Hypercholesterolemia is the health issue of the 21st century. It is actually an invented disease, a “problem” that emerged when health professionals learned how to measure cholesterol levels in the blood. High cholesterol exhibits no outward signs–unlike other conditions of the blood, such as diabetes or anemia, diseases that manifest telltale symptoms like thirst or weakness–hypercholesterolemia requires the services of a physician to detect its presence. Many people who feel perfectly healthy suffer from high cholesterol–in fact, feeling good is actually a symptom of high cholesterol!
Doctors who treat this new disease must first convince their patients that they are sick and need to take one or more expensive drugs for the rest of their lives, drugs that require regular checkups and blood tests. But such doctors do not work in a vacuum–their efforts to convert healthy people into patients are bolstered by the full weight of the US government, the media and the medical establishment, agencies that have worked in concert to disseminate the cholesterol dogma and convince the population that high cholesterol is the forerunner of heart disease and possibly other diseases as well.
Who suffers from hypercholesterolemia? Peruse the medical literature of 25 or 30 years ago and you’ll get the following answer: any middle-aged man whose cholesterol is over 240 with other risk factors, such as smoking or overweight. After the Cholesterol Consensus Conference in 1984, the parameters changed; anyone (male or female) with cholesterol over 200 could receive the dreaded diagnosis and a prescription for pills. Recently that number has been moved down to 180. If you have suffered from a heart attack, you get to take cholesterol-lowering medicines even if your cholesterol is already very low–after all, you have committed the sin of having a heart attack so your cholesterol must therefore be too high. The penance is a lifetime of cholesterol-lowering medications along with a boring lowfat diet. But why wait until you have a heart attack? Since we all labor under the stigma of original sin, we are all candidates for treatment. Current dogma stipulates cholesterol testing and treatment for young adults and even children.
The drugs that doctors use to treat the new disease are called statins–sold under a variety of names including Lipitor (atorvastatin), Zocor (simvastatin), Mevacor (lovastatin) and Pravachol (pravastatin).
How Statins Work
The diagram below illustrates the pathways involved in cholesterol production. The process begins with acetyl-CoA, a two-carbon molecule sometimes referred to as the “building block of life.” Three acetyl-CoA molecules combine to form six-carbon hydroxymethyl glutaric acid (HMG). The step from HMG to mevalonate requires an enzyme, HMG-CoA reductase. Statin drugs work by inhibiting this enzyme–hence the formal name of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. Herein lies one potential for numerous side effects, because statin drugs inhibit not just the production of cholesterol, but a whole family of intermediary substances, many if not all of which have important biochemical functions in their own right.
Consider the findings of pediatricians at the University of California, San Diego who published a description of a child with an hereditary defect of mevalonic kinase, the enzyme that facilitates the next step beyond HMG-CoA reductase.1 The child was mentally retarded, microcephalic (very small head), small for his age, profoundly anemic, acidotic and febrile. He also had cataracts. Predictably, his cholesterol was consistently low–70-79 mg/dl. He died at the age of 24 months. The child represents an extreme example of cholesterol inhibition, but his case illuminates the possible consequences of taking statins in strong doses or for a lengthy period of time–depression of mental acuity, anemia, acidosis, frequent fevers and cataracts.
Cholesterol is one of three end products in the mevalonate chain. The two others are ubiquinone and dolichol. Ubiquinone or Co-Enzyme Q10 is a critical cellular nutrient biosynthesized in the mitochondria. It plays a role in ATP production in the cells and functions as an electron carrier to cytochrome oxidase, our main respiratory enzyme. The heart requires high levels of Co-Q10. A form of Co-Q10 is found in all cell membranes, where it plays a role in maintaining membrane integrity, which is critical to nerve conduction and muscle integrity. Co-Q10 is also vital to the formation of elastin and collagen. Side effects of Co-Q10 deficiency include muscle wasting leading to weakness and severe back pain, heart failure (the heart is a muscle!), neuropathy and inflammation of the tendons and ligaments, often leading to rupture.
Dolichols also play a role of immense importance. In the cells they direct various proteins manufactured in response to DNA directives to their proper targets, ensuring that the cells respond correctly to genetically programmed instruction. Thus statin drugs can lead to unpredictable chaos on the cellular level.
Squalene, the immediate precursor to cholesterol, is in turn the biochemical precursor to a whole family of steroid hormones; research indicates that squalene inhibits blood vessel formation in tumors, raising the possibility that it may have anti-cancer effects.
The fact that some studies have shown that statins can prevent heart disease, at least in the short term, is most likely explained not by the inhibition of cholesterol production but because they block the creation of mevalonate. Reduced amounts of mevalonate seem to make smooth muscle cells less active and platelets less able to produce thromboxane. Atherosclerosis begins with the growth of smooth muscle cells inside artery walls and thromboxane is necessary for blood clotting.
Of course, statins inhibit the production of cholesterol–they do this very well. Nowhere is the failure of our medical system more evident than in the wholesale acceptance of cholesterol reduction as a way to prevent disease–have all these doctors forgotten what they learned in Biochemistry 101 about the many roles of cholesterol in the human biochemistry? Every cell membrane in our body contains cholesterol because cholesterol is what makes our cells waterproof–without cholesterol we could not have a different biochemistry on the inside and the outside of the cell. When cholesterol levels are not adequate, the cell membrane becomes leaky or porous, a situation the body interprets as an emergency, releasing a flood of corticoid hormones that work by sequestering cholesterol from one part of the body and transporting it to areas where it is lacking. Cholesterol is the body’s repair substance: scar tissue contains high levels of cholesterol, including scar tissue in the arteries.
Cholesterol is the precursor to vitamin D, necessary for numerous biochemical processes including mineral metabolism. The bile salts, required for the digestion of fat, are made of cholesterol. Those who suffer from low cholesterol often have trouble digesting fats. Cholesterol may also protect us against cancer as low cholesterol levels are associated with increased rates of cancer.
Cholesterol is vital to proper neurological function. It plays a key role in the formation of memory and the uptake of hormones in the brain, including serotonin, the body’s feel-good chemical. When cholesterol levels drop too low, the serotonin receptors cannot work. Cholesterol is a major component of the brain, much of it in the myelin sheaths that insulate nerve cells and in the synapses that transmit nerve impulses.
Some researchers believe that cholesterol acts as an antioxidant.2 This is the likely explanation for the fact that cholesterol levels tend to go up with age. As an antioxidant, cholesterol protects us against free radical damage that leads to heart disease and cancer.
Finally, cholesterol is the precursor to all the hormones produced in the adrenal cortex including glucocorticoids, which regulate blood sugar levels, and mineralocorticoids, which regulate mineral balance. Corticoids are the cholesterol-based adrenal hormones that the body uses in response to stress of various types; they promote healing and balance the tendency to inflammation. The adrenal cortex also produces sex hormones, including testosterone, estrogen and progesterone, out of cholesterol. Thus, low cholesterol–whether due to an innate error of metabolism or induced by cholesterol-lowering diets and drugs–can be expected to disrupt the production of adrenal hormones and lead to blood sugar problems, edema, mineral deficiencies, chronic inflammation, difficulty in healing, allergies, asthma, reduced libido, infertility and various reproductive problems.
Enter the Statins
Statin drugs entered the market with great promise. They replaced a class of pharmaceuticals that lowered cholesterol by preventing its absorption from the gut. These early drugs often had immediate and unpleasant side effects, including nausea, indigestion and constipation, and in the typical patient they lowered cholesterol levels only slightly. Patient compliance was low: the benefit did not seem worth the side effects and the potential for use was very limited. By contrast, statin drugs had no immediate side effects: they did not cause nausea or indigestion and they were consistently effective, often lowering cholesterol levels by 50 points or more.
During the last 20 years, the industry has mounted an incredible promotional campaign–enlisting scientists, advertising agencies, the media and the medical profession in a blitz that turned the statins into one of the bestselling pharmaceuticals of all time. Sixteen million Americans now take Lipitor, the most popular statin, and drug company officials claim that 36 million Americans are candidates for statin drug therapy. What bedevils the industry is growing reports of side effects that manifest many months after the commencement of therapy; the November 2003 issue of Smart Money magazine reports on a 1999 study at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London (apparently unpublished), which found that 36 percent of patients on Lipitor’s highest dose reported side effects; even at the lowest dose, 10 percent reported side effects.3
Muscle Pain and Weakness
The most common side effect is muscle pain and weakness, a condition called rhabdomyolysis, most likely due to the depletion of Co-Q10, a nutrient that supports muscle function. Dr. Beatrice Golomb of San Diego, California is currently conducting a series of studies on statin side effects. The industry insists that only 2-3 percent of patients get muscle aches and cramps but in one study, Golomb found that 98 percent of patients taking Lipitor and one-third of the patients taking Mevachor (a lower-dose statin) suffered from muscle problems.4 A message board devoted to Lipitor at forum.ditonline.com (update 09 JUL 2007: reader alerted us the forum is now defunct) contained more than 800 posts, many detailing severe side effects. The Lipitor board at www.rxlist.com contains more than 2,600 posts (click on Message Boards at upper left and then choose Lipitor; also note that as of 09 JUL 2007 there are 3,857 messages).
