New Statin Warnings

      172 Comments on New Statin Warnings

Better late than never.  The FDA is finally admitting there are problems with statins:

Federal health officials on Tuesday added new safety alerts to the prescribing information for statins, the cholesterol-reducing medications that are among the most widely prescribed drugs in the world, citing rare risks of memory loss, diabetes and muscle pain.

It is the first time that the Food and Drug Administration has officially linked statin use with cognitive problems like forgetfulness and confusion, although some patients have reported such problems for years.

I guess now that the patent is expiring on Lipitor, the FDA suddenly realized those problems people have been reporting for years deserve some attention.  But hey, let’s not panic and stop taking these marvelous drugs just yet, folks:

But federal officials and some medical experts said the new alerts should not scare people away from statins. “The value of statins in preventing heart disease has been clearly established,” said Dr. Amy G. Egan, deputy director for safety in the F.D.A.’s division of metabolism and endocrinology products. “Their benefit is indisputable, but they need to be taken with care and knowledge of their side effects.”

Diabetes patients and even those who develop diabetes while taking statins should continue taking the medicines, said Dr. Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, who has studied the medicines extensively.

“These are not major issues, and they really do not alter the decision-making process with regard to statins,” Dr. Nissen said.

I see … so developing diabetes isn’t a major issue now – certainly not a big enough issue to stop giving statins to women, the elderly, men without any pre-existing heart disease, or any of the other groups who haven’t actually been shown to benefit from them.  After all, those side effects are rare.

And how do we know the side effects are rare?  Because the medical literature says so, that’s how.  Surely any study that appears in the pages of a respected medical journal has been carefully vetted for accuracy and unbiased conclusions, right?

Hardly.  The video below is of a lecture by Beatrice Golomb, an associate professor of medicine at the University of California-San Diego, on how pharmaceutical companies have corrupted medical science.  I urge you to watch the entire 20 minutes:

What she describes in her presentation is very similar to what I read in a terrific book titled Anatomy of an Epidemic, which recounts what’s happened to mental health in America since all those lovely psychiatric drugs were introduced years ago.  (Hint:  rates of mental illness haven’t improved.  Quite the opposite.)  The author, Robert Whitaker, devotes an entire chapter to how pharmaceutical companies manipulate studies to exaggerate the supposed  benefits and minimize the incidence of side effects.  As just one example, researchers will try putting prospective subjects on a drug before the official study begins. Those who have negative reactions are excluded.  Well, duh … if you bump the people who exhibit side effects ahead of time, you’ll almost certainly be able to report few side effects at the end of the study.

I sincerely doubt the side effects of statins are as rare as we’ve been told.  Back in 2008, the Wall Street Journal ran an article suggesting that statins might not be so great for the brain.  Here’s a quote:

“This drug [Lipitor] makes women stupid,” Orli Etingin, vice chairman of medicine at New York Presbyterian Hospital, declared at a recent luncheon discussion sponsored by Project A.L.S. to raise awareness of gender issues and the brain. Dr. Etingin, who is also founder and director of the Iris Cantor Women’s Health Center in New York, told of a typical patient in her 40s, unable to concentrate or recall words. Tests found nothing amiss, but when the woman stopped taking Lipitor, the symptoms vanished. When she resumed taking Lipitor, they returned.

“I’ve seen this in maybe two dozen patients,” Dr. Etingin said later, adding that they did better on other statins. “This is just observational, of course. We really need more studies, particularly on cognitive effects and women.”

Now … if one doctor has seen memory problems in two dozen women, how rare can that side effect be?

Dr. Etingin at least noticed the connection.  Many doctors don’t.  When elderly people complain of muscle pain or memory loss, doctors often write it off as the usual complaints of old age.  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my mom had frequent muscle pains while taking statins, but her doctor never made the connection.  I did.

Here’s more from the Wall Street Journal article:

Thinking and memory problems are difficult to quantify, and easy for doctors to dismiss. Many people who take statins are elderly and have other conditions and medications that could have cognitive side effects.

Still, the chronology can be very telling, says Gayatri Devi, an associate professor of neurology and psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine, who says she’s seen at least six patients whose memory problems were traceable to statins in 12 years of practice. “The changes started to occur within six weeks of starting the statin, and the cognitive abilities returned very quickly when they went off,” says Dr. Devi. “It’s just a handful of patients, but for them, it made a huge difference.”

