25 years of evidence based medicine part ii: what we can learn about ebm from the cholesterol / statin debate / debacle

25 YEARS OF EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE PART II
THE GREAT CHOLESTEROL / STATIN DEBACLE

Evidence-Based Statins

“I take issue when conventional doctors claim that evidence-based medicine supports the use of statin drugs in treating/preventing heart disease.  In fact, evidence-based medicine, when studied objectively, would reveal that statin drugs should not be prescribed for either treating or preventing heart disease.  Let’s look at statin guidelines.  The new guidelines recommend nearly half of Americans over the age of 40—more than 50 million people—may qualify for taking a statin drug in order to lower their heart attack risk.  I have written in my blog posts, newsletter, and in my book, The Statin Disaster, that statin drugs fail nearly 99% who take them—they neither prevent heart attacks nor have they been shown to help people live longer.”  Medical doctor, David Browenstein, from his two year old article, Statins: One of the Greatest Failures of Modern Medicine

The other day I sat down and wrote PART I of a 25 year overview of EBM (Evidence-Based Medicine) showing you why, if you value your health, it must be taken with a grain of salt — especially anything FUNDED BY INDUSTRY.  Nowhere is this easier to see than the arena of CHOLESTEROL STUDIES and STATIN DRUGS (I’ll go ahead and throw in the newest entry as well, PCSK9 INHIBITORS), and no class of drug is the ‘evidence’ more hotly contested.  As we start dissecting what science actually says about cholesterol and statin drugs, my hope is that you come away with a better understanding of the fact that “best evidence” is rarely as it appears on the surface.

The very first thing everyone needs to understand when studying the risk-to-benefit ratio of any drug is the difference between RELATIVE RISK -VS- ABSOLUTE RISK.  Allow me to give you a good example.  In last year’s flu season, the FLU SHOT had a terrible efficacy.  The medical community touted it as 20% effective, telling the public that twenty percent was better than not getting a shot at all (experts are already promising that this year’s season will be equally as bad, with an equally ineffective vaccine — HERE).  What they did not tell you, however, was that in real numbers, 20% means that the NV (number to vaccinate — the number of people who must be vaccinated to prevent a single case of flu) is 100.  To further complicate things, we eventually learned that last year efficacy was closer to 10% than 20%, meaning that the NV was (gulp) 200 —- HERE.  As you will see, the scenario with statin drugs is virtually identical.

Case in point, Dr. Chris Centeno’s two online articles on cholesterol and statins (The Cholesterol Drug Problems Two Step: Or How the Tail Wags the Dog in Medicine and Blueberries or Statins to Reduce Heart Attack Risk? Your Call…).  Listen to this specialist in regenerative medicine tell it like it is as far as absolute risk -vs- relative risk.  Note that the absolute difference in risk for statin vs no statin is 1% — 3% minus 2%.

“For years, I’ve been an ardent critic of the Madison avenue message that we all desperately need to lower our serum cholesterol by taking cholesterol drugs (statins). First, we have observed that these drugs tend to hurt adult stem cells. Second, I’ve had to research them for my own use. In that research, I was appalled at the paltry benefits of the drugs versus the hyped benefits out of the Madison avenue pharma machine. To add insult to injury, major Cardiology meetings these past few years have consistently revealed that the main cholesterol number that the commercials told you was critical is largely meaningless…..   You might be wondering why I didn’t quote the number thrown around by Pfizer for how much the cholesterol miracle cure Lipitor reduces heart attack risk (36%). This is because it’s not a 36% reduction in heart attack risk, but “relative risk”. You get to 36% only after a little creative math quoting that the difference between the percentage of heart attacks in the Lipitor versus the placebo group (2% versus 3%).  Risk reduction for heart attack; eating blueberries, 32% over 18 years; taking statins, 1% over 3.5 years.”