The test for muscle wasting or rhabdomyolysis is elevated levels of a chemical called creatine kinase (CK). But many people experience pain and fatigue even though they have normal CK levels.5
Tahoe City resident Doug Peterson developed slurred speech, balance problems and severe fatigue after three years on Lipitor–for the first two-and-one-half years, he had no side effects at all.6 It began with restless sleep patterns–twitching and flailing his arms. Loss of balance followed and the beginning of what Doug calls the “statin shuffle”–a slow, wobbly walk across the room. Fine motor skills suffered next. It took him five minutes to write four words, much of which was illegible. Cognitive function also declined. It was hard to convince his doctors that Lipitor could be the culprit, but when he finally stopped taking it, his coordination and memory improved.
John Altrocchi took Mevacor for three years without side effects; then he developed calf pain so severe he could hardly walk. He also experienced episodes of temporary memory loss.
For some, however, muscle problems show up shortly after treatment begins. Ed Ontiveros began having muscle problems within 30 days of taking Lipitor. He fell in the bathroom and had trouble getting up. The weakness subsided when he went off Lipitor. In another case, reported in the medical journal Heart, a patient developed rhabdomyolysis after a single dose of a statin.7 Heel pain from plantar fascitis is another common complaint among those taking statin drugs. One correspondent reported the onset of pain in the feet shortly after beginning statin treatment. She had visited an evangelist, requesting that he pray for her sore feet. He enquired whether she was taking Lipitor. When she said yes, he told her that his feet had also hurt when he took Lipitor.8
Active people are much more likely to develop problems from statin use than those who are sedentary. In a study carried out in Austria, only six out of 22 athletes with familial hypercholesterolemia were able to endure statin treatment.9 The others discontinued treatment because of muscle pain.
By the way, other cholesterol-lowering agents besides statin drugs can cause joint pain and muscle weakness. A report in Southern Medical Journal described muscle pains and weakness in a man who took Chinese red rice, an herbal preparation that lowers cholesterol.10 Anyone suffering from myopathy, fibromyalgia, coordination problems and fatigue needs to look at low cholesterol plus Co-Q10 deficiency as a possible cause.
Polyneuropathy, also known as peripheral neuropathy, is characterized by weakness, tingling and pain in the hands and feet, as well as difficulty walking. Researchers who studied 500,000 residents of Denmark, about 9 percent of that country’s population, found that people who took statins were more likely to develop polyneuropathy.11 Taking statins for one year raised the risk of nerve damage by about 15 percent–about one case for every 2,200 patients. For those who took statins for two or more years, the additional risk rose to 26 percent.
According to the research of Dr. Golomb, nerve problems are a common side effect from statin use; patients who use statins for two or more years are at a 4- to 14-fold increased risk of developing idiopathic polyneuropathy compared to controls.12 She reports that in many cases, patients told her they had complained to their doctors about neurological problems, only to be assured that their symptoms could not be related to cholesterol-lowering medications.
The damage is often irreversible. People who take large doses for a long time may be left with permanent nerve damage, even after they stop taking the drug.
An interesting question is whether widespread statin-induced neuropathy makes our elderly drivers (and even not-so-elderly drivers) more accident prone? In July of 2003, an 86-year-old driver with an excellent driving record plowed into a farmers market in Santa Monica, California, killing ten people. Several days later, a most interesting letter from a Lake Oswego, Oregon woman appeared in the Washington Post:13
“My husband, at age 68, backed into the garage and stepped on the gas, wrecking a lot of stuff. He said his foot slipped off the brake. He had health problems and is on medication, including a cholesterol drug, which is now known to cause problems with feeling in one’s legs.
“In my little community, older drivers have missed a turn and taken out the end of a music store, the double doors of the post office and the front of a bakery. In Portland, a bank had to do without its drive-up window for some time.
“It is easy to say that one’s foot slipped, but the problem could be lack of sensation. My husband’s sister-in-law thought her car was malfunctioning when it refused to go when a light turned green, until she looked down and saw that her foot was on the brake. I have another friend who mentioned having no feeling in her lower extremities. She thought about having her car retrofitted with hand controls but opted for the handicapped bus instead.”
We are currently in the midst of a congestive heart failure epidemic in the United States–while the incidence of heart attack has declined slightly, an increase in the number heart failure cases has outpaced these gains. Deaths attributed to heart failure more than doubled from 1989 to 1997.14 (Statins were first given pre-market approval in 1987.) Interference with production of Co-Q10 by statin drugs is the most likely explanation. The heart is a muscle and it cannot work when deprived of Co-Q10.
Cardiologist Peter Langsjoen studied 20 patients with completely normal heart function. After six months on a low dose of 20 mg of Lipitor a day, two-thirds of the patients had abnormalities in the heart’s filling phase, when the muscle fills with blood. According to Langsjoen, this malfunction is due to Co-Q10 depletion. Without Co-Q10, the cell’s mitochondria are inhibited from producing energy, leading to muscle pain and weakness. The heart is especially susceptible because it uses so much energy.15
Co-Q10 depletion becomes more and more of a problem as the pharmaceutical industry encourages doctors to lower cholesterol levels in their patients by greater and greater amounts. Fifteen animal studies in six different animal species have documented statin-induced Co-Q10 depletion leading to decreased ATP production, increased injury from heart failure, skeletal muscle injury and increased mortality. Of the nine controlled trials on statin-induced Co-Q10 depletion in humans, eight showed significant Co-Q10 depletion leading to decline in left ventricular function and biochemical imbalances.16
Yet virtually all patients with heart failure are put on statin drugs, even if their cholesterol is already low. Of interest is a recent study indicating that patients with chronic heart failure benefit from having high levels of cholesterol rather than low. Researchers in Hull, UK followed 114 heart failure patients for at least 12 months.17 Survival was 78 percent at 12 months and 56 percent at 36 months. They found that for every point of decrease in serum cholesterol, there was a 36 percent increase in the risk of death within three years.
Dizziness is commonly associated with statin use, possibly due to blood pressure-lowering effects. One woman reported dizziness one half hour after taking Pravachol.18 When she stopped taking it, the dizziness cleared up. Blood pressure lowering has been reported with several statins in published studies. According to Dr. Golumb, who notes that dizziness is a common adverse effect, the elderly may be particularly sensitive to drops in blood pressure.19
The November 2003 issue of Smart Money20 describes the case of Mike Hope, owner of a successful ophthalmologic supply company: “There’s an awkward silence when you ask Mike Hope his age. He doesn’t change the subject or stammer, or make a silly joke about how he stopped counting at 21. He simply doesn’t remember. Ten seconds pass. Then 20. Finally an answer comes to him. ‘I’m 56,’ he says. Close, but not quite. ‘I will be 56 this year.’ Later, if you happen to ask him about the book he’s reading, you’ll hit another roadblock. He can’t recall the title, the author or the plot.” Statin use since 1998 has caused his speech and memory to fade. He was forced to close his business and went on Social Security ten years early. Things improved when he discontinued Lipitor in 2002, but he is far from complete recovery–he still cannot sustain a conversation. What Lipitor did was turn Mike Hope into an old man when he was in the prime of life.
Cases like Mike’s have shown up in the medical literature as well. An article in Pharmacotherapy, December 2003, for example, reports two cases of cognitive impairment associated with Lipitor and Zocor.21 Both patients suffered progressive cognitive decline that reversed completely within a month after discontinuation of the statins. A study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh showed that patients treated with statins for six months compared poorly with patients on a placebo in solving complex mazes, psychomotor skills and memory tests.22
Dr. Golomb has found that 15 percent of statin patients develop some cognitive side effects.23 The most harrowing involve global transient amnesia–complete memory loss for a brief or lengthy period–described by former astronaut Duane Graveline in his book Lipitor: Thief of Memory.24 Sufferers report baffling incidents involving complete loss of memory–arriving at a store and not remembering why they are there, unable to remember their name or the names of their loved ones, unable to find their way home in the car. These episodes occur suddenly and disappear just as suddenly. Graveline points out that we are all at risk when the general public is taking statins–do you want to be in an airplane when your pilot develops statin-induced amnesia?