Six patients in 12 years isn’t a staggering number.  But Dr. Devi probably noticed those cases because the cognitive problems showed up so quickly, then faded quickly when patients stopped taking statins.  What about people who don’t suffer mental problems immediately?  Could statins cause a long, slow decline in other people that doctors don’t attribute to the drugs?

I certainly think so, based on personal experience.  The picture below is of me visiting my dad at Christmas.  He’s 77 years old and hasn’t recognized me in two years now.   He no longer knows who my mom is and can’t form a sentence.  I still visit him when I’m home for holidays because he’s my dad, I love him, and even though it pains me, I want to see his face.  But the brilliant man with the razor-sharp wit who I knew as Dad has been fading away for almost a decade, as I recounted in a post about Thanksgiving a couple of years ago.  That was the last time he was able to carry on a conversation (sort of) with me.

The brain is made largely of cholesterol, with much of it in the synapses that transmit nerve impulses.  My dad beat his cholesterol down with Lipitor for 20 years.   I can’t prove Lipitor caused the damage to his brain, but while he was still in his 60s, he experienced a couple of day-long episodes of profound confusion remarkably similar to those described by Dr. Duane Graveline in his book Lipitor: Thief of Memory.

Dad started driving erratically in his late 60s, stopped reading books (he’d always been a voracious reader) and became befuddled over simple tasks like using a TV remote.  I took him to see the movie “W” nearly four years ago, and in talking about it afterwards, I realized Dad thought there had been three Presidents from the Bush family.  I asked him if he remembered a guy named Bill Clinton.  He didn’t.

By the time I read Dr. Graveline’s work and made the connection, my dad was in rapid decline.  My mom stopped giving him the Lipitor, which caused my dad’s cardiologist to go berserk and try bullying her.  After all, he no doubt read in medical journals how rare the side effects are for these wonderful drugs.  I offered to fly home from California and shove several pages of research up his colon, but my mom declined.  In one of his rare lucid moments at the time, Dad told my mom he’d rather die of a heart attack than succumb slowly to Alzheimer’s.

When my dad first became confused while still in his 60s, none of the doctors who examined him had a clue what was going on.  Nobody suggested the Lipitor he was taking may be part of the problem.  Perhaps if the FDA had required warnings back then about possible memory loss, someone would have made the connection.  Maybe that would have made a difference, maybe not.  We’ll never know.

Now we’ll see if those warnings have any effect on the statin-pushing doctors.


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172 thoughts on “New Statin Warnings

  1. Bob Parker

    I don’t remember what brand of statin I was put on but 100% of me experienced mental confusion and I had 2 different leg muscles tear with minor exertion. They happened about 1 month apart after being on the crap for about 9 months. I discarded them then and have not taken them since.

    Another case of those “rare” side effects.

    Reply
  2. labrat

    You zeroed in on the exact same Nissan quote that I did when I read that article. Who cares what other medical issues you may have as long as you don’t have the dreaded MI? Apparently you are only healthy if you avoid one.

    Note – even in the rosiest of studies people taking statins with nice low cholesterol levels stiil have MI’s – just not as many. It would really suck to be an achy diabetic with an MI – unless of course you lose your mind – then you can’t remember the bad advice you received.

    On the risk vs. reward scale, statins just don’t make sense.

    Reply
  3. Marc Sitkin

    I’m sorry to hear about your dad. I wonder what is in store for mine.

    Maybe you comment on the popular comments that Dr’s are “following guidance and are legally culpable” if they do not prescribe statins. To me, this smacks of an “Urban Myth”.

    Who issues the guidance, and what enforcement mechanism is in play?
    How could private medical records be audited to find out?
    Have any Dr’s been successfully sued for not prescribing statins?

    How long until Dr’s are successfully sued for prescribing statins?

    Is “Statin” a misspelling of “Satan”?

    I haven’t heard about any doctors being sued for not prescribing statins.

    Reply
  4. DaiViet

    The perfect storm for alzheimer, dementia, and killing off your brain:

    1. Statins to interfere with cholesterol production in the brain. Result? There goes your myelin sheet around your axons. No more reliable transmission of neural signals.

    2. Insulin insensitivity in the brain, brought on by high carb LOW fat diet. Strong evidence linking beta amyloid plaque formation to the insulin signalling process being put on overdrive in the brain, and the brain not getting enough essential fatty acids that it needs.