Comical if it wasn’t so deceptively perverted.  Truth is, when we look at the rare cholesterol study not tainted by industry (2002’s Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial that was published in JAMA for example), we see that after following over 10,000 patients for an average of nearly five years, “Pravastatin did not reduce either all-cause mortality or CHD significantly when compared with usual care….”  And this, folks, is exactly what we see time and time again with statins, even though the pharma-funded biomedical community continues to tell us otherwise.  Writing in a 2008 edition of Bloomberg (Do Cholesterol Drugs Do Any Good?), author John Carey answered the rhetorical question he posed in his paper’s title.

“Dr. Wright’s team was analyzing evidence from years of trials with statins and not liking what it found. Yes, Wright saw, the drugs can be life-saving in patients who already have suffered heart attacks, somewhat reducing the chances of a recurrence that could lead to an early death. But Wright had a surprise when he looked at the data for the majority of patients, like Winn, who don’t have heart disease. He found no benefit in people over the age of 65, no matter how much their cholesterol declines, and no benefit in women of any age.   He did see a small reduction in the number of heart attacks for middle-aged men taking statins in clinical trials. But even for these men, there was no overall reduction in total deaths or illnesses requiring hospitalization—despite big reductions in “bad” cholesterol.”

This is exactly what a growing number of scientists and cardiologists have been pointing out for a very long time, and it has to do with surrogate markers / surrogate endpoints. In the same way that diabetes drugs lower blood sugar like crazy but don’t much alter morbidity or mortality (HERE), statin drugs likewise do a fantastic job of addressing a similar surrogate endpoint.  They unarguably lower cholesterol levels, yet do little to change numbers of heart attacks, strokes, or death rates.  In fact, there are studies we will discuss momentarily showing that statins actually increase death rates.  Now allow me show you the statin family’s example of the 1 in 200 statistic I mentioned earlier.

Writing for Medium, Dr. Jason Fung, a nephrologist (kidney specialist) and expert on various forms of FASTING, LOW CARB, and KETOGENIC DIETS, showed in a post the other day that when it comes to statin drugs, the number to treat is 200.  In other words, it takes 1,000 people being on statins to prevent five heart attacks (a great example of O&D that we’ll discuss momentarily).  Renowned cardiologist, DR. ASEEM MALHOTRA (remember the name because we’ll be meeting him again), agreed with this assessment, while actually upping the ante in June’s issue of The Pharmaceutical Journal (Ignorance is Not Bliss: Why We Need More Empowered Patients)…….

“Most healthcare professionals know that 80% of cardiovascular disease is in fact caused by lifestyle factors, including an unhealthy diet, smoking and a sedentary lifestyle. But most are not aware of results from high-quality observational studies and randomised controlled trials which reveal that dietary changes rapidly reduce cardiovascular risk in addition to reducing morbidity and mortality.  Even less understood is that overdiagnosis and overtreatment represent a major threat to the sustainability of healthcare, with medical researcher Peter C Gøtzsche estimating, based on the best available data, that prescribed medicine is the third most common cause of death after heart disease and cancer. In 2011, Don Berwick, president emeritus of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, estimated that around a third of the United States’ $3 trillion expenditure on healthcare brings no benefit to the patient.  And there is an epidemic of misinformation, making it doubly hard for healthcare professionals and patients to know the actual benefits and risks of the treatment they are taking, with biased funding of research, biased reporting in medical journals, biased reporting in the media, commercial conflicts of interest and an doctors being unable to understand and communicate health statistics.”

Statins are an integral part of the epidemic of OVERDIAGNOSIS & OVERTREATMENT that is KILLING PEOPLE at an almost unheard of rate — something you already know if you’ve been following my site for any length of time.  And like Dr. Malhotra, suggested by his title, EMPOWERING PATIENTS should not simply be something to merely pay lip service.  The primary goal of my website has always been providing you with relevant science-based content that can be put immediately into action.  In other words, I want to empower you so that you can change your life (HERE)! The real question, however, is why, as we near the end of the second decade of the 21st century, is this still an issue?  Allow me to show you by providing a recent history of statins in light of EBM.