Statins seem to cause a range of cognitive problems, especially elderly patients. Two randomized trials that were designed to assess cognitive effects of statins have shown worsening in cognitive function. In addition, several case reports and one large case series (involving 60 patients) have reported deleterious cognitive effects of statins on memory and cognitive function.25
In every study with rodents to date, statins have caused cancer.26 Why have we not seen such a dramatic correlation in human studies? Because cancer takes a long time to develop and most of the statin trials do not go on longer than two or three years. Still, in one trial, the CARE trial, breast cancer rates of those taking a statin went up 1500 percent.27 In the Heart Protection Study, non-melanoma skin cancer occurred in 243 patients treated with simvastatin (a total of 10,269) compared with 202 cases in the control group (a total of 10,267).28
Manufacturers of statin drugs have recognized the fact that statins depress the immune system, an effect that can lead to cancer and infectious disease, recommending statin use for inflammatory arthritis and as an immune suppressor for transplant patients.29
The medical literature contains several reports of pancreatitis in patients taking statins. One paper describes the case of a 49-year-old woman who was admitted to the hospital with diarrhea and septic shock one month after beginning treatment with lovastatin. She died after prolonged hospitalization; the cause of death was necrotizing pancreatitis. Her doctors noted that the patient had no evidence of common risk factors for acute pancreatitis, such as biliary tract disease or alcohol use. “Prescribers of statins (particularly simvastatin and lovastatin) should take into account the possibility of acute pancreatitis in patients who develop abdominal pain within the first weeks of treatment with these drugs,” they warned. By contrast, a review of published case studies found that pancreatitis was more likely to occur after many months of statin use.30
Several studies have noted a correlation of low cholesterol with depression, suicide and violence. For example, a study of over 29,000 men in Finland found that low cholesterol levels were associated with an increased risk of hospitalization due to depression and of death from suicide.31 Another study found that women with low cholesterol are twice as likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. Researchers from Duke University Medical Center carried out personality trait measurements on 121 young women aged 18 to 27.32 They found that 39 percent of the women with low cholesterol levels scored high on personality traits that signalled proneness to depression, compared to 19 percent of women with normal or high levels of cholesterol. In addition, one in three of the women with low cholesterol levels scored high on anxiety indicators, compared to 21 percent with normal levels. Yet the author of the study, Dr. Edward Suarez, cautioned women with low cholesterol against eating “foods such as cream cakes” to raise cholesterol, warning that these types of food “can cause heart disease.” In previous studies on men, Dr. Suarez found that men who lower their cholesterol levels with medication have increased rates of suicide and violent death, leading the researchers to theorize “that low cholesterol levels were causing mood disturbances.”
How many elderly statin-takers eke through their golden years feeling miserable and depressed, when they should be enjoying their grandchildren and looking back with pride on their accomplishments? But that is the new dogma–you may have a long life as long as it is experienced as a vale of tears.
Most doctors are convinced–and seek to convince their patients–that the benefits of statin drugs far outweigh the side effects. They can cite a number of studies in which statin use has lowered the number of coronary deaths compared to controls. But as Dr. Ravnskov has pointed out in his book The Cholesterol Myths,33 the results of the major studies up to the year 2000–the 4S, WOSCOPS, CARE, AFCAPS and LIPID studies–generally showed only small differences and these differences were often statistically insignificant and independent of the amount of cholesterol lowering achieved. In two studies, EXCEL and FACAPT/TexCAPS, more deaths occurred in the treatment group compared to controls. Dr. Ravnskov’s 1992 meta-analysis of 26 controlled cholesterol-lowering trials found an equal number of cardiovascular deaths in the treatment and control groups and a greater number of total deaths in the treatment groups.34 An analysis of all the big controlled trials reported before 2000 found that long-term use of statins for primary prevention of heart disase produced a 1 percent greater risk of death over 10 years compared to a placebo.35
Recently published studies do not provide any more justification for the current campaign to put as many people as possible on statin drugs.
Honolulu Heart Program (2001)
This report, part of an ongoing study, looked at cholesterol lowering in the elderly. Researchers compared changes in cholesterol concentrations over 20 years with all-cause mortality.36 To quote: “Our data accords with previous findings of increased mortality in elderly people with low serum cholesterol, and show that long-term persistence of low cholesterol concentration actually increases risk of death. Thus, the earlier that patients start to have lower cholesterol concentrations, the greater the risk of death. . . The most striking findings were related to changes in cholesterol between examination three (1971-74) and examination four (1991-93). There are few studies that have cholesterol concentrations from the same patients at both middle age and old age. Although our results lend support to previous findings that low serum cholesterol imparts a poor outlook when compared with higher concentrations of cholesterol in elderly people, our data also suggest that those individuals with a low serum cholesterol maintained over a 20-year period will have the worst outlook for all-cause mortality [emphasis ours].”
The MIRACL study looked at the effects of a high dose of Lipitor on 3086 patients in the hospital after angina or nonfatal MI and followed them for 16 weeks.37 According to the abstract: “For patients with acute coronary syndrome, lipid-lowering therapy with atorvastatin, 80 mg/day, reduced recurrent ischemic events in the first 16 weeks, mostly recurrent symptomatic ischemia requiring rehospitalization.” What the abstract did not mention was the fact that there was no change in death rate compared to controls and no significant change in re-infarction rate or need for resuscitation from cardiac arrest. The only change was a significant drop in chest pain requiring rehospitalization.
ALLHAT (Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial), the largest North American cholesterol-lowering trial ever, showed that mortality of the treatment group and controls after three or six years was identical.38 Researchers used data from more than 10,000 participants given cholesterol-lowering drugs and followed them over a period of four years, comparing the use of a statin drug to “usual care,” namely maintaining proper body weight, no smoking, regular exercise, etc., in treating subjects with moderately high levels of LDL-cholesterol. Of the 5170 subjects in the group that received statin drugs, 28 percent lowered their LDL-cholesterol significantly. And of the 5185 usual-care subjects, about 11 percent had a similar drop in LDL. But both groups showed the same rates of death, heart attack and heart disease.
Heart Protection Study (2002)
Carried out at Oxford University,39 this study received widespread press coverage; researchers claimed “massive benefits” from cholesterol-lowering,40 leading one commentator to predict that statin drugs were “the new aspirin.”41 But as Dr. Ravnskov points out,42 the benefits were far from massive. Those who took simvastatin had an 87.1 percent survival rate after five years compared to an 85.4 percent survival rate for the controls, and these results were independent of the amount of cholesterol lowering. The authors of the Heart Protection Study never published cumulative mortality data, even though they received many requests to do so, and even though they received funding and carried out a study to look at cumulative data. According to the authors, providing year-by-year mortality data would be an “inappropriate” way of publishing their study results.43
PROSPER (Prospective Study of Pravastatin in the Elderly at Risk) studied the effect of pravastatin compared to a placebo in two older populations of patients of which 56 percent were primary prevention cases (no past or symptomatic cardiovascular disease) and 44 percent were secondary prevention cases (past or symptomatic cardiovascular disease).44 Pravastatin did not reduce total myocardial infarction or total stroke in the primary prevention population but did so in the secondary. However, measures of overall health impact in the combined populations, total mortality and total serious adverse events were unchanged by pravastatin as compared to the placebo, and those in the treatment group had increased cancer. In other words: not one life saved.
The Japanese Lipid Intervention Trial was a six-year study of 47,294 patients treated with the same dose of simvastatin.45 Patients were grouped by the amount of cholesterol lowering. Some patients had no reduction in LDL levels, some had a moderate fall in LDL and some had very large LDL reductions. The results: no correlation between the amount of LDL lowering and death rate at five years. Those with LDL cholesterol lower than 80 had a death rate of just over 3.5 at five years; those whose LDL was over 200 had a death rate of just over 3.5 at five years.
In a meta-analysis of 44 trials involving almost 10,000 patients, the death rate was identical at 1 percent of patients in each of the three groups–those taking atorvastatin (Lipitor), those taking other statins and those taking nothing.46 Furthermore, 65 percent of those on treatment versus 45 percent of the controls experienced an adverse event. Researchers claimed that the incidence of adverse effects was the same in all three groups, but 3 percent of the atorvastatin-treated patients and 4 percent of those receiving other statins withdrew due to treatment-associated adverse events, compared with 1 percent of patients on the placebo.
Statins and Plaque (2003)
A study published in the American Journal of Cardiology casts serious doubts on the commonly held belief that lowering your LDL-cholesterol, the so-called bad cholesterol, is the most effective way to reduced arterial plaque.47 Researchers at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City examined the coronary plaque buildup in 182 subjects who took statin drugs to lower cholesterol levels. One group of subjects used the drug aggressively (more than 80 mg per day) while the balance of the subjects took less than 80 mg per day. Using electron beam tomography, the researchers measured plaque in all of the subjects before and after a study period of more than one year. The subjects were generally successful in lowering their cholesterol, but in the end there was no statistical difference in the two groups in the progression of arterial calcified plaque. On average, subjects in both groups showed a 9.2 percent increase in plaque buildup.
Statins and Women (2003)
No study has shown a significant reduction in mortality in women treated with statins. The University of British Columbia Therapeutics Initiative came to the same conclusion, with the finding that statins offer no benefit to women for prevention of heart disease.48 Yet in February of 2004, the journal Circulation published an article in which more than 20 organizations endorsed cardiovascular disease prevention guidelines for women, with several mentions of “preferably a statin.”49
ASCOT-LLA (Anglo-Scandinavian Cardiac Outcomes Trial–Lipid Lowering Arm) was designed to assess the benefits of atorvastatin (Lipitor) versus a placebo in patients who had high blood pressure with average or lower-than-average cholesterol concentrations and at least three other cardiovascular risk factors.50 The trial was originally planned for five years but was stopped after a median follow-up of 3.3 years because of a significant reduction in cardiac events. Lipitor did reduce total myocardial infarction and total stroke; however, total mortality was not significantly reduced. In fact, women were worse off with treatment. The trial report stated that total serious adverse events “did not differ between patients assigned atorvastatin or placebo,” but did not supply the actual numbers of serious events.
Cholesterol Levels in Dialysis Patients (2004)
In a study of dialysis patients, those with higher cholesterol levels had lower mortality than those with low cholesterol.51 Yet the authors claimed that the “inverse association of total cholesterol level with mortality in dialysis patients is likely due to the cholesterol-lowering effect of systemic inflammation and malnutrition, not to a protective effect of high cholesterol concentrations.” Keeping an eye on further funding opportunities, the authors concluded: “These findings support treatment of hypercholesterolemia in this population.”
PROVE-IT (PRavastatin Or AtorVastatin Evaluation and Infection Study),52 led by researchers at Harvard University Medical School, attracted immense media attention. “Study of Two Cholesterol Drugs Finds One Halts Heart Disease,” was the headline in the New York Times.53 In an editorial entitled “Extra-Low Cholesterol,” the paper predicted that “The findings could certainly presage a significant change in the way heart disease patients are treated. It should also start a careful evaluation of whether normally healthy people could benefit from a sharp drug-induced reduction in their cholesterol levels.”54
The Washington Post was even more effusive, with a headline “Striking Benefits Found in Ultra-Low Cholesterol.”55 “Heart patients who achieved ultra-low cholesterol levels in one study were 16 percent less likely to get sicker or to die than those who hit what are usually considered optimal levels. The findings should prompt doctors to give much higher doses of drugs known as statins to hundreds of thousands of patients who already have severe heart problems, experts said. In addition, it will probably encourage physicians to start giving the medications to millions of healthy people who are not yet on them, and to boost dosages for some of those already taking them to lower their cholesterol even more, they said.”
The study compared two statin drugs, Lipitor and Pravachol. Although Bristol Myers-Squibb (BMS), makers of Pravachol, sponsored the study, Lipitor (made by Pfizer) outperformed its rival Pravachol in lowering LDL. The “striking benefit” was a 22 percent rate of death or further adverse coronary events in the Lipitor patients compared to 26 percent in the Pravachol patients.
PROVE-IT investigators took 4,162 patients who had been in the hospital following an MI or unstable angina. Half got Pravachol and half got Lipitor. Those taking Lipitor had the greatest reduction of LDL-cholesterol–LDL in the Pravachol group was 95, in the Lipitor group it was 62–a 32 percent greater reduction in LDL levels and a 16 percent reduction in all-cause mortality. But that 16 percent was a reduction in relative risk. As pointed out by Red Flags Daily columnist Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, the absolute reduction in the rate of the death rate of those taking Lipitor rather than Pravachol, was one percent, a decrease from 3.2 percent to 2.2 percent over 2 years.56 Or, to put it another way, a 0.5 percent absolute risk reduction per year–these were the figures that launched the massive campaign for cholesterol-lowering in people with no risk factors for heart disease, not even high cholesterol.
And the study was seriously flawed with what Kendrick calls “the two-variables conundrum.” “It is true that those with the greatest LDL lowering were protected against death. However, . . . those who were protected not only had a greater degree of LDL lowering, they were also on a different drug! Which is rather important, yet seems to have been swept aside on a wave of hype. If you really want to prove that the more you lower the LDL level, the greater the protection, then you must use the same drug. This achieves the absolutely critical requirement of any scientific experiment, which is to remove all possible uncontrolled variables. . . As this study presently stands, because they used different drugs, anyone can make the case that the benefits seen in the patients on atorvastatin [Lipitor] had nothing to do with greater LDL lowering; they were purely due to the direct drug effects of atorvastatin.” Kendrick notes that the carefully constructed J-LIT study, published two years earlier, found no correlation whatsoever between the amount of LDL lowering and the death rate. This study had ten times as many patients, lasted almost three times as long and used the same drug at the same dose in all patients. Not surprisingly, J-LIT attracted virtually no media attention.
PROVE-IT did not look at side effects but Dr. Andrew G. Bodnar, senior vice president for strategy and medical and external affairs at Bristol Meyer Squibb, makers of the losing statin, indicated that liver enzymes were elevated in 3.3 percent of the Lipitor group but only in 1.1 percent of the Pravachol group, noting that when liver enzyme levels rise, patients must be advised to stop taking the drug or reduce the dose.57 And withdrawal rates were very high: thirty-three percent of patients discontinued Pravachol and 30 percent discontinued Lipitor after two years due to adverse events or other reasons.58
In a similar study, carried out at the Cleveland Clinic, patients were given either Lipitor or Pravachol. Those receiving Lipitor achieved much lower LDL-cholesterol levels and a reversal in “the progression of coronary plaque aggregation.”59 Those who took Lipitor had plaque reduced by 0.4 percent over 18 months, based on intravascular ultrasound (not the more accurate tool of electron beam tomography). Dr. Eric Topol of the Cleveland Clinic claimed these decidedly unspectacular results “Herald a shake-up in the field of cardiovascular prevention. . . the implications of this turning point–that is, of the new era of intensive statin therapy–are profound. Even today, only a fraction of the patients who should be treated with a statin are actually receiving such therapy. . . More than 200 million people worldwide meet the criteria for treatment, but fewer than 25 million take statins.”60 Not surprisingly, an article in the Wall Street Journal noted “Lipitor Prescriptions Surge in Wake of Big Study.”61
But as Dr. Ravnskov points out, the investigators looked at change in atheroma volume, not the change in lumen area, “a more important parameter because it determines the amount of blood that can be delivered to the myocardium. Change of atheroma volume cannot be translated to clinical events because adaptive mechansims try to maintain a normal lumen area during early atherogenesis.”62
With such paltry evidence of benefit, statin drugs hardly merit the hyperbole heaped upon them. Yet the industry maintains a full court press, urging their use for greater and greater numbers of people, not only for cholesterol lowering but also as treatment for other diseases–cancer, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, stroke, macular degeneration, arthritis and even mental disorders such as memory and learning problems, Alzheimers and dementia.63 New guidelines published by the American College of Physicians call for statin use by all people with diabetes older than 55 and for younger diabetes patients who have any other risk factor for heart disease, such as high blood pressure or a history of smoking.64 David A. Drachman, professor of neurology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School calls statins “Viagra for the brain.”65 Other medical writers have heralded the polypill, composed of a statin drug mixed with a blood pressure medication, aspirin and niacin, as a prevent-all that everyone can take. The industry is also seeking the right to sell statins over the counter.
Can honest assessment find any possible use for these dangerous drugs? Dr. Peter Langsjoen of Tyler, Texas, suggests that statin drugs are appropriate only as a treatment for cases of advanced Cholesterol Neurosis, created by the industry’s anti-cholesterol propaganda. If you are concerned about your cholesterol, a statin drug will relieve you of your worries.
The best advertising for statin drugs is free front-page coverage following gushy press releases. But not everyone reads the paper or goes in for regular medical exams, so statin manufacturers pay big money for creative ways to create new users. For example, a new health awareness group called the Boomer Coalition supported ABC’s Academy Awards telecast in March of 2004 with a 30-second spot flashing nostalgic images of celebrities lost to cardiovascular disease–actor James Coburn, baseball star Don Drysdale and comedian Redd Foxx. While the Boomer Coalition sounds like a grass roots group of health activists, it is actually a creation of Pfizer, manufacturers of Lipitor. “We’re always looking for creative ways to break through what we’ve found to be a lack of awareness and action,” says Michal Fishman, a Pfizer spokeswoman. “We’re always looking for what people really think and what’s going to make people take action,” adding that there is a stigma about seeking treatment and many people “wrongly assume that if they are physically fit, they aren’t at risk for heart disease.”66 The Boomer Coalition website allows visitors to “sign up and take responsibility for your heart health,” by providing a user name, age, email address and blood pressure and cholesterol level.
A television ad in Canada admonished viewers to “Ask your doctor about the Heart Protection Study from Oxford University.” The ad did not urge viewers to ask their doctors about EXCEL, ALLHAT, ASCOT, MIRACL or PROSPER, studies that showed no benefit–and the potential for great harm–from taking statin drugs.
Statin drugs are very expensive–a course of statins for a year costs between $900 and $1400. They constitute the mostly widely sold pharmaceutical drug, accounting for 6.5 percent of market share and 12.5 billion dollars in revenue for the industry. Your insurance company may pay most of that cost, but consumers always ultimately pay with higher insurance premiums. Payment for statin drugs poses a huge burden for Medicare, so much so that funds may not be available for truly lifesaving medical measures.
In the UK, according to the National Health Service, doctors wrote 31 million prescriptions for statins in 2003, up from 1 million in 1995, at a cost of 7 billion pounds–and that’s just in one tiny island.67 In the US, statins currently bring in 12.5 billion dollars annually for the pharmaceutical industry. Sales of Lipitor, the number-one-selling statin, are projected to hit 10 billion dollars in 2005.
Even if statin drugs do provide some benefit, the cost is very high. In the WOSCOP clinical trial, in which healthy people with high cholesterol were treated with statins, the five-year death rate for treated subjects was reduced by a mere 0.6 percent. As Dr. Ravnskov points out,68 to achieve that slight reduction, about 165 healthy people had to be treated for five years to extend one life by five years. The cost for that one life comes to 1.2 million dollars. In the most optimistic calculations, the costs to save one year of life in patients with CHD is estimated at 10,000 dollars, and much more for healthy individuals. “This may not sound unreasonable,” says Dr. Ravnskov. “Isn’t a human life worth 10,000 dollars or more?”
“The implication of such reasoning is that to add as many years as possible, more than half of mankind should take statin drugs every day from an early age to the end of life. It is easy to calculate that the costs for such treatment would consume most of any government’s health budget. And if money is spent to give statin treatment to all healthy people, what will remain for the care of those who really need it? Shouldn’t health care be given primarily to the sick and the crippled?”
The Statin Shuffle
While the pill-pushers continue to promote cholesterol-lowering with a vengeance—a recent article published in the American Heart Journal (2006:785-92) announced that clinicians are “under-prescribing” statin drugs—evidence accumulates that the little pill taken by 12 million Americans (a number the pharmaceutical industry would like to triple) may be bad news for a lot of people in a lot of ways. One recent study found that statin treatment caused a deterioration of blood sugar control in diabetics (Atheroscler Thromb 2006 Apr;13(2):95-100). Another reports that statin-induced cholesterol lowering causes muscular damage even when the patient has no symptoms of pain or weakness (J Pathol 2006 210(1):94-102). Another found elevated risk of lymphoid malignancy with statin use among Japanese patients (Cancer Sci 2006;97:133-138). Yet another presents evidence that statins interfere with selenium pathways (Lancet 363:892-94, 2004). Very low cholesterol is associated with poor survival in heart failure patents (American Journal of Cardiology, September 2006), a finding the study author called “counter intuitive.” Most serious is accumulating evidence that cholesterol-lowering is bad for our brains. One new study indicates that a decline in total cholesterol levels precedes the diagnosis of dementia by at least fifteen years (Archives of Neurology 2007;64:103-107). Evidence that low levels of LDL-cholesterol are associated with Parkinson’s disease have become so strong that a team at the University of North Carolina is planning to explore the link with clinical trials involving thousands of subjects (Reuters, January 15, 2007). Cholesterol circulating in the bloodstream is unavailable to the brain—both LDL and HDL are too large to pass the blood-brain barrier, so cholesterol needed by the brain must be manufactured in the brain. Statins, however, do pass the barrier and enter the brain where they can interfere with cholesterol production and set the scene for cognitive decline.
A Better Way
If statins work, they do so by reducing inflammation, not because they lower cholesterol. Statins block the production of mevalonate leading to inhibition of platelet clumping and reduction of inflammation in the artery walls. However, simple changes in the diet can achieve the same effect without also cutting off the body’s vital supply of cholesterol:
- Avoid trans fats, known to contribute to inflammation
- Avoid refined sugars, especially fructose, known to stimulate clumping of the blood platelets
- Take cod liver oil, an excellent dietary source of anti-inflammatory vitamin A, vitamin D and EPA
- Eat plenty of saturated fats, which encourage the production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins
- Take evening primrose, borage or black currant oil, sources of GLA which the body uses to make anti-inflammatory prostaglandins
- Eat foods high in copper, especially liver; copper deficiency is associatied with clot formation and inflammation in the arteries
- Eat coconut oil and coconut products; coconut oil protects against bacteria and viruses that can lead to inflammation in the artery wall
- Avoid reduced-fat milks and powdered milk products (such as powdered whey); they contain oxidized cholesterol, shown to cause irritation of the artery wall
Doctors and other health professionals claim there is ample proof that animal fats cause heart disease while they confidently advise us to adopt a lowfat diet; actually the literature contains only two studies involving humans that compared the outcome (not markers like cholesterol levels) of a diet high in animal fat with a diet based on vegetable oils, and both showed that animal fats are protective.
The Anti-Coronary Club project, launched in 1957 and published in 1966 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, compared two groups of New York businessmen, aged 40 to 59 years. One group followed the so-called “Prudent Diet” consisting of corn oil and margarine instead of butter, cold breakfast cereals instead of eggs and chicken and fish instead of beef; a control group ate eggs for breakfast and meat three times per day. The final report noted that the Prudent Dieters had average serum cholesterol of 220 mg/l, compared to 250 mg/l in the eggs-and-meat group. But there were eight deaths from heart disease among Prudent Dieter group, and none among those who ate meat three times a day (JAMA 1966 Nov 7;198(6):597-604; Bulletin NY Academy of Medicine 1968).
In a study published in the British Medical Journal, 1965, patients who had already had a heart attack were divided into three groups: one group got polyunsaturated corn oil, the second got monounsaturated olive oil and the third group was told to eat animal fat. After two years, the corn oil group had 30 percent lower cholesterol, but only 52 percent of them were still alive. The olive oil group fared little better–only 57 percent were alive after two years. But of the group that ate mostly animal fat, 75 percent were still alive after two years (British Medical Journal 1965 1:1531-33).
What About Aspirin?
The other drug recommended for prevention of heart attacks and strokes is aspirin. Estimates suggest that 20 million persons are taking aspirin daily for prevention of vascular accidents. Yet at least four studies have shown no benefit. A study using Bufferin (aspirin and magnesium) showed no reduction in fatal heart attacks and no improvement in survival rate but a 40 percent decrease in the number of nonfatal heart attacks. Commentators reported these results as showing the benefit of aspirin, ignoring the fact that magnesium is of proven benefit in heart disease. Aspirin inhibits the enzyme Delta-6 Desaturase, needed for the production of Gamma-Linoleic Acid (GLA) and important anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. This fact explains many of aspirin’s side effects, including gastrointestinal bleeding and increased risk of macular degeneration and cataract formation. Other side effects include increased risk of pancreatic cancer, acid reflux, asthma attacks, kidney damage, liver problems, ulcers, anemia, hearing loss, allergic reactions, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness and even hallucinations (James Howenstine, NewsWithViews.com, April 21, 2004).
Late-Breaking Cholesterol News
Researchers at the Tulane University School of Medicine used electron beam tomography (EBT) to measure the progression of plaque buildup in heart-attack patients taking statin drugs. EBT is a very accurate way to measure occlusion from calcium in the arteries. Contrary to expectations, the researchers discovered that the progression of coronary artery calcium (CAC) was significantly greater in patients receiving statins compared with event-free subjects despite similar levels of LDL-lowering. Said the researchers: “Continued expansion of CAC may indicate failure of some patients to benefit from statin therapy and an increased risk of having cardiovascular events (Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol, April 1, 2004).
Doctors have discovered that injections of a certain substance can reverse heart disease in some patients. The therapy has helped reduce the amount of plaque in the arteries, thereby negating the need for angioplasty and open heart surgery. That substance is HDL-cholesterol (www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert, March 1, 2004).
The Melbourne Women’s Midlife Health Project measured cholesterol levels annually in a group of 326 women aged 52-63 years. During the eighth annual visit, subjects took a test that assessed memory. They found that higher serum concentrations of LDL-cholesterol and relatively recent increases in total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol were associated with better memory in healthy middle-aged women (J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2003;74:1530-1535.)
Read the Fine Print
The picture in a recent ad for Lipitor implies that cholesterol-lowering is for everyone, even slim young women. However, in the fine print we learn that Lipitor “has not been shown to prevent heart disease or heart attacks”! If the makers of Lipitor need to provide this disclaimer, after millions of dollars invested in studies, why should anyone risk side effects by taking their drug?
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This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2004.🖨️ Print post
asthma medications list says
I prefer organic medicine
I was on Lipitor for about a month when i developed hives and extreme pain in my hips, arms, then hands. I could barely move. I stopped Lipitor, then had to take an NSAID in order to combat the inflammation, which in turn stopped the pain. Instead i was put on ezetimibe and i changed my diet dramatically. My cholesterol has dropped from 290 to 237. However, my neurologist informed me that while it’s great that my cholesterol is down, i MUST MUST MUST be on a statin in order to avoid stroke ( i have had a mini stroke). SIGH. Now i feel pressure to become a Guinea pig while i try different STATINs to figure out which one wont give me pain etc.
My 16 year old daughter has FH. Her father died of heart attack at 35 with evidence of previous attacks on his heart. He smoked and did not live a healthy lifestyle. We do not know what her father’s cholesterol was at death, but his father had levels in the 700s and has had 4 stints put in and now has more health issues in recent years. My daughter has been hovering in the upper 200s for total cholesterol for years now and also has elevated lipoprotein a. The cardiologist she sees recommends aspirin therapy, fish oil and statins. My daughter isn’t taking anything. She had a bad reaction to a statin at 12 years old and has basically refused to take them. I have not pushed her to take them after my own research on the subject and her being young. My question is concerning the elevated lipoprotein a. The doctor says that this is the reason she should be taking the statins despite any research. Is there any research on the lpa issue concerning FH?
here is what I’ve found: FH : A Genetic and Metabolic Study William R. Harlan, John B. Graham, E. Harvey Estes
Medicine 1966 Vol. 45, No.2
Our studies provide no evidence that FH appreciably shortens the life of affected individuals, either male or female.
On the contrary, they show a high level of serum cholesterol are clearly compatible with survival into the seventh and eighth decades.
Jim Ross says
Why would anyone take a statin? especially a 12 year old?
Patrick Harris says
For years (ages 29-54), I had high levels of cholesterol despite weight control, exercise, and avoiding cholesterol-laden foods. I had negative side effects with statins. Finally, a doctor suggested I do a glucose fast. My cholesterol dropped 80 points in three months! Ever since, I have cut down on sugar and alcohol and my cholesterol falls in the normal range.
Wondering if you have tried a glucose fast?
Richard Oswald says
Since ultra refined carbs are an unnatural substance to our bodies they trigger a low level inflammation in most people after years, I call it slow poison. It is amazing how quickly the body can recover if we remove the toxins. I would add seed oils to the list as well for the havoc they wreak on the mitochondria and energy production (unnatural levels of Omega 6 and 9.
Ruthanne Long says
This article was read while I was trying to find out cause of peripheral neuropathy, after several tests by a neurologist proved nothing was found to be a cause. I have stopped statins and started watching my diet. My doctor and health plan are aggressively trying to get me back on statins. After reading your study, I wonder how they could be so unconcerned about the problems caused by this drug on an unsuspecting public they are supposed to be helping.
Carol Noel says
I share your concerns!!! I was told years ago not to go on Statins by a friend who is an MD….yet my current Dr. insists (LDL/HDL in good range) I take them. The Statins have made my osteoarthritis even more painful – and I am too young to quit (81) now.
Chris Wunsch says
Carol, I would suggest for you to read the book “The Truth About Statins: Risks and Alternatives to Cholesterol Lowering Drugs” by Dr Barbara Roberts MD, a Cardiologist of more than 30 years who specialized in women, the Wisdom she shares will most assuredly provide you a much greater chance of benefit than ANY Cholesterol Lowering Drug
Barbara Taber says
Well, funny meeting you here, Chris! You are a wealth of knowledge that has been hard-earned, I realize.
Thanks for the book suggestion. Thoughts on The Cholesterol Myth? I’m researching for my brother in law who has a multitude of health issues and dementia in his family.
See ya over on FB!
Stephanie Faulkner says
I see that our library has several books on statins. Maybe yours will, too.
I’m wanting to get off statins. Been on for 4 months. Can I just stop or does it need to be tapered?
FInd a health professional that will help you get off them, slowly, and give you alternatives. Do not “just stop.” Do not do by yourself.
Darenda J Leffel says
I was on Statins for 25 yrs and I just stopped them several yrs. ago. I read an article that said, “How do I stop taking statins?” The answer………..”Stop putting it in your mouth.” I stopped 5 yrs. ago cold turkey and I was fine. Best decision I ever made but not without flack from my doctor. I was told by him that the benefits outweigh the risks. Nope.
With FH, any inflammation seems to ignite the CVD. And perhaps without the inflammation with FH, the disease would not have progressed with her Father. Smoking and FH do not go together. I keep hearing about Niacin ( with flushing) helps Lp(a). Recently I came on Nattokinase ( to help like aspirin or even better) . Hope these help to look further and decide.
Niacin reduces Lp(a) by around 25%. PeterAtia Podcast with Ron Krauss MD.
Cynthia Longbrake says
Niacin also causes me pain and muscle spasms. I can’t take anything like that.
Valerie Engh says
High dose niacin along with a high fat diet can cause a fatty liver, according to research studies.
Frank Crockett Ewing says
Hi, Just read your site after being told my readings were very high and triglycerides were off the scale. Do you have any articles on triglycerides? I had some Salmon and started taking some Niacin again which I did over 30 yrs. ago when I as I recall I may have had similar readings….Anyway, thank you for your information. My brother has been on LIpitor for some time and I am concerned for him.
Triglycerides are a fat that comes from eating too many carbs. Eat a nutrient dense diet, little to almost no carbs and everything will normalize.
Triglycerides, which are fats in your arteries and blood, are part of the total amount of Cholesterol in the blood.
The leading cause of Cholesterol is the emulsified fats from FRIED foods, using oil such as canola, and vegetable oils, which are very damaging.
Kathy DeGraw says
My husband, who has Parkinson’s Disease for the past 7 yrs., he is now 63, had the tremors
start a couple of days after stopping Crestor for his high cholesterol.
He first took Lipitor prescribed by our Dr. and ended with terrible back and leg pains.
He stopped taking it on his own and after a couple of weeks felt better. Then after a
checkup and telling the Dr. what happened he was prescribed Crestor and the same thing
happened with the muscle problems, he stopped it and a couple of days later tremors in his
right pinkie finger, then the arm had tremors and then the arm and leg on the right side.
He was diagnosed with PD.
A COINCIDENCE??? OR caused by the MEDS??? Of course they say it had nothing to do with the
Medications. I will say it till the day I die, it was the Lipitor and Crestor that triggered
the mix-up in his body. There is nobody in his family with PD.
If you have high cholesterol, diet and exercise, don’t feed these drug companies all of this
$$$$$ to have you end up like this or worse.
My mom, his mom had similar problems with those 2 drugs and came off of it with no PD, but
the leg pains did stay but not as bad as in the beginning when they first took these horrible
Read up all the pros and cons of drugs and don’t trust the Dr., they are in cohoots with the
drug companies. (Their are some ethical Drs., there are, you just have to search for them)
Dr. McGiffin says
Sorry to hear about your husban, but the reality is that statins have no effect on dopamine levels and therefore are not correlated with statin use. Parkinson’s is essentially a shortage of dopamine.
Regarding the lowering of cholesterol, sometimes diet and exercise are the way to go, but in the unfortunate people where that does not work, drugs can be very beneficial.
Doktor Laura says
I think you should do a bit more research, Doc.
Ralph Fuhrer says
These studies are old. What about more recent studies?
Did you even read the article? Why would you be trying to lower your cholesterol at all. If I had my way any doctor who would prescribe these evil drugs would be in prison. No one should be trying to lower their cholesterol.
Dick Stone says
Statins can cause Parkinson. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4390443/ Also, statins cause mitochondrial dysfunction as a result of CoQ10 deprivation. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3096178/ Every cell has mitochondria. The more energy needed, the more mitochondria. Muscles use lots of energy and the brain even more. The brain is 5% of you body mass, uses 20% of the fuel you eat, 20% of the oxygen you breath and contains 25% of your body’s total cholesterol. Brain cells are vulnerable to mitochondria dysfunction and disruption of the cell renewal process. (As a side note, stem cells were discovered in the brain in 2015.) Hannah Yoseph, MD says, “Without the cholesterol and isoprenoids made by the mevalonate pathway, none of this cell rejuvenation happens. Isoprenoids make our cells replicate and renew. Without mevalonate and without isoprenoids, cells age and die. They cannot be replaced.” Lipitor, Crestor, Zocor and Lecol are fat soluble statins and are more easily passed through the blood-brain barrier, so statins can adversely effect all neurons, and those in the substantia nigra where dopamine is made. The bottom line, ”don’t mess with the mevalonate pathway”.
Garlic helps high cholesterol safely!
Martha Mahler says
You are right! Drugs are very beneficial if you want to maim or kill people!!!
Mara Cain says
Several months ago I found myself standing in the street at 3am. I was on Statin meds and quit taking them. My Dr. said he “Finds that hard to believe”and got ticked off when I said I will not take them. He wrote in his report a few things that made me look like a nut case. He said I needed the statins and was not happy with me. Has anyone else had this happen? I also had horrible nightmares that I found myself hitting my dog during sleep! I love my dog! I would never hurt him! My granddaughter witnessed some of these episodes.
Dawn Luera says
I was given lipitor and had to stop taking it because I had horrible nightmares, even dreams of family and friends that are dead, panic attacks in my sleep and felt like I was dying and actually wishing I would. I would wake up from sleeping with an elevated heartbeat and terrible anxiety as well. I also didn’t want to do anything or go anywhere getting anxiety at these times as well. Even had all the muscle aches etc. i was feeling like I was slowly dying. My dr. Also thought I was crazy with these symptoms. Well I am not crazy and these side effects were very real and very terrifying.
then zetia was given to me and my experience wasn’t much different than than with lipitor. My total cholesterol is 255 currently and he has told me to take red yeast rice working up to 4 a day and coQ10. I have been taking only 2 a day and am really think of stopping that as well, as I have taken it before and after a time it stopped working.
I don’t know what to do other than take my chances with taking nothing.
With that said, I believe everything you said. These meds cause horrible side effects that no on has yet to explain, so should not question when a patient reports experiences when these meds are taken
Seems there are really no answers to the dangers of these drugs. The strange symptoms are very real. My high cholesterol is inherited and not due to what I eat, so I guess I’m doomed.
I took red yeast rice for awhile and developed the same muscle deterioration and pain as I did when taking statins. So I did my research after the fact and discovered that red yeast rice contains monacolin K — which is the same chemical structure as the statin drug lovastatin. I promptly quit taking the rice. And after already trying Lipitor which caused muscle damage and collapse, especially in my legs to the point that I could not walk. It was quite horrible to fall due to injured muscles. I stopped the statins. So now I take no drugs or supplements for so-called high cholesterol. Every doctor I’ve seen has the attitude of either not believing my story or saying “oh, it couldn’t have been that bad. Here, try this drug.” And I REFUSE to take any more statins or supplements. I am not worried about it. I will control my diet as best I can.
Cynthia s Longbrake says
Good for you. I’m in the same boat. I can’t take anything like that. I just want to enjoy life. Have what little strength I have left. I have tried every statin, even Zetia, niacin and nope. I do take fish oil with omega 3 that works great for trig.
I eat a lot of fruit veg and nuts, don’t smoke or drink>I take a tablet for hypertension which is genetic but well managed and at normal levels and rarely go the the GP. They ordered blood tests after I hadn’t visited them since 2019 and surprise surprise they told me last week that my lipids were raised, and asked me to make an appointment to discuss it, which I did. I knew nothing really about statins until now but what I’ve read I don’t like! I feel healthy and walk most days in addition to working. I was surprised to find that LOW levels of cholesterol are harmful, not high levels! No way will I be taking these evil drugs! I will go to the appointment but if they offer a statin I will refuse!
How come there are no complaints about Pravastatin, known as Pravachol? Is, the safest Statin I believe.
I’ve read the studies that were made to produce statins drugs, in the first place produced the Pravastins medications. Also, is very old and not as strong as the newer class.
I take Pravachol and I’ve had no reaction to it, at 79 years of age.
Go to find Linus Pauling’s therapy protocol.
Patricia Jane Panitz says
Inherited high cholesterol will not harm you. My mother had high cholesterol most of her life, fought off the statin drugs from insistent doctors, and lived to be 88, dying of old age, no diseases. My son has high cholesterol (he’s 42) and the doctors want to treat him but he won’t do it. I am 75 and have cholesterol readings of 156 (I’m vegan), but my doctor wants to put me on statins, which at this reading I think is criminal. If cholesterol runs in your family I wouldn’t worry about it.
I have been told by cardiologist that I have to take statin medication for the rest of my life after a stent implant. I told him of all my side effects, including massive hair loss, but he said statin medication has nothing to do with what I am experiencing. I insisted and he practically shut me down by leaving the room and then commented to the nurse in the hallway that I had an attitude problem! No doctor wants to admit that statins have serious side effects….he’s not the first doctor to tell me that.
I have had high triglicerides and “high cholesterol ” for 24 years and at first had to refuse lipitor because of cost, However my family usually lives to around 98+. I have never let them make me take it and my heart is fine as well as my lack of plaque build up( as seen on a ultrasound a few months ago) However I cannot find a Dr. To respect my wishes without a great deal of threats from them. I would really appreciate a line on a Doctor near Cheyenne,Wy that cares enough to treat me without all the pills!! I have lost 2 Drs this year one of them asked me to leave because I wont take unnessicary drugs. And another just ordered lipitor for me without even asking!? I have a lot of issues due to the drugs i already have to take. All of my issues are usually due to herredity but no one in my family tree ever had any of these conditions, and I know they are my real family due to a DNA test?! I am only in my early 50s. My grand father had high cholesterol for at least 30 years and was fine untill lipitor and Crestor. He was active in his 90s. After he was put on statins he had a stroke. And 2 years later he mentally just did not want to go on. I saw a noticeable change in his mental will after his wife insisted on the drugs. He just gave up. He went from active 96 year old to death at 98 not a bad age to achieve, but once he started the drugs he was miserable.
Bruce Kiggins says
Do what I do. Take the prescription and don’t get it filled, or get it filled and don’t take it. Don’t tell the doctor, of course. I have been on statins for six tears, and it has done almost nothing to lower my cholesterol.
Barbara Stellar says
They may be in cahoots with the pharmaceutical companies, but more likely is that Medical Schools are financed by these same companies and so is the curriculum. It’s just what they have been taught and most do not have the time or the interest to investigate the claims themselves. Doctors are not taught to heal, they are taught to “treat.” They are made to believe that chronic diseases are not curable. What most have not yet realized is that Modern Medicine has evolved to make billions of dollars for the Pharmaceutical companies and their affiliate research teams, NOT to heal mankind. Any doctor waking up to these facts soon finds themselves ostracized, humiliated, and often lose their license to practice medicine. Sometimes they even get arrested and must serve prison time. Their homes and offices have been ransacked and their research and equipment confiscated. One day all this will be brought to light and humankind will be free and healthy once again.
Marlene Clarke says
I was given Lipitor for four years with extreme side effects of muscle pain and bouts of chills like I was in a deep freeze. The Cardiologist switched me to Crestor for the past six years. Last year, I began suffering with increasing muscular pains, joint pains, numbness in my feet, poor sleep,memory lapses, severe attacks of dizziness, extreme tiredness, chest pains and rapid heartbeat. After a few changes in medicines, leading to no improvement, the Cardiologist finally decided to stop Crestor and Spiractan four days ago. Miracle of miracles, I am feeling almost back to normal. The dizziness and extreme tiredness more or less vanished. The muscle and joint aches, etc have reduced significantly. I hope to go through a detoxification of my liver to eradicate the chemical residue of the medicines from my system.
Detox happens automatically when you eat a diet rich in nutrient dense foods and very little or almost no carbs.
Nikki Barkhaus says
Jonell Fields says
I began taking pravastatan about two weeks ago, and now when I arise out of bed in the mornings, I am dizzy, and feel bad all day. I am also a T2 diabetic on Jadiance.
Marcos Taquechel says
Very interesting article. I went to a doctor a few years ago and after a routine check up my cholesterol was 110, he wanted to get me started on statins right away. I declined and he said I was a risk for having a heart attack. He said that now “they” have lowered the bar to >100 at risk. Wow. I’m so glad I keep on my reading and didn’t take the drug. I feel very concerned about folks who fall for this statin craze and end up with irreversible injuries and endure so much suffering for nothing. I have at the moment two friends suffering from severe side effects and muscle damage, one might not be able to work again.
Im on crestor @ 35 yrs of age. Cholesterol was inverted 214 ldl, 36 hdl.
The pill dropped the ldl considerably but my friend who is a nurse said she would never take a statin and to research the side effects, and that the body needs cholesterol in many ways, and that the statins interfere w many vital hormones. So now i dont know what to do
christine grimes says
I took statins for two year until I could hardly walk. I rfuse to take them, the doctor is not happy as I have very high cholesterol as everyone in our family does. I exercise and eat healthy
so If I drop dead that’s fine. My choice!!
Eat lots of eggs, butter, fatty meats, some cheese and nuts. Cut way down on carbohydrates and you’ll be living a long time yet.
John Akers says
I here ya. My Doctor laughed when I told him the pain in my legs was to much he was putting me in a wheel chair and killing me. Pissed mo off I quit taking them and I can at least stand up without great pain. I’m getting better each week about walking without so much pain. I want to die if I got to live in pain
I have cronic pain and am disabled because of it. Arthritis, connective tissue desease, hernias etc. The one thing about pain is you can learn to go on at first I thought how the hell am i going to live this way? But pain is something you can adapt to. However Doctors usually are not right and just drug the symptoms. I have had better results with diet, staying active and doing my own research. Less drugs is always better. Remember drs are “practicing” its not absolute at all. The drug companies have ruined a large portion of our health care for profit. A good Doctor is like a unicorn anymore. Don’t give up!
Pete Willis says
No mention of either LDL or HDL in this article. It’s not the high cholesterol that does the damage it’s the low density Lipoprotein that clogs up artery walls, that’s what statins reduce!
Diane Wilde says
I am on simvastatin. I really don’t want to take it even though I have not had any side effects. My last cholesterol test was total, 257, ldl 109, hdl 139. That gives me an excellent ratio. Why don’t docs look at ratio instead of the total number. BTW, I am of normal weight, work out and don’t smoke. Comments????
With a HDL larger than your LDL, I’d get off those statins!
Maurice Peugh says
I would like to know what you are eating. My HDL has never been that great. I have read that Triglycerides / HDL is a more accurate ratio for heart attack prediction. The only way that I would worry with your numbers is if your triglycerides were sky high as is common with diabetes.
I was just wonder how are you doing today? I’m on statins and I want to stop taking them.
Jennifer Schmid, MSN, RN, CNL says
I think you might find this most recent study very interesting. Apparently the FDA approved stents that elute statin drugs, so if a patient has side effects from the statins within the stent, they are basically out of luck, or need to have the stents replaced. These stents are now causing major adverse cardiac events 2-5 years post-placement.
IMHO, these stents are a huge time-bomb, and it’s only a matter of time before the class-action lawsuits begin.
Brenda Windell says
I was on stains for about 4 years. During that time, I developed, and was diagnosed with, Rheumatoid arthritis. This of course led to more drugs to take care of the arthritis. I finally said enough and took myself off the “meds”. My arthritis suddenly cured itself!
My elderly mother was also given statins. She developed severe muscle pains, dizziness, mental fog, and finally – had an episode where we thought she’d had a stroke, but turned out was a side effect of the statin. She was unable to talk, could not use her arms or hands, had trouble standing and walking. I took her off the statin and everything improved! Unfortunately, she has permanent nerve damage in her left hand and does not have the full use of it, even after 6 months of being off the drug.
I would NEVER recommend anyone to take these drugs
James Freeman says
I have been on some form of statins for 18 years. September 2, 1998. I had triple bypass surgery. Don’t know what my cholesterol was before surgery. But in the early 70s. My dad died with blocked arteries. 1984 my sister died on the operating table with blocked arteries and veins were too small. Dr. said history of this kind is not good I should be on a statin. I am taking lovastatin now 20 mg one pill a day two years ago I was taken two pills 40 mg a day begin to have dizzy problems and some shoulder and leg problems. Talk to the doctor and now only take one.It’s a little bit better but would like to get off completely I’m 72 years old. My total cholesterol is 167. By HDL is 46. My LDL is 92 last tested 1231 2014. Have bloodwork done every 90 days. I cholesterol levels has been as low as 117 total. So I’m not one to give anyone advice. But good luck.