    My dad got caught in that storm.

    Reply
  5. Judy B

    So, so sorry about your Dad! I went through a lot if the same things with my Dad, but the dementia was not so prolonged.
    Wishing you well on your trip and speech, hopefully the truth will come out fully some day…

    Thank you.

    Reply
  6. Janknitz

    “clearly established value” of and “undisputed benefit’ of Statins

    The clearly established value and undisputed benefit of statins is to the stockholders of the companies making these drugs, not to the poor suckers who take them!

    Tom, I went through AD with my grandmother and my mother. It’s a terrible, terrible disease. More and more studies point to insulin issues and “Diabetes Type III” as the cause of dementias, so by spreading the word about low carb you may be saving hundreds or perhaps thousands of people this heartache. I hope you can take some comfort in that.

    That’s my hope. What I wouldn’t give for a time machine. First thing I’d do is go back to the 1970s and convince my parents to stop eating Egg Beaters and margarine, then convince my dad to never, ever start taking the Lipitor.

    Reply
  7. Brian

    That is a touching story about your father, and it’s terrible to think it may have been caused by a drug he never needed to take. I’m angry and sad all at once.

    You can imagine how angry and sad I am about it.

    Reply
  8. LaurieLM

    No one benefits medically from statins. Blood tests for Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), triglycerides and HDL are tests that might have some value- especially HbA1c.
    “Heart 411” by Drs Gillinov and Nissen of the prestigious Cleveland Clinic is a 550 page tome. There are a puny 3 pages that mention insulin, pages 22, 27 and 72. This is a travesty. They haven’t given any one useful information in 550 pages. Carbohydrates, sugars, grains and Lipitor cause Congestive Heart Failure. It does not prevent heart attacks in anyone when the absolute results are considered instead of the ‘relative’ test data. 100 people have to consume toxic, deadly, expensive Lipitor for 5 years for one extra person (2 instead of 1) to avoid a NON-FATAL heart attack.

    Exactly. Dr. Nissen is a shill for statin-makers and should be ignored with extreme prejudice.

    Reply
  9. Nina

    Aw Tom I’m so sorry. So frustrating to see a loved one slipping away and to suspect strongly that a prescription drug is the cause.

    I believe my mum may have succumbed to leukemia as a result of long term Fosamax prescription (for osteoporosis).

    Nina

    Sorry to hear that.

    Reply
  10. Gina

    I’m so sorry for the problems with your dad. That must be very difficult to deal with. A couple of things you said about him really hit home with me.

    In one of his rare lucid moments at the time, Dad told my mom he’d rather die of a heart attack than succumb slowly to Alzheimer’s.

    I totally agree with this statement. I am diabetic, and I would so much rather die quickly of a heart attack than have a long, drawn out death following diabetic complications. And yet, amazingly enough, every endocrinologist I have ever been to seems far more concerned about my cardiac health than about my blood sugar levels. They tell me my LCHF diet is going to clog up my arteries and destroy my heart, yet barely say a word about the fact that my blood sugar is under amazing control now to the point where I’m off all of my diabetes meds. They keep pushing statins, and I keep refusing.

    And the reason I keep refusing? Simvastatin completely destroyed my short-term memory. I was only in my late 30s/early 40s when I was on it, and yet I got to the point where I would stand up to go do something, and by the time I was on my feet I would have totally forgotten what I got up to do. It was insane. When I tell my doctors this, all they do is suggest another statin that is supposed to have less impact on memory because it’s absorbed a different way or something, I don’t even know. They refuse to listen to what I’m saying because they’re blinded by this cholesterol crap. So I just smile and nod and then never get the prescription filled. Ugh.

    I hope your memory issues are all gone now.

    Reply
  11. Danny

    Out of curiosity, how does this jive with your stance as a libertarian? I play devil’s advocate pretty frequently with a libertarian friend who feels certain things shouldn’t be left to the free market (emergency services, baseline healthcare, funding for scientific research…), but does seeing the FDA’s poor performance make you think tbig pharma would be any more honest without it, or do you just figure we’ll at least save some tax dollars on the FDA’s budget?

    I know this is wildly off-topic, but I like to consider different opinions and agree with a lot of libertarian points (with some notable issues, I admit), so I’m curious.