In 2014, EBM expert and epidemiologist, Dr. Ben Goldacre, wrote an editorial for the British Medical Journal titled What Statins Tell Us About the Mess in Evidence-Based Medicine (I pulled it from his blog, Bad Medicine), letting readers know that because statins are the world’s number one prescribed drug, the evidence for statins should be easy and abundant since there is so much data on the subject.  Instead, he said that despite these mountains of data, there is still “uncertainty about the risks and benefits of statins.”  And while he professes to believe that more trials and more data will ultimately solve this dilemma (I’m not holding my breath), listen to his telling conclusions…..

“While disputes over individual numbers are important, the leading protagonists in the statin wars seem, above all, to be suffering under a grand delusion that all patients think like they do. On the one hand, we have clinicians and researchers insisting that no sane patient would refuse a safe simple treatment that reduces their chances of a heart attack by one in 200; on the other, we have clinicians and researchers insisting that one in 200 is a laughable and trivial benefit, which no sensible patient could ever care about.”

A couple years ago, in an article titled The End of Evidence-Based Medicine?, Thomas Hagar, a microbiologist / immunologist, took an opposite approach as far as the medical community ever being able to solve this problem, saying of statin drugs; “If there’s any place EBM should work, it’s in the arena of statins, the biggest-selling, most widely prescribed prescription medicines of our time. They are also the most studied, with hundreds of scientific papers assessing their risks and benefits.”  The logical conclusion is that if we create enough “good” studies with mountains of “good” data, we could actually solve this problem.  Hagar showed that this is not the case.

“More studies — more EBM — won’t solve the problem. Because the problem is rooted in places that EBM can’t go. In human greed and fallibility, in our proclivity to adopt hard positions and defend them, in our personal ideas of what’s good for our society, and the ways in which these ideas conflict with others. EBM is misused by those who might profit, and when the stakes are high enough, will rarely lead to a consensus accepted by all.”

As if this debate weren’t confusing enough already, in 2011, COCHRANE, the worldwide organization of scientists and researchers known for their data-crunching meta-analysis of mass quantities of data and turning it into intelligible consensus statements, published a study titled Cochrane Review Questions Evidence for Statins for Primary Prevention in Low Risk Groups that challenged the way society currently uses statin drugs, “after finding selective reporting of outcomes, failure to report adverse events, and inclusion of people with cardiovascular disease in published studies.”  In January of 2013 they reversed course with another meta-analysis (Statins for the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease), this time touting massive benefits of statins.  How massive?  A later study gives the answer.

In October of 2013, the BMJ published yet another study (Should People at Low Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Take a Statin?), this one concluding that “A review of statins for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease could alter guidance for those with a 10 year risk of less than 10%.  Statins have no overall health benefit in this population and that prescribing guidelines should not be broadened.”  How broad is broad?  “Under the proposed 2013 standards, however, no level of risk would preclude statin therapy, raising the question whether all people over the age of 50 should be treated.”  In other words, the new statin guidelines would have required anyone over age 50 to be on statin therapy (since moved to 40).  Not surprisingly, when we looked at who was writing the guidelines (HERE), we saw why —- the authors were on big pharma’s payroll, in many cases being paid by multiple companies.

This sort of “schizophrenia” is common in pharmaceutical medicine, and especially common in the field of statins and cholesterol guidelines.  Allow me to show you some more of this double-mindedness by showing you a few of the studies on statins published since Y2K.  Listen to these conclusions of a 2001 issue of QJM: An International Journal of Medicine (Age and Gender Bias in Statin Trials).  After looking at almost 15,000 subjects the authors stated, “Statin drug trials have suffered from age and gender bias, having been mainly conducted in middle‐aged male populations. The extrapolation of evidence from these trials to older people and women needs further evaluation.”  Interesting in light of the number of studies since then showing that giving geriatric patients statins is all but a total waste of time and money.  Don’t believe me?  Look at the material published for our own government’s “Choosing Wisely” campaign.

