$tatins Don’t Save Lives
What Do Statins Do?
Statins supposedly prevent CVD – Statin drugs, such as Pravachol, Mevacor, Lipitor, Zocor and Crestor are now taken by about 24 million Americans for the purpose of lowering blood cholesterol levels, in an attempt to prevent cardiovascular disease, such as coronary heart disease and stroke.
The “Jupiter Study” is the major supporting study for the recent push for statin use – this 2006 study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2008 supposedly determined that statin drugs could lower heart attack risk 54%, risk of stroke by 48%, and risk of needing angioplasty or bypass surgery by 46%, and the risk of death from all causes by 20%. It was taken at face value, despite the fact that funding for this study came from Astra-Zeneca, the maker of Crestor!
Let’s begin by acknowledging that Statins DO significantly reduce cholesterol and DO minimally reduce the risk of heart attacks. This does NOT, however, prove that lowering cholesterol decreases the risk of heart attacks – since:
- Statins protect people from heart attacks regardless of whether or not they have high levels of blood cholesterol or any other risk factors for that matter – meaning the statins are having other additional effects;
- Multiple studies show that the cholesterol /heart disease connection is a myth – E.g. the large and ongoing Framington, Massachusetts population study found virtually no connection in CHD events with cholesterol levels in the 205-294 mg/dl range. Even extremely high (up to ~1200mg/dl) levels demonstrated trivial differences in CHD events
- Castelli, William, “Concerning the Possibility of a Nat…” Archives of Internal Medicine, July 1992, 152: (7): 1371-1372
- Smith, R. and E.R. Pickney, Diet, Blood, Cholesterol and Coronary Heart Disease: A Critical Review of the Literature, Vol 2, 1991, Vector Enterprises, Sherman Oaks, CA
See: Cholesterol is not the cause of CVD on our “You Should Know” page
But, since statins DO reduce heart attacks, maybe we should all take them?
Statins are thought to have a beneficial effect on inflammation
- Aside from lowering cholesterol unnecessarily, statin drugs are also effective anti-inflammatories – and inflammation is indeed what heart disease is all about.
- Statins increase inflammation-controlling nitric oxide (NO) production in the vessel wall – Free radicals uncontrolled by sufficient antioxidants can diminish NO production, leading to atherosclerosis. By decreasing inflammation, you lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.
But . . . there are much better, natural ways than taking statin drugs to lower inflammation, without the multitude of undesirable side-effects, including, as you will read further on, the increased risk of dying from causes other than heart attack.
The Jupiter Study Promoted statin use as preventive medicine against first time heart attacks. Statin drugs were originally prescribed for the prevention of a second heart attack or stroke (those with clear signs of heart disease).
The Jupiter Study expanded the market to those with just CVD risk factors – although originally prescribed for just secondary prevention, the JUPITER study (funded by the makers of Crestor) claimed that statins could significantly prevent people with certain heart disease risk factors (but otherwise healthy) from having a heart attack or stroke in the first place (called primary prevention), thus expanding their market. After 2 years, the study produced no evidence of the “striking decrease in coronary heart disease complications” reported by the trial investigators.
Three articles were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in June 2010, refuting the industry-funded JUPITER study claims.
1. Cholesterol lowering, cardiovascular diseases, and the rosuvastatin-JUPITER controversy: a critical reappraisal – after carefully reviewing the methods and results of the JUPITER trial, investigative researchers concluded that the trial was flawed: It was discontinued… after fewer than 2 years of follow-up, with no differences between the 2 groups on the most objective criteria. Clinical data showed a major discrepancy between:
The JUPITER trial’s report of significant reductions in non-fatal stroke and myocardial infarction (MI), AND A lack of effects on fatal stroke or MI. Furthermore, cardiovascular mortality and the case-fatality rate for MI fell far below predicted rates.