    As I mentioned in a previous post, libertarian economist Thomas Sowell has written that government agencies tend to end up being run by (and for the benefit of) members of the industries they’re supposed to regulate. I think the FDA is a perfect example of that.

    Reply
  12. Howard

    Did you see the videos about coconut oil being an effective treatment (not cure, unfortunately) for Alzheimer’s? 4 T/day of MCT oil works even better.

    I have been experimenting on myself with that, and I’ve found that coconut (and MCT) oil seem to have a subtle enhancement effect on cognitive skills, which generally is most noticeable when I’m sight-reading music. It’s about the same amount of boost I get from an extra 45 minutes of good-quality sleep (and it’s in *addition*).

    I will be repeating the experiment on and off over the next few months, and looking for some more objective cognitive skills test, to try to rule out Hawthorne and Placebo Effect.

    My new primary care doc is paleo friendly! Got the referral via Jimmy Moore. He told me that Tyrosine (4-6 g/day with meals, start lower & ramp up) seems to help Alzheimer’s (and a bunch of other maladies associated with ageing). Can’t hurt… I suspect high-dosage sub-lingual B12 (2.5mg or more) would also help. Both are relatively cheap OTC.

    I hope to be able to allocate the 20 minutes to watch the video sometime later today. I’ve successfully bitten off more than I can comfortably chew these days.

    Let’s hope more and more doctors become paleo-friendly.

    Reply
  13. Rocky

    Dr. Golomb’s position is very similar to those in the book “The Truth About the Drug Companies,” by Marcia Angell, editor of the New England Journal of Medicine for 20 years. This is a wonderfully eye-opening book that clearly shows the depth of the deception and misrepresentation.

    In a subsequent interview, Dr. Angell goes on to say in this often publicized quote, “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”

    Excellent quote.

    Reply
  14. Rocky

    I agree with those who say that a doctor being sued for not prescribing a statin is rather unlikely.

    On the other hand, if one is prescribed a statin and doesn’t take it, I can easily imagine insurance companies refusing to pay death benefits if they can show a cardiac-related death and a non-compliant patient. They’ve denied death benefits for far less.

    So, if you’re prescribed a statin, talk the doctor into the cheapest $4 generic that’s available, toss the bottle in your sock drawer every month, and consider the wasted $4/month a minimal cost of protecting your life insurance benefits.

    Reply
  15. Marilyn

    That picture of you with your dad is heart breaking. The infuriating thing (one of many) is that as far as the drug companies are concerned, he’s a complete success because he hasn’t had a heart problem. Keep on keepin’ on, Tom. Keep spreading the word.

    The irony is that he ended up with stents in his arteries anyway. Lipitor most definitely did not prevent him from developing heart disease, although he escaped having a heart attack.

    Reply
  16. DaiViet

    Abstract of the paper

    Nutrition and Alzheimer’s disease: The detrimental role of a high carbohydrate diet

    by Stephanie Seneff, Glyn Wainwright, Luca Mascitelli

    “In this paper, we highlight how an excess of dietary carbohydrates, particularly fructose, alongside a relative deficiency in dietary fats and cholesterol, may lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

    A first step in the pathophysiology of the disease is represented by advanced glycation end-products in crucial plasma proteins concerned with fat, cholesterol, and oxygen transport.

    This leads to cholesterol deficiency in neurons, which significantly impairs their ability to function. Over time, a cascade response leads to impaired glutamate signaling, increased oxidative damage, mitochondrial and lysosomal dysfunction, increased risk to microbial infection, and, ultimately, apoptosis.

    Other neurodegenerative diseases share many properties with Alzheimer’s disease, and may also be due in large part to this same underlying cause.”

    The paper can be found here:

    http://people.csail.mit.edu/seneff/EJIM_PUBLISHED.pdf

    Reply
  17. Sarah Juarez

    This scares me because I am 31 years old and have been prescribed a statin. I was prescribed it a couple years ago, but quit taking it because I was losing my hair. Then I have a heart attack and I get a finger shaken at me because I didnt take the medication. Then why is my total cholesterol 134 right after the heart attack? I am tempted to quit taking it again after watching the video and reading these stories. What’s the point of living a long life if you can’t remember it or the memories you made? I am going to focus on my blood glucose levels, but part of me is scared to quit taking the statin because the “doctors” who are supposed to know all are so aggressive about me taking them! :/

    Read Dr. Graveline’s book, then read Dr. Malcolm Kendrick’s book “The Great Cholesterol Con.” Then decide if you want to take the statin.