“Many older adults have high cholesterol. Their doctors usually prescribe statins to prevent heart disease.  But for older people, there is no clear evidence that high cholesterol leads to heart disease or death. In fact, some studies show the opposite—that older people with the lowest cholesterol levels actually have the highest risk of death.  Statins have risks.  Compared to younger adults, older adults are more likely to suffer serious side effects from using statins.  Statins can cause muscle problems, such as aches, pains, or weakness. Rarely, there can be a severe form of muscle breakdown.  In older adults, statins can also cause falls, memory loss and confusion, nausea, constipation, or diarrhea.  Often, older adults take many drugs. These can interact with statins and lead to serious problems. Side effects, like muscle pain, may increase. Statins can also cause a fatal reaction when taken with heart-rhythm drugs.  Statins may increase the risk of type-2 diabetes and cataracts, as well as damage to the liver, kidneys, and nerves.”

Considering last year’s conclusions from JAMA Internal Medicine’s famous ALLHAT trial (Anti-Hypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack), we can’t be surprised.   In this study statins were found to carry “no benefit as primary prevention in the elderly“.   Not only that, but the authors determined that, “statins may be producing untoward effects in the function or health of older adults that could offset any possible cardiovascular benefit.”  This, folks, is talking about what are known in the medical community as ADVERSE EVENTS.  The craziest thing about AE’s is that hundreds of studies (yes, hundreds) have shown that AE’s are only reported to the proper authorities slightly more than 1% of the time (not a misprint, click the link).  This means that side effects for almost every drug or class of drug out there are far more common than anyone outside the research community would believe possible — a fact that phamra works hard at hiding from the general public.  How does this pertain to statin drugs?

The icing on the cake was a 2008 study from Beatrice Golomb’s (MD / Ph.D) Statin Research Group at Cal State San Diego (Statin Adverse Effects: A Review of the Literature and Evidence for a Mitochondrial Mechanism).  Rather than going into great detail here, you can read THE POST I did earlier this year on the 10 year anniversary of this astounding study.  Realize, however, that the bibliography was 900 studies long, going into detail on the many and sundry side effects of statin drugs.  For those of you wondering why a “mitochondrial mechanism” is such a big deal, HERE is the post to look at.  A couple years later, Martha Rosenberg did an interview with a renowned cardiologist and statin researcher whose CV reads like a Who’s Who in the field of cardiology (Dr. Barbara Roberts is director of the Women’s Cardiac Center at the Miriam Hospital in Providence and associate clinical professor of medicine at Brown University after spending two years at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health).  Here are a few cherry-picked random tidbits of this interview  (Do You Really Need That Statin? This Expert Says No).

“Most trials that prove statins’ effectiveness in preventing cardiac events and death have been funded by companies and principle investigators who stand to benefit from their wide use.  Every week in my practice I see patients with serious side effects to statins, and many did not need to be treated with statins in the first place. These side effects range from debilitating muscle and joint pain to transient global amnesia, neuropathy, cognitive dysfunction, fatigue and muscle weakness.  Many doctors have swallowed the Kool-Aid. Big Pharma has consistently exaggerated the benefits of statins and some physicians used scare tactics so that patients are afraid that if they go off the statins, they will have a heart attack immediately. Yet high cholesterol, which the statins address, is a relatively weak risk factor for developing atherosclerosis. For example, diabetes and smoking are far more potent when it comes to increasing risk.  Of course patients will also be staying on the drugs for life unlike trial subjects. Then, the data from the studies are usually given in terms of relative rather than absolute risk. The absolute risk of a cardiac event is only reduced by a few percentage points by statins.”