“The results of the trial do not support the use of statin treatment for primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases and raise troubling questions concerning the role of commercial sponsors.”
de Lorgeril M et al, Cholesterol lowering, cardiovascular diseases, and the rosuvastatin-JUPITER controversy: a critical reappraisal, Laboratoire Coeur and Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, Université Joseph Fourier and Centre National de Recherche Scientifique, Grenoble, France, Arch Intern Med. 2010 Jun 28;170(12):1032-6
2. Meta-analysis of 11 randomized controlled trials – found no evidence to back up the JUPITER trial claim that statins can reduce your risk of death when used as primary prevention against heart disease.
Ray KK, et al, Statins and all-cause mortality in high-risk primary prevention: a meta-analysis of 11 randomized controlled trials involving 65,229 participants, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England, Arch Intern Med. 2010 Jun 28;170(12):1024-31
3. Cholesterol-lowering therapy for primary prevention: still much we don’t know – in which Dr. Lee Green of U. of Michigan Medical school points out that billions of revenue dollars were at stake for the study sponsor in the JUPITER trial, as well as potentially millions of dollars in royalties for the principal investigator.
Overall, statins do NOT save lives!
Statins have a minimal effect on likelihood of a heart “event” (notably heart attack or stroke), but significantly increase risk of death for other causes
- At best, statin drugs have a statistically insignificant protective effect on heart-related mortality – but many studies show that people on statins are actually more likely to die of something else, compared to people who aren’t taking statins i.e. They are less likely to have a fatal heart attack, but more likely to die of some other disease, such as cancer.
- This is particularly true if you only consider numbers for people who have risk factors for heart disease – but do not yet have established heart disease.
- For Example: If you’ve already had a heart attack, then taking statins will protect you from having another one – but in doing so they will only minimally extend your life. If you just have a few risk factors for heart disease (E.g. high LDL, smoker, obesity, high blood pressure) then taking statins will still protect you from having a heart attack, but taking statins is not only unlikely to extend your life, it may actually shorten it.
Lies, Statistics and the JUPITER STUDY
True statistical results should always consider the number of people in the population being studied, there is a major difference between relative risk and real risk:
Headline: “Rosuvastatin can slash risk of heart attack by 54% and stroke by 48%”
In the JUPITER study there were 68 heart attacks in the placebo group and 31 heart attacks in the statin drug treatment group – a relative risk reduction of 54%. There were 64 strokes in the placebo group, compared to 33 strokes in the treatment group, a relative risk reduction of 48%. Sounds good, doesn’t it? However, here is the reality:
In a drug treatment group of 8,901 participants, the heart attack risk was reduced from a very low 0.76% to 0.35% and the risk of stroke from 0.72% to 0.37%. In effect, if you treat 300 people with expensive and dangerous drugs you might save one life. Under the best possible scenario, the real risk reduction was under 0.5%.
In perspective, consuming a handful of raw mixed nuts has a much higher risk reduction!
This same kind of deception is seen in several statin-supportive studies. To see the real numbers on the likely benefits of taking statins: See: Statin Benefits on “You Should Know”
THERE IS ONE EXCEPTION
People born with a genetic defect called familial hypercholesterolemia may benefit from taking statins – Since this makes them resistant to the body’s usual measures of normalizing cholesterol. This group represents a minute fraction of those taking statins.
$Tatins Are “Pushed”
Mainly to make mega-profits for the drug companies. In 2008, Pfizer made $12.4 billion in sales of Lipitor® , the top-selling branded pharmaceutical in the world.
Recommendations are an “Inside Job”
A recent panel of “experts” (8 out of 9 on the payroll of “statin” drug manufacturers), now recommend lowering blood cholesterol of high-risk heart disease patients to levels so low, they are only attainable by using their employers’ “statin” drugs.
For more information on Statins – Read:
- Statin Health Benefits
- Serious Side Effects of Statins
Article Source: Shirley Emmons BSc. (Hons); Independent Natural and Alternative Health Researcher, for this wonderful research and granted us permission to re-use.
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