    Reply
  18. Austin

    Thanks for discussing the recent media focus on the statin/memory loss. I’ve been catching up on your older posts (only up to page 51) and this along with reading about your Thanksgiving visit with your father really hit home for me. My dad started statins a few years ago and his mother has memory issues so my hope is to at least get my dad questioning this med instead of just following “doctor’s orders”. Thank you so much for all your work and your extreme openess! Your blog is the always the first to be checked in the morning for any new info. Thanks again and keep up the life changing work 🙂

    Order him a copy of “The Great Cholesterol Con” by Dr. Malcolm Kendrick and “Lipitor: Thief of Memory” by Dr. Duane Graveline. If he still elects to take the statin, at least you tried.

    Reply
  19. Galina L.

    All that statins information makes me wonder, if the diet very low in a cholesterol has similar but much less pronounced effect on a human body? I know it is a stretch because body makes cholesterol on its own, and lowering diet cholesterol doesn’t disrupt the biochemistry of one’s body, unlike statins. However, my lady friend recently ruptured her disc doing nothing out of normal motion (putting shoes on). She had been a vegetarian for 8 years (before she met me) after she had cancer and chemotherapy.

    That’s a good question.

    Reply
  20. john lushefski

    I’m not sure how they determine whether one experiences a side effect or not, but these types of studies are a tiny piece of the evidence. There are heaps of literature within the last 90 years on cholesterol and mental health & stress resistance.

    I see some commenters have brought up a .16% side effect statistic. That means little. Cholesterol “deficiency” leading to poor mental (and overall) health and poor stress resistance is a physiological FACT.

    Reply
  21. LCNana

    Tom, when you get to your conference in DC simply stand up and repeat that quote by Marcia Angell

    “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.” Then head to the bar!

    And people wonder why we fly to the internet when our doctors refuse to listen to us, or prescribe us something we know is junk, or worse, bad for us.

    That quote may make it into a slide.

    Reply
  22. Erik

    Are statins uniquely horrible, or are other cholesterol lowering medications thought to be equally bad?

    I was taking Lipitor for a while and my total cholesterol got down to 80, but my triglycerides remained high, in the 300 range. Because of concerns of people such as the ones on this board, and because my HDL was very low, I convinced my doctor to prescribe Tricor (Fenofibrate).

    Now my total cholesterol is in the ‘normal’ range, Triglycerides are slightly elevated and HDL is very close to ‘normal’.

    I understand that the very idea of trying to reduce cholesterol is unpopular around here, especially with medication. But should I be just as concerned about this medication as I was about statins?

    I also take Losartan HCTZ for blood pressure and Carvedilol (generic Coreg) for my heart. Should any of these concern me?

    BTW, my understanding is that one problem with statins is that they reduce the level of Coenzyme Q10, and that some of the problems can be alleviated with supplements. However, I got that info from a person who sells Coenzyme Q10 supplements, so I’m not sure how much faith to put into it.

    Yes, statins reduce CoQ10. I don’t believe any of the cholesterol-lowering drugs are necessary because cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease. What tiny benefit statins provide to some people is most likely due to their inflammation-lowering properties. There are better ways to lower inflammation.

    Reply
  23. DaiViet

    The perfect storm for alzheimer, dementia, and killing off your brain:

    1. Statins to interfere with cholesterol production in the brain. Result? There goes your myelin sheet around your axons. No more reliable transmission of neural signals.

    2. Insulin insensitivity in the brain, brought on by high carb LOW fat diet. Strong evidence linking beta amyloid plaque formation to the insulin signalling process being put on overdrive in the brain, and the brain not getting enough essential fatty acids that it needs.

    My dad got caught in that storm.

    Reply
  24. Judy B

    So, so sorry about your Dad! I went through a lot if the same things with my Dad, but the dementia was not so prolonged.
    Wishing you well on your trip and speech, hopefully the truth will come out fully some day…

    Thank you.

    Reply
  25. Janknitz

    “clearly established value” of and “undisputed benefit’ of Statins

    The clearly established value and undisputed benefit of statins is to the stockholders of the companies making these drugs, not to the poor suckers who take them!