What’s doubly interesting is how later in her interview she put much of the blame for this fiasco squarely at the feet of the American Heart Association (an organization that I have shown you time and time again functions at levels of corruption previously seen only in Washington DC and Chicago), referring to them as “big pharma’s lap dog” and “hired hands” for industry.  Which brings us to an interesting piece by the always-relevant Gary Schwitzer of Health News Review.  In 2013 he wrote a piece on the AHA titled Statins and Cardiovascular Conflicts of Interest in which he described numerous ways in which the American people are being conned by Big Pharma.  “Both the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, while nonprofit entities, are heavily supported by drug companies.”  Schwitzer went on to quote a couple famous cardiologists from an Op Ed written for the New York Times.

“We believe that the new guidelines are not adequately supported by objective data, and that statins should not be recommended for this vastly expanded class of healthy Americans. Instead of converting millions of people into statin customers, we should be focusing on the real factors that undeniably reduce the risk of heart disease: healthy diets, exercise and avoiding smoking. Patients should be skeptical about the guidelines, and have a meaningful dialogue with their doctors about statins, including what the evidence does and does not show, before deciding what is best for them.”

In 2014, writing on her blog Heart Sisters (Women and Statins: Evidence-Based Medicine or Wishful Thinking?), Carolyn Thomas showed that even though organizations like the AHA and AMERICAN COLLEGE OF CARDIOLOGY strongly recommend statins for, well, almost everyone (at one time recommending they be put in our nation’s water supply —- HERE), she also revealed that numerous cardiologists and organizations are bucking the system by not recommending statins.  One of the cardiologists that Thomas quoted essentially said what I’ve stated numerous times on this site.  “If you don’t have heart disease, the best way to avoid getting it is so simple, so easy to understand, and so not up to your doctor.  Pills should never be the basis of preventing heart disease.

As 2015 rolled around we were presented with yet another freaky statin study, this one by a team of six Japanese cardiologists writing in the ‘Statins & Lipid Hypothesis’ section of Expert Reviews (Statins Stimulate Atherosclerosis and Heart  Failure: Pharmacological Mechanisms), which concluded exactly what the title suggested (you can read my assessment of this study HERE; below is the abstract word for word).

“In contrast to the current belief that cholesterol reduction with statins decreases atherosclerosis, we present a perspective that statins may be causative in coronary artery calcification and can function as mitochondrial toxins that impair muscle function in the heart and blood vessels through the depletion of coenzyme Q10 and‘heme A’, and thereby ATP generation. Statins inhibit the synthesis of vitamin K2, the cofactor for matrix Gla-proteinactivation, which in turn protects arteries from calcification. Statins inhibit the biosynthesis of selenium-containing proteins, one of which is glutathione peroxidase serving to suppress peroxidative stress. An impairment of selenoprotein biosynthesis may be a factor in congestiveheart failure, reminiscent of the dilated cardiomyopathies seen with selenium deficiency. Thus, the epidemic of heart failure and atherosclerosis that plagues the modern world mayparadoxically be aggravated by the pervasive use of statin drugs. We propose that current statin treatment guidelines be critically reevaluated.”

And while cholesterol guidelines are constantly being “re-evaluated,” the people ultimately making the decisions concerning the blood cholesterol level that statin therapy should be started are all too frequently being paid monster dollars by BIG PHARMA, either outright or as “CONSULTANTS“.  Speaking of more studies, the cholesterol flood gates opened wide in 2016, yet again leaving us without a viable medical consensus on statin benefits -vs- statin dangers. 

The biggest of the lot was the cage fight between the United States Preventative Task Force and a group of high-ranking cardiologist / epidemiologists from around the world.  Publishing in JAMA (Statin Use for the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Adults: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement), “The USPSTF recommends that clinicians selectively offer low- to moderate-dose statins to adults aged 40 to 75 years without a history of CVD who have 1 or more CVD risk factors (dyslipidemia, diabetes, hypertension, or smoking) and a calculated 10-year CVD event risk of 7.5% to 10%.”  The ‘evidence’ was given a rating of Grade B.

