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CBS "news" ran a report tonight about revised guidlines for the use of cholesterol lowering drugs, but they did not spin the story like AP does.

US doctors urge wider use of cholesterol drugs

New guidelines set a lower threshold for using medicines to reduce risk

(AP) The nation's first new guidelines in a decade for preventing heart attacks and strokes call for twice as many Americans — one-third of all adults — to consider taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.


http://healthyliving.msn.com/diseases/heart-and-cardiovascul...

Most statins are now off patent, so profits have shrunk. How timely than new recommendations come out to double the number of people that will be pressured to take the things (take this pill now or die!)

And another case of the government outsourcing the work to private interest groups.

The government's National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute appointed expert panels to write the new guidelines in 2008, but in June said it would leave drafting them to the Heart Association and College of Cardiology. New guidelines on lifestyle and obesity also came out Tuesday, and ones on blood pressure are coming soon.

Roughly half the cholesterol panel members have financial ties to makers of heart drugs,


(same link)

One more data point in government being handed over, in spite of rampant and obvious conflicts of interest.

Steve...investing based on the assumption of corruption
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steve

Maybe 15 or 20 years ago, there was at one one medical researcher who said the Lipitor was so safe it should be added to the drinking water. It raised quite a stink at the time as I remember.

brucedoe
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Maybe 15 or 20 years ago, there was at one one medical researcher who said the Lipitor was so safe it should be added to the drinking water.

The thought in the back of my mind is that, after people have been eating that stuff for 30 years, liver failure is going to be rampant.

Steve
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As an insider, I'm getting a little more cynical everyday. I think this falls under the category of if a little is good then more is better. Not always true.

IMHO, statins can lower total cholesterol but they don't help the HDL (good) or the HDL/LDL ratio. Yes, if you've had a heart attack or have known arterial disease, it is probably a good idea. But to put more people on it as a preventative? I have my doubts.

Heck, my cholesterol is 180-220. But my HDLs are in the 60s. I exercise. No family history of heart disease. (Yes, I have good Viking genes). So there is no need though some would probably suggest otherwise.

Medicine is becoming too cook book. Too many "quality measures" being checked off instead of taking care of the patient.

JLC
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The same could be said about aspirin--for the same reason.
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IMHO, statins can lower total cholesterol but they don't help the HDL (good) or the HDL/LDL ratio. Yes, if you've had a heart attack or have known arterial disease, it is probably a good idea. But to put more people on it as a preventative? I have my doubts.

Heck, my cholesterol is 180-220. But my HDLs are in the 60s. I exercise. No family history of heart disease. (Yes, I have good Viking genes). So there is no need though some would probably suggest otherwise.



My cholesterol is in the 300s (!!). I couldn't tolerate Lipitor, so they put me on Simvastatin, one of the earliest and mildest statins. At least with Simvastatin I wasn't super-sensitive to light and didn't feel like I was losing my sense of smell, but I realized after I had been taking it for several months that I had stopped exercising. I couldn't figure out why. I'd been exercising regularly for 10 years now and really just stopped dead after I started taking the statin.

After Warbac here on TMF pointed me to a study that showed improved outcomes for people who has already had a heart attack or stroke, but no correlation for people with no history, I stopped taking the Simvastatin and, like magic, started exercising again. Psychosomatic? I don't know. But that's what happened.

I went to my internist with this info. He acknowledged there was no strong link between statin use in healthy people and a reduction in primary events (is that what you call them?). I have a complication (patent foramen ovale) and really could not convince either my internist or my cardiologist that the statins were bad for me. Finally, I asked him, "What's better, me taking this 20mg Simvastatin every day, or me exercising daily?" He's giving me another chance with the exercise.
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I stopped taking the Simvastatin and, like magic, started exercising again. Psychosomatic? I don't know.

Possibly psychosomatic. But statins also can have an effect on muscle. Can't recall right now if its a general decrease in muscle mass or a general muscle fatigue. Maybe that's what was going on.

I'd try diet and exercise anyway before starting a statin. And make sure you're not on some crazy diet. I've seen everything from no fat to no carbs to eating only purple stuff. Bottom line, less processed the better. Easiest change to make is drink water instead of cokes or sweet tea. Get a third of your calories from carbs, protein, and fat (make sure its the "good" fat).

Good luck.

JLC
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I found this thread and appreciate it greatly. I known meg it is OT.

This 'study' is a highly corrupt piece of work. Considering how broad based the recommendation would be it is a very dangerous recommendation for many people. The side effects of statins are under estimated in the literature.

As an aside, if you take away the profit motive associated with such a study, we see studies come out one year for such and such a recommendation, and then a few years later a totally different tact is taken by still another study. Back in the 1960s each time my mother was pregnant her doctor gave her different weight advice. One year she was to gain 25 pounds to have a healthy baby, the next time she was to gain three pounds. Each time the studies were totally conclusive. Yeah right.

http://www.medicinenet.com/statins/page2.htm#side%20effects

The industry and researchers are constantly understating how dangerous these drugs are. While most folks will be okay on a statin, those who wont get very very sick. The idea that a panel of doctors and researchers can make broad based recommendations for the public at large is in and of its self very very unethical. Imagine hundreds of thousands of people put on statins by doctors because of one half arsed, but 'ubber conclusive' piece of crap has been published without actually seeing any of those patients in any consulting practice. In other words making recommendations for patients unseen is highly unethical.

I am on metformin currently. Potassium is retained by the body when using metformin. I should very rarely eat a banana. I almost never get cramps in my legs now. I used to need a banana every day prior. I was watching Doctor Oz a week ago. He recommended garcinia cambogia as a weight loss miracle. He recommends over 500 things per year for everybody. Nuts. I read up on garcinia cambogia and found it needs to potassium to work well. At first some might think perfect fit. Well it is not a perfect fit. They make the garcinia cambogia with added potassium generally in the pill. Nuke that idea. So I looked at pills without the added potassium. People kept writing in the comments at the bottom of the offers that the pills did not work for those pills not containing potassium. Finally I came to my senses and thought what if it does not work? Who'd a thunk it? Doctor Oz recommending things that are not miracles? Really? Sheesh.

I have not fully read any articles on the recent recommendation, but early reports were to use statins if you were a diabetic. My brother in law who I will see over Thanksgiving is a specialist in diabetes and obesity. I will bring up the topic with him because of this latest 'finding'. I am in the very early progression of diabetes with blood sugar counts of 126 and 128, literally as low as you can get and be considered a diabetic. My triglycerides are generally high in the 200s, but my cholesterol is low and unfortunately my HDL is low. I am exercising regularly now which will be good for all of that. I am eating the diabetic diet not to lose weight, but to be good to my body. And that is the best medicine.

I want to underline, studies dont see patients in a one on one setting. They may have followed tens of thousands of patients on a one on one basis for years, but they never saw you the patient getting the recommendation. The study in no way has any idea what you actually need as the patient. What is the saying that applies here? There are lies, dam lies and statistics.

Dave
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... studies dont see patients in a one on one setting …

The biggest fault with studies, they don't mimic the real world. The initial phases are often people with only the one disease being treated. Not the usual 3 diseases and 10 meds patient I frequently see.

And I know a little about how studies are written, I worked one summer during med school for a pharm company helping write study protocols.

JLC
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i take my good old trusty lovastatin - the first in class, discovered in red rice yeast, available at most places offering $4 a month or $10 per 3 month generics .... i bet that's not the drug whose companies lobbied for these guidelines!
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