeth Stewart says:
Wow! You sound arrogant. If you talk to your patients with such dismissiveness, I bet they aren't telling you about their little side effects because they know you won't listen.
Do you completely discount all the reports of side effects because they're anecdotal? If all those people happened to be in the trial population of that drug before its release, every single thing more than one of them reported as a "side effect" would have to be listed as a possible side effect of the drug when it was released. It wouldn't be anecdotal then, it would be part of a scientific study, but in both cases it's just people saying how they feel. (I think every drug in existence "may cause nausea or dizziness", probably because some people are just nervous about taking the drug.) Personally, if I take a drug I've never taken before, and I experience things that I have never experienced before, when I have changed nothing else about my life, and if those symptoms disappear when I stop taking the drug, I will conclude that most likely the drug was the cause. No, it's not strict science. But I can't do a proper randomized trial with a control set on just myself! I have to make a decision based on the only evidence that I have, which is, what I perceive happened to me. And if I then find that there are other people who claim the same side effects from the same drug, I will seriously suspect that that drug does indeed cause those side effects in at least some people. As a doctor, you are certainly aware that every human body does not respond to everything the same way. Something that causes a serious side effect in me may not bother my neighbor at all.
I would bet that a lot of people do not report what they think are minor side effects to their doctors. Because they don't want to sound like they're whining and complaining about some little thing that will go away. Also, many doctors brush off such complaints, either because they don't believe the patient, or they don't believe the symptom was caused by the drug (deciding the truth in advance isn't very scientific, either), or they just can't be bothered with trying to find out what's going on because the HMO only gives them about seven minutes per patient and they've got to move on. Many doctors don't pay serious attention to reports of side effects, and many patients don't report them anyway, so you can't be sure that the drugs you've prescribed have had no side effects. Your patients may be complaining to their family and friends but not to you. They may just stop taking the drug.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 9, 2008 11:46:32 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 10, 2008 4:37:12 PM PDT
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 7, 2008 3:37:38 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 7, 2008 4:07:30 AM PDT
mr. launter replied:
"Prove his point ? Proof was not involved , certainly not in any remote scientific sense. It may aswell have been the following
Mr Confusticate local Fairyologist: "Doctors will tell you the Easter bunny does not exist, but I know his brother , sister and best friend. I've also recently been delivered a crop of this years eggs"
Doctor " I've never met the Easter bunny and don't believe in him"
Mr Confusticate :Ahhh The Easter bunny must exist!!"
Very funny. Well no, not really, just mildly amusing.
But what you proved with your first comment is not that statins have serious side effects but that "... doctors will tell you they've rarely seen anyone with side effects from statins ..." like the original poster said. In fact when you read through the anecdotal claims, many of the patients complain about how the doctors don't take their side effects or them seriously at all and they have to make the decision to stop taking statins against their doctors recommendations.
This point is very interesting because personally I can't say I know too many people that take statins but those very few I know have complained about side effects like muscular pain, memory loss and mood swings. So why is it that doctors do not seem to hear any of this?
So please tell me, really, is it true? you "...'ve never met anyone with these side effects..."? Or is it that you disregarded their complains and attributed them to aging, normal occurrences or a hyperactive imagination?
Nowadays muscular pain and liver damage are recognized as potential side effects of statins and doctors now warn patients to report if they feel any symptoms. But in the past when people complained about it it was just "anecdotical" evidence.
Seriously, none of your statin patients ever reported side effects to you?
PS. are you saying is not possible to have food poisoning from eating lettuce? because that's the majority of the links I got from "lettuce poisoning" (421,000 google entries)
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 7, 2008 3:59:48 AM PDT
"Do you propose that every minor side effect should be fully investigated, the drug stopped and there to be an overhaul of a huge body of scientific evidence based on Joe Blogs coming in and saying he doesn't want to take the tablets because they make his toes feel funny and they've never felt like that before"
Now THAT was funny.
Of course that's not what she is implying, she is merely addressing your point that you've NEVER met ANYONE with side effects like those and she is trying to find possible explanations.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 7, 2008 4:20:44 AM PDT
"His little story is clearly fabricated, he could have made PR for Mugabe . "
That is a BOLD assertion!
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 9, 2008 1:09:44 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 11, 2008 6:27:29 AM PDT
"Wow! Strange that as a doctor whose prescribed thousands of statins I've never met anyone with these side effects" This was merely tongue in cheek in the same spirit that the reviewer was writing. It was not to be taken literally. Yes , I've seen a few , mainly muscle pains, most settle, especially if you lower the dose. Only very occasionally have they been so bad the patient and I have made a joint decision to stop. Many patients even if you give them a good roasting deny having any side effects. At one time I made a point of ferreting for side effects from patients but didn't really come up with anything that I or the patients found significant. Doctors say they've haven't met many people with serious side effects as generally they find little evidence of there being any both anecdotally and in the literature. It we were to say we need to start taking them more seriously then we're a stones throw from stopping all tablets. Take antibiotics, blood pressure meds, aspirin, anti-inflammatories, codeine ect. I've seen worse side effects and had more patients complain about side effects from all these. Why would they randomly choose statins to complain about less if they weren't well tolerated ? This website and book vastly overstates the anecdotal evidence which is typified by reviews such as the one above which is either ridiculously exaggerated or fabricated. My money would be on a bit of both. Muscle side effects have been known more or less from when simvastatin was first introduced
The point about the lettuce was just that there is lots of anecdotal evidence for most things when it comes to health, especially side effects. In fact I had a great one yesterday. One lady claimed that since being on a higher dose of thyroxine (which if anything makes you lose weight) she had put on 2 stone in weight. She was adamant the thyroxine was causing it and asked me what I was going to do about it. She seemed entirely peeved when I suggested it was unlikely to be the cause. It became especially comical when I found we had taken her weight 2 months previously and so got her on the scales and low and behold she was the same weight!!
"His little story is clearly fabricated, he could have made PR for Mugabe " T&C.
I would love to stop everyones statins, it would do my drug budget the world of good I just haven't seen a decent argument to do so.
The vast majority just seem to be either silly ones like "your doctors a sheep" , "Kendrick is a hero in the pubic eye and a heretic in medicines eye" , "its a corporate conspiracy" , "no such thing as cholesterol level", "no such thing as bad or good cholesterol", "your body needs cholesterol" etc
or half baked research , such as Kendricks 14 countries study that appears to be publicly unavailable to criticize and includes populations with millions of confounding factors such as the Australian Aboriginals.
Not that I think that statins do a massive amount of good, but they do some and are better tolerated then many of the other meds I prescribe. I've just received a copy of Colpos book of the same name which appears vastly superior and better researched so I'll have a read of it but my opinion hasn't really changed throughout.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2008 12:29:26 PM PST
Liz Ellerbe says: