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statins and als


Statins ALS

Just a few short weeks ago I broke down and cried with a patient who had recently been diagnosed with ALS.  It was all I could do to pull myself together to see my next patient.  As a devoutly Christian woman, she is not at all afraid of dying, it’s just that dying with ALS (Lou Gherig’s Disease) can shake the confidence of even the most devout. Because she’s been a patient for such a long time, I’m not really sure if she is on STATINS or not, but after reading Dr. Malcolm Kendrick’s article from earlier this week (Statins and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), I’m certainly going to find out.

In his article, Dr. Kendrick, a Scottish GP, discussed a study from this month’s issue of Drug Safety called Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Associated with Statin Use: A Disproportionality Analysis of the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System.  The authors of this study reported that “These findings extend previous evidence showing that significantly elevated ALS reporting extends to individual statin agents, and add to concerns about potential elevated occurrence of ALS-like conditions in association with statin usage.” 

Not surprisingly, the study was done by the venerable statin researcher, DR. BEATRICE GOLOMB (MD / Ph.D) and her Statin Study Group from UCSD.  When you see the numbers they came up with, it’s nothing less than a shock to the system.

Cholesterol is critical for the proper function of numerous bodily systems.  It makes up the LIPID BI-LAYER OF THE CELL MEMBRANE of all 100 trillion of your body’s cells.  It is the precursor for all SEX HORMONESGLIAL CELLS make their own cholesterol in order to generate the myelin sheaths that surround nerves.  There are a plethora of others.

After mentioning a 2007 report by another governmental agency (WHO) warning of the same relationship (a relationship denied by our TRUST-US-FDA in 2008 — HERE), Kendrick started breaking down the numbers for us.  For instance, if you take Rosuvastatin (Crestor), your chances of developing ALS go up over 800%.  If Pravastatin (Pravachol) is your statin of choice, you just increased your chances of developing ALS by 1,500%. 

The two most common statin drugs on the market; Atorvastatin (Lipitor) and Simvastatin (Zocor / FloLipid) ratchet up those odds by 1,600% and 2,200% respectively.  And finally, for anyone who might be taking Lovastatin, your chances of developing Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis just increased by an almost unfathomable 107 times or 10,600%.  Kendrick went on to explain the significance…

“It is often said that association does not mean causation. However, this is only true up to a point. Most statisticians agree that an odds ratio over 6 represents proof of causation. When you find that people taking atorvastatin have a seventeen-fold increase in risk of ALS, this is proof of causation. The effect is too massive to be due to anything else.”

For the record, the odds ratios determined for these various statins varied from a low of 6.57 to a high of 167.  Not a misprint.  This means that a rare disease like ALS that would normally affect between nine and ten thousand people a year in the US, is now affecting far greater numbers —- something we are seeing in Westernized nations around the globe. 

Although the statistics Dr. Michael Roizen touts would likely be higher since as near as I can tell he wrote this approximately 15 years ago, pay attention to what the “Chief Wellness Officer” of the Cleveland Clinic said in this quote from ShareCare (How Many People Take Statin Drugs?)

“15 million Americans are now taking a statin drug, according to the large pharmaceutical survey organization (IMS, Instructional Management Systems), most don’t take the drug as they should. Only 32 percent take statins as their doctor prescribed — many skip taking over 50 percent of their pills or even any pills. Furthermore, even though the National Institutes of Health recommends that 35 million Americans take statins, considerably more than that actually do.

If all the benefits we think statins provide actually prove to be true, perhaps statins should be taken regularly by almost all of us, as aspirin is, and started at about the same time, age thirty-five or forty. At the present time, we can’t recommend that practice, for two reasons. First, as mentioned, statins are so new that we don’t know if they have negative effects from long-term use. Second, you don’t want too low a cholesterol value, as this may cause neurologic or immune dysfunction.”

First off, realize that there are more doctors than you realize who think that in similar fashion to FLUORIDE or CHLORINE, statins ought to be included in our public water supply (HERE).  Secondly, the reason that most people don’t take the drugs as they should is because of their zany side effect profile (muscle pain, DEPRESSION, and DEMENTIA are only a few of the known side effects).  Thirdly, why would someone who is a spokesman for medical “wellness” be pushing statins so ardently?  And lastly, the final sentence above reveals that doctors know good and well what statins can do to the nervous system.

Dr. Kendrick went on to show that because adverse events and the death rate of many diseases (ALS included) are not being accurately reported (HERE is a classic example of this phenomenon) the result is that this relationship is not being widely reported either.  Unfortunately, several meta-analysis have shown that adverse events are only reported to the proper authorities between 5 and 1% of the time (HERE). 

So, there are strong signals that ALS has sharply increased in several countries…. Cause and effect? Well, if the study in Drug Safety is correct, there must have been a rise in ALS caused by statins.  If statins are causing ALS in 10,000 people each year in the UK and the US, alone, should we not be demanding an immediate review? Because the number one requirement of medicine is First, do no harm.” 

When AE’s are rarely reported, drugs wind up looking far safer than they actually are.

Be aware that if you are one of the hundreds of millions of Americans struggling with CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY DISEASES (diabetes, heart disease, cancer, high cholesterol, weight issues, etc) or AUTOIMMUNITY, there are some steps you can start taking to restore normal physiology and homeostasis to your system (HERE).  Oh; and if you thought this post was beneficial, be sure and share it with those you love and care about most on FACEBOOK.


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