Although not it’s sole meaning, dyslipidemia includes high cholesterol.  What’s critical to understand is that guideline authors, under the effects of pharmaceutical dollars and wielding fear instead of education as their most potent tool, have repeatedly lowered what’s considered ‘normal’ cholesterol levels, accomplishing the desired effect of creating tens of millions of new statin customers.  In the November issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, two of its editors (both MD’s) had this to say of the ‘Grade B Evidence‘ from the study above in an editorial titled Statins for Primary Prevention: The Debate Is Intense, But the Data Are WeakThe evidence for treating asymptomatic persons with statins does not appear to merit a grade B or even a grade C recommendation.

The debate got so fierce that the Washington Post published an article in October of that year titled Who Should Take Statins? A Vicious Debate Over Cholesterol Drugs.  Which begs the question; how can two groups look at the same set of data yet come to completely opposite conclusions?  When billions of dollars are on the line, it’s not only common, but I showed you a great current example the other day concerning the HPV VACCINE DEBACLE that caused a split resulting in over 1/3 of the executive board of the Cochrane Collaboration resigning.

What did we learn about statins and EBM as 2016 rolled around?  For starters, Steve Mitchell of Consumer Reports wrote a story titled Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs May Be Linked to Diabetes, in which he revealed “Diabetes isn’t a new side effect of statins. The Food and Drug Administration added it to the [warning] label of all statins in 2012 based on a review.” Based on advice from his panel of “experts” who were from the ACC / AHA, Mitchell suggested using a “calculator” to figure your own personal risk of developing cardiovascular disease.  Take a guess who invented the “Risk Calculator” (also known as the ACC / AHA Heart Calculator)? The name being a dead giveaway; it was invented two of the most corrupt organizations in all of medicine; the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. 

What did a May 2016 study (Accuracy of the Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Risk Equation in a Large Contemporary, Multiethnic Real-World Population) say about the accuracy of this calculator?  Only that it “substantially overestimated actual 5-year risk in adults without diabetes, overall and across sociodemographic subgroups.”  Overestimation of risk means more statin prescriptions — way more statin prescriptions.  In other words, this calculator was and continues to be used as a marketing tool instead of something to actually help patients.

Then, in December of 2016, a group of renowned cardiologists led by Dr. Aseem Malhotra (see earlier link) published a scientific paper in the journal Prescriber (More Clarity Needed on the True Benefits and Risks of Statins) revealing why the data for statins appeared, at least on the surface, much better than it really was.  After closer scrutiny of the evidence, we believe the Lancet paper is misleading.”  What “evidence” is Malhotra and crew talking about?   Easy.  They are talking about the number one way that industry fools not only the general public, but peer-review and watchdog agencies as well — INVISIBLE & ABANDONED STUDIES.  This is the research — a whopping half of all biomedical studies — that never sees the light of day because it either goes unpublished or is not completed once the financiers realize it’s not turning out the way they had hoped.  Laura Donnelly’s article for The Telegraph (Lancet Study on Statins was ‘Fundamentally Flawed’, Critics Say) put it this way……

A group of doctors has attacked the Lancet study. Writing in The Prescriber, a group of medics led by cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra criticized the way the Lancet research was carried out.  They said some of the data behind the trials had not been published, while some claims about the impact of the drugs on cholesterol were based on forecasts.  Lead author Dr Malhotra said ‘Decades of misinformation on cholesterol and the gross exaggeration of statin benefits with downplaying of side effects has likely led to the overmedication of millions of people across the world. The lack of transparency in the prescription of statins is just one symptom of a broken system of healthcare where finance based medicine has trumped independent evidence and what is most important for patients.’  His views were backed by Harvard statin expert Dr John Abramson, Sir Richard Thompson, former president of the Royal College of Physicians, and Professor Sherif Sultan, president of the International Society for Vascular Surgery.

It’s time to move into 2017, where I found an ultra-cool study in the aptly-named Journal of Controversies in Biomedical Research (Recent Flaws in Evidence-Based Medicine: Statin Effects in Primary Prevention and Consequences of Suspending the Treatment).  Although this study pummeled statins more ferociously than the beating Khabib Nurmagomedov delivered to Connor McGregor in LAST SATURDAY NIGHT’S CHAMPIONSHIP CAGE FIGHT, there was one particular aspect that was especially telling. 