    Tom, I went through AD with my grandmother and my mother. It’s a terrible, terrible disease. More and more studies point to insulin issues and “Diabetes Type III” as the cause of dementias, so by spreading the word about low carb you may be saving hundreds or perhaps thousands of people this heartache. I hope you can take some comfort in that.

    That’s my hope. What I wouldn’t give for a time machine. First thing I’d do is go back to the 1970s and convince my parents to stop eating Egg Beaters and margarine, then convince my dad to never, ever start taking the Lipitor.

    Reply
  26. Nina

    Aw Tom I’m so sorry. So frustrating to see a loved one slipping away and to suspect strongly that a prescription drug is the cause.

    I believe my mum may have succumbed to leukemia as a result of long term Fosamax prescription (for osteoporosis).

    Nina

    Sorry to hear that.

    Reply
  27. Nick P

    Hey Tom,

    What a great post! You need to provide a special link to this post, and keep it at the top of your Blog.

    Peggy and I are sending prayers for you and your Dad.

    It really is criminal how we all just $$$$’s to the big pharma companies, and there truly is no compassion or desire to truly do “the right thing”…..

    In this case, Greed is NOT good…it is killing us. And no one is there to guard the chicken coup.

    It used to be that Doctors were the pillars of our communities, and unfortunately, today, many of them are just plain “Prostitutes” that in this profession as just a job. It is really a sad day for us all……

    I’m afraid you’re right.

    Reply
  28. DaiViet

    Abstract of the paper

    Nutrition and Alzheimer’s disease: The detrimental role of a high carbohydrate diet

    by Stephanie Seneff, Glyn Wainwright, Luca Mascitelli

    “In this paper, we highlight how an excess of dietary carbohydrates, particularly fructose, alongside a relative deficiency in dietary fats and cholesterol, may lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

    A first step in the pathophysiology of the disease is represented by advanced glycation end-products in crucial plasma proteins concerned with fat, cholesterol, and oxygen transport.

    This leads to cholesterol deficiency in neurons, which significantly impairs their ability to function. Over time, a cascade response leads to impaired glutamate signaling, increased oxidative damage, mitochondrial and lysosomal dysfunction, increased risk to microbial infection, and, ultimately, apoptosis.

    Other neurodegenerative diseases share many properties with Alzheimer’s disease, and may also be due in large part to this same underlying cause.”

    The paper can be found here:

    http://people.csail.mit.edu/seneff/EJIM_PUBLISHED.pdf

    Reply
  29. Sarah Juarez

    This scares me because I am 31 years old and have been prescribed a statin. I was prescribed it a couple years ago, but quit taking it because I was losing my hair. Then I have a heart attack and I get a finger shaken at me because I didnt take the medication. Then why is my total cholesterol 134 right after the heart attack? I am tempted to quit taking it again after watching the video and reading these stories. What’s the point of living a long life if you can’t remember it or the memories you made? I am going to focus on my blood glucose levels, but part of me is scared to quit taking the statin because the “doctors” who are supposed to know all are so aggressive about me taking them! :/

    Read Dr. Graveline’s book, then read Dr. Malcolm Kendrick’s book “The Great Cholesterol Con.” Then decide if you want to take the statin.

    Reply
  30. john lushefski

    I’m not sure how they determine whether one experiences a side effect or not, but these types of studies are a tiny piece of the evidence. There are heaps of literature within the last 90 years on cholesterol and mental health & stress resistance.

    I see some commenters have brought up a .16% side effect statistic. That means little. Cholesterol “deficiency” leading to poor mental (and overall) health and poor stress resistance is a physiological FACT.

    Reply
  31. Tami C

    My dad had heart troubles starting in his 40’s (bad tickers run in the family) and was put on statins in his late 50’s/early 60’s. He had severe muscle pain and mental confusion. Either he or my mom or his doc decided it was the statins and he stopped them and all symptoms ceased.

    Since then my two of my uncles, two neighbors, and friend all experienced the same problems while on statins. I know that’s anecdotal evidence, but that’s a lot of people from a small circle of acquaintances that have all had the same “rare” side effects.

    Amazing how many “rare” people I’ve heard from. I guess it’s like Lake Webegone, where everyone is above average.

    Reply
  32. Erik

    I understand the philosophical concern with the existence of cholesterol lowering drugs. But it seems I only hear the low-carb / good fat / paleo community talk about statins. Is anyone hopping made about fibrates such as Tricor?