The authors looked specifically at studies on statin discontinuation.  In other words, if statins are such an incredible life-saver, when people go off of them we should see a dramatic spike in deaths in those specific populations. Not only do we see nothing of the kind, the study’s authors, a team of internationally renowned cardiologists, showed that just the opposite might be true.  Listen to these completely CHERRY-PICKED findings from the section of this study titled Statin Discontinuation: Is There Evidence of Increased Mortality?

“Statin discontinuation does not lead to increased heart disease and overall mortality….. On the contrary, one might even conclude that statin discontinuation could save lives.  If statin therapy actually saves lives, discontinuing this therapy obviously raises the question of thereby provoking an increased risk of fatal heart disease complications. So far, only extrapolations and calculations have supported this concern. For instance, a retrospective Danish study estimated the absolute increase in total mortality to be 1.1% in the 10.5 years following statin cessation…..  Regarding specifically heart disease deaths, those supposed to be mainly reduced by statins, one observes again a decrease in 2013 (33,400 deaths) compared with 2012 (34,600) or the 2009–2012 average (35,200). We note that the decreased rate of fatal IHD tended to flatten in the years preceding 2013 (−1200 between 2009 and 2010, −900 between 2010 and 2011, and +200 between 2011 and 2012), leading to expect no decrease or even an increase between 2012 and 2013. On the contrary, there was an unexpected new decrease (−1200) in 2013 indicating that if statin discontinuation had played a role in the rate of fatal heart disease in 2013, it was by preserving lives.  Taken altogether, and contrary to current beliefs, statin discontinuation may not only not result in mortality increase, but it could even have favorable clinical effects. Scientists should seriously examine the issue in the near future by investigating the real effects of statin discontinuation rather than making dubious extrapolations and calculations. In the meantime, patients and physicians ought to just as seriously consider whether statin therapy is useful in each particular case as statin discontinuation definitely does not seem to be associated with deleterious effects….”

As we enter the year of our Lord, 2018, don’t forget to browse the study, Association of Statin Exposure With Histologically Confirmed Idiopathic Inflammatory Myositis in an Australian Population, which was published in last month’s issue of JAMA Internal Medicine.  The authors concluded that, “there was a statistically significant 79% increased likelihood of statin exposure in patients with idiopathic inflammatory myositis compared with controls.”  What is IIM?  Idiopathic inflammatory myositis refers to “itis” (INFLAMMATION) of the heart and surrounding blood supply that is “idos” (origin unknown). 

Not surprisingly, the longer a person had been on statins, the greater their chances of developing IIM.  Between the years 2000 and 2002, 6% of the IIM population was taking a statin.  By 2012, that number had climbed to half for those on statin drugs for a decade or more.  Dr Marc Micozzi (MD / Ph.D) said this of the phenomenon in last month’s article, The Blockbuster Drugs Linked to Permanent Heart Damage.  “The severe and debilitating inflammatory myositis does not resolve when statins are stopped. And it can result in a permanent autoimmune disorder.” So now we have statins causing, or at least contributing to AUTOIMMUNITY (which it also does with both DEMENTIA and NEUROPATHY)

Look folks, I could have gone on and on and on with this post.  Despite what your doctor is trying to convince you of, statins are not everything they have made out to be. In fact, the more I learn the more I wonder if they are anything they’ve been made out to be?  For those of you looking for more information, take a peek at the video put together by Dr. Sam Eggersten, a family physician who has been seeing patients since 1979.  And for those of you looking for a way to break free from the pain, inflammation, and chronic conditions you’ve been plagued with for way too long, be sure and check out THIS ULTRA-COOL POST.  Oh, and don’t forget to like, share, or follow on FACEBOOK as it’s arguably the best way to reach those you love and care about most with life-changing information.

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