    My personal experience is that, when I took a statin, my cholesterol went from 200 to 80, but my triglycerides went from 300 to 300. With the fibrate, my cholesterol got back to the mid 100’s but my triglycerides dropped in half and my HDL went up about 25%.

    I’m under the impression that even around here, high triglycerides are seen as a bad thing and that increased HDL is a good thing. I can accept that the cholesterol lowering effect is ‘unnecessary’, but have any of the ‘good fat’ medical community decried fibrates as harmful? At the very least, are they considered less harmful than statins? Thanks!

    Clinical studies of drugs that boost HDL have been flops. Treating a lab score isn’t the same as treating the underlying issue that produces a bad lab score. High HDL is likely a marker for good health, but not health itself.

    Reply
  33. Alyssa

    Was flipping through channels on the tv the other day and passed by The View. They were talking to some doctor, Dr. David Agus or something like that (can’t quite remember!) and he was saying that everyone should be on statins! I didn’t stick around for the rest of the conversation, I was too irritated. They all seemed really happy and excited about them, though. :

    My 82 year old grandmother is type 2 diabetic and has osteoporosis, and is on Lipitor, Metformin, Celebrex, and possibly a few more (Fosamax?). She has terrible muscle problems and is the worst in her arm/shoulder. Most of her diet consists of oatmeal and toast. Dry of course. My cousin is a dietitian so my grandmother won’t listen to anybody but her and the only advice she has been given is “Take your Lipitor and don’t eat ANY saturated fat!” Her gross Ryvita crackers that she eats constantly has something like 0.3 grams of saturated fat per serving in them and she didn’t stop talking about that for days! I’ve noticed her memory getting pretty bad lately. Remembering names is difficult, and she will scroll through the names of 20 different family members before she gets the right one. Try to give any advice and it’s, “well, [dietitian cousin] says this!” The other day my mum actually said to her, “Anything [dietition cousin] says, you should be doing the exact opposite.” but all that got was eye rolling. It’s so frustrating.

    Indeed it is. Most dietitians these days are a menace.

    Reply
  34. Erik

    Are statins uniquely horrible, or are other cholesterol lowering medications thought to be equally bad?

    I was taking Lipitor for a while and my total cholesterol got down to 80, but my triglycerides remained high, in the 300 range. Because of concerns of people such as the ones on this board, and because my HDL was very low, I convinced my doctor to prescribe Tricor (Fenofibrate).

    Now my total cholesterol is in the ‘normal’ range, Triglycerides are slightly elevated and HDL is very close to ‘normal’.

    I understand that the very idea of trying to reduce cholesterol is unpopular around here, especially with medication. But should I be just as concerned about this medication as I was about statins?

    I also take Losartan HCTZ for blood pressure and Carvedilol (generic Coreg) for my heart. Should any of these concern me?

    BTW, my understanding is that one problem with statins is that they reduce the level of Coenzyme Q10, and that some of the problems can be alleviated with supplements. However, I got that info from a person who sells Coenzyme Q10 supplements, so I’m not sure how much faith to put into it.

    Yes, statins reduce CoQ10. I don’t believe any of the cholesterol-lowering drugs are necessary because cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease. What tiny benefit statins provide to some people is most likely due to their inflammation-lowering properties. There are better ways to lower inflammation.

    Reply
  35. Nick P

    Hey Tom,

    What a great post! You need to provide a special link to this post, and keep it at the top of your Blog.

    Peggy and I are sending prayers for you and your Dad.

    It really is criminal how we all just $$$$’s to the big pharma companies, and there truly is no compassion or desire to truly do “the right thing”…..

    In this case, Greed is NOT good…it is killing us. And no one is there to guard the chicken coup.

    It used to be that Doctors were the pillars of our communities, and unfortunately, today, many of them are just plain “Prostitutes” that in this profession as just a job. It is really a sad day for us all……

    I’m afraid you’re right.

    Reply
  36. Pumpkin

    I have been on some sort of statin questran etc from age 3. Changed to Lipitor a few years ago. I still study and completed my degree and constantly going on courses and looking at masters and doctorate. My concentration is shot. I work on things that should take 1/2 hour now takes me double the time (if I can concentrate). I’m emotional sad then angry then disinterested and this could all be in minutes (yes maybe I’m just nutty it has crossed my mind) but I hate the feeling of being so restless. I now also have LDL Apheresis and just feel its having no difference. I worry about the fact that they start giving statins to kids as young as 3. I work in a special needs school and see first hand the struggle kids have. How would this all impact on their futures. Very sad and worried.

    Giving statins to kids with growing brains should be considered child abuse.

    Reply
  37. Tami C

    My dad had heart troubles starting in his 40’s (bad tickers run in the family) and was put on statins in his late 50’s/early 60’s. He had severe muscle pain and mental confusion. Either he or my mom or his doc decided it was the statins and he stopped them and all symptoms ceased.

    Since then my two of my uncles, two neighbors, and friend all experienced the same problems while on statins. I know that’s anecdotal evidence, but that’s a lot of people from a small circle of acquaintances that have all had the same “rare” side effects.

    Amazing how many “rare” people I’ve heard from. I guess it’s like Lake Webegone, where everyone is above average.

    Reply
  38. Erik

    I understand the philosophical concern with the existence of cholesterol lowering drugs. But it seems I only hear the low-carb / good fat / paleo community talk about statins. Is anyone hopping made about fibrates such as Tricor?

    My personal experience is that, when I took a statin, my cholesterol went from 200 to 80, but my triglycerides went from 300 to 300. With the fibrate, my cholesterol got back to the mid 100’s but my triglycerides dropped in half and my HDL went up about 25%.

    I’m under the impression that even around here, high triglycerides are seen as a bad thing and that increased HDL is a good thing. I can accept that the cholesterol lowering effect is ‘unnecessary’, but have any of the ‘good fat’ medical community decried fibrates as harmful? At the very least, are they considered less harmful than statins? Thanks!

    Clinical studies of drugs that boost HDL have been flops. Treating a lab score isn’t the same as treating the underlying issue that produces a bad lab score. High HDL is likely a marker for good health, but not health itself.

    Reply
  39. Alyssa

    Was flipping through channels on the tv the other day and passed by The View. They were talking to some doctor, Dr. David Agus or something like that (can’t quite remember!) and he was saying that everyone should be on statins! I didn’t stick around for the rest of the conversation, I was too irritated. They all seemed really happy and excited about them, though. :\

    My 82 year old grandmother is type 2 diabetic and has osteoporosis, and is on Lipitor, Metformin, Celebrex, and possibly a few more (Fosamax?). She has terrible muscle problems and is the worst in her arm/shoulder. Most of her diet consists of oatmeal and toast. Dry of course. My cousin is a dietitian so my grandmother won’t listen to anybody but her and the only advice she has been given is “Take your Lipitor and don’t eat ANY saturated fat!” Her gross Ryvita crackers that she eats constantly has something like 0.3 grams of saturated fat per serving in them and she didn’t stop talking about that for days! I’ve noticed her memory getting pretty bad lately. Remembering names is difficult, and she will scroll through the names of 20 different family members before she gets the right one. Try to give any advice and it’s, “well, [dietitian cousin] says this!” The other day my mum actually said to her, “Anything [dietition cousin] says, you should be doing the exact opposite.” but all that got was eye rolling. It’s so frustrating.

    Indeed it is. Most dietitians these days are a menace.

    Reply
  40. Tony Mach

    Sorry to nitpick, but the way Beatrice Golomb talks makes it very hard to listen to her. I feel like she is constantly crying Wolf – if I want that, I’ll watch cable news…

    She is intense.

    Reply
  41. Sigi

    Tom, I’m so sorry to hear about your Dad’s worsening condition. I know how painful it can be for family members to watch their loved one’s deterioration. Thank you for being prepared to use your experience to warn and hopefully benefit others.

    Sending sympathy and warm wishes.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  42. Pumpkin

    I have been on some sort of statin questran etc from age 3. Changed to Lipitor a few years ago. I still study and completed my degree and constantly going on courses and looking at masters and doctorate. My concentration is shot. I work on things that should take 1/2 hour now takes me double the time (if I can concentrate). I’m emotional sad then angry then disinterested and this could all be in minutes (yes maybe I’m just nutty it has crossed my mind) but I hate the feeling of being so restless. I now also have LDL Apheresis and just feel its having no difference. I worry about the fact that they start giving statins to kids as young as 3. I work in a special needs school and see first hand the struggle kids have. How would this all impact on their futures. Very sad and worried.

    Giving statins to kids with growing brains should be considered child abuse.

    Reply

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