I have not seen any mention of Vitamin K2 or MK7 to be exact. Would that along with Vitamin D3 and C not clear out your arteries and make them more elastic and flexible? At least that is what I would try before being bullied into drugs.
Charlie Spivey says
I have been through a litany of Statins over the years. I am presently taking 10mg of Crestor daily. I was taking 20 mg daily, but had a massive heart attack on 30 Oct. 2013 ( I arrested at least 6 times from all accounts ) and as a result my kidneys had shut down or nearly so. I was doing Dialysis. They cut back my dosage to 10 mg of Crestor daily, because of the kidney issues, but 20mg worked well. I do take 200mg of CoQ10 daily, but don’t know if that is enough. It is expensive. I was aware of the CoQ10 factor a long time ago. Since going on Crestor, my Cholesterol levels has been good ( at the 20mg dose ). One thing that was not mentioned was the benefits of ahving a good HDL level as that IS beneficial. Some statins will help raise it, but excercise is always a good way to do that.
Dr. Olaf E. Simon says
Most interesting dialogs! The main issue centers around the understanding that
cholesterol levels are politically tainted…what I dislike is a capitalist system with dominance
towards earnings, yet not before long they were our saviours, live and let live and heal
with conscience in place. I do not think that earnings are evil, they are certainly needed…
but how silly can the modern person truly be. We know of lobbying masters who earn high pensions
while the rest of us suffer…the physicians now also high power money people…Gods without
saints…yet most of them have still courage and tell us the truth…Well, we are all living much longer because of “Bog Pharma” and love them…but stop exploitation now, the people will
rebel sooner or later. I am living because I was given the correct drugs…now one yea after
my heart decided to quit. Inform yourselves and tell others…if you are not a scientist
you can become one if you have common sense and logic, comparing that what you are being told
with that what other scientists tell..play : Auld Lang Syne..for me!!
Currently taking avortstation 3 times week. Started getting vertigo about 8 months ago.. anyone else have this problem
YES, I was so dizzy and mindless and in pain,I knew there was something seriously wrong. I had trouble remembering my home address. I stopped Statin medication and started to feel better the dizzyness stopped.
Do I think it was the Statin medication? yes for sure.
I am surprised that this article avoids the very prevalent side effect of thrombosis. Statins and cholesterol-lowering shots cause strokes, as can be learned even from the NIH and many medical abstracts, both domestic studies and internationally.
i was on Simvastatin for yrs. I hurt all over but my Dr said it had nothin to do with it. I my inflammation number in my body was almost 800 and my Dr took me off the cholesterol mess last yr. my body hurts so bad, hurts to walk, I have muscle cramps all over my body all the time, my arms and shoulders are so painful. I do not feel normal with all the pain I’m in. I have kidney disease so can’t have a lot of medications. But since being off the cholesterol melds for at least a yr my body pain has not improved on little bit. But my Dr says the med has nothin to do with it. I’m not so sure of that.
You might consider giving your body some help by way of a cleaning routine. People balk about this, but coffee enemas, when done right, are exceptionally healing. Good luck. I hope you find relief.
First of I must say that I am not a Doctor. My belief is that it is not only what you put into your body that can have health consequences but what you do NOT put into your body that determines your health. Today’s food is seriously lacking in nutrition and no matter how well you try to eat, you do not give your body the ammunition to heal itself.
That is why I’m a firm believer in high quality supplementation. A top quality Vitamin/Mineral with a high quality fish oil for your omega 3 (EPA and DHA) and for stress some grape seed extract. Add to this a calcium/magnesium supplement and maybe your pains will subside.
I personally do not accept that it is genetic. Today’s polluted environment taxes us and without the nutrition and anti-oxidants the weakest part of the body is attacked. It is lifestyle and lack of nutrition that is the root of many problems.
I understand that the cost of supplements comes out of your wallet whereas drugs are often covered by insurance. Drugs and poor health or supplements and possibly good health. The choice is entirely up to the individual.
We have no drugs in our house and that means not even aspirins. At 74 and 86 we are still enjoying life in good health!
I was taking Red Yeast Rice to lower cholesterol, 600 mg twice a day for over two years. I had mild dizzy spells shortly after a month of taking this but never made the connection that it was the RYR supplement. I suffered through many unexplained side affects such as vision issues, balance issues, mild depression, random unexplained back and leg pain, extreme tiredness, concentration problems, loss of memory, numbness in left hand and random numbness to the lower legs. My dizzy spells continued to become more frequent especially in times of which I needed to focus. Still I had not made the connection to the Red yeast rice supplement. Then one day I had heal pain in both feet so severe that I could not hardly walk, later that evening my lower back completely locked up to where I could not walk. After crawling into the local chiropractor he asked me if I take statin drugs for cholesterol, in which I responded no, I take no prescribed medicine at all, only supplements. I still had not made the connection until a few weeks later <– When your on statins you will miss the obvious answer to your problems. And yes Red Yeast Rice supplements can be as powerfully punishing as any prescribed statin drugs. Avoid them if at all possible, do your research because these drugs can literally cripple you. I am now heeling up and off RYR, I pray no one has to suffer from the slow confusing health decline I went through. STAY OFF STATINs
Marlo Victor says
In the late 1970s, researchers in the United States and Japan were isolating lovastatin from Aspergillus and monacolins from Monascus, respectively, the latter being the same fungus used to make red yeast rice but cultured under carefully controlled conditions. Chemical analysis soon showed that lovastatin and monacolin K are identical. The article “The origin of statins” summarizes how the two isolations, documentations and patent applications were just months apart. Lovastatin became the patented, prescription drug Mevacor for Merck & Co. Red yeast rice went on to become a contentious non-prescription dietary supplement in the United States and other countries.
William Windsor-King says
My cholesterol here in the UK is measured at 8.2 which I’m told is high and they like to get it below 5 I’ve been on simvistatin 20mg once a day for at least 10 yrs I have been diagnosed with M.E / CFS some 7 yrs ago it’s something I’ve learned to live with but depresses me because I used to be so active. I’m skinny 5 ft 11 weigh 9 stone just recently gotten over clots on my lungs no explanation for them so scary.
I’ve been reading up on my illness and lots of conflicting stories on theory behind M.E but reading your article makes sense I’ve reduced the simvistatin to 10mg a day but before I got the clots I’d stopped the statin all together without telling Gp now I’m being told that stopping the statin like that caused the clots is this right ? Because I want off them for good but if my bloods going to cause me p.e’s by stopping then it’s a no brainer.
I recently had an angiogram and it showed fairing of arteries along with calcification in the lower left decending coronary artery a 40% narrowing so I’m being told to up the statins so you can imagine how confused I am after reading your article so please feel free to email me some advice if I’m allowed to publish my email.
Melvin Wilson says
Im a 54 year ild Man and is here to report that I have been taking statins and othet heart and cholestorol medications since September of 2004, after having undergone the placement of Stent into one of my heart arteries through a heart catherization procedure. I now suffer with problems of tingling and numbness of my right arm that travels down to my hand, and I have also been experiencing severe pain under my left foot at the toes area whenever I walk for a distance of nearly a mile or less. I would like to receive information regarding treatment or a possible cure of these reoccurring symptoms or problems as soon as possible. I also woulg like to know more about Co-Q10 and where it could be obtained. Thank you very much.
Yes as ever who is making money?
O K Dish the chemicals and eat healthy food.
I’m 41 and I had a heart attack 3 months ago due to a blood clot. One stent was placed. They have me on atorvastatin and tell me I have to take it for life “just in case”. My cholesterol wasn’t high even at the time of the attack and my diet has changed considerably since then….plus I’ve lost 20 pounds!
I feel like I’m 90 years old! Everything is an effort. I’m tired even after a full night’s rest and just want to go back to bed for the day. My muscles ache constantly and my mind feels like it’s in a fog. I told my nurse from the cardiac rehabilitation program that I want off this statin and she said “if we can reduce the side-effects, would you still take it”…sounded rehearsed. I told her no I would not and she asked why. I replied “I don’t want to take a pill on the basis of “just in case” when I can control my cholesterol with my diet and daily half hour exercise”.
These doctors and nurses don’t even want to allow a patent a chance to correct things naturally….all that’s important is that you don’t go off their statin under any circumstances! Makes me highly suspicious. It’s all about money, it seems to me. I wonder if these doctors get financial bonuses from the drug company for every patient who takes a statin!
My body is telling me it doesn’t like this drug and I will take matters into my own hands, if necessary. No doctor is going to destroy my body so he can drive a Mercedes! My muscles ache daily and when I walk, if feels as though I’m walking against a strong wind…so much effort. I’m not as mentally sharp as I was before either. Can’t remember stuff and have to write everything down.
I’m getting to hell off this poison!
hi lynne, im 51, also had a heart attack 3 weeks ago and had a stent put in one of my arteries. i was put on statins, rosuvistatin 20 mg. and like you, told i would have to take these for life. after 1 week. i was so confused, waking up not knowing where i was for a minute. my legs and back ached. so i told my doctor i wasnt going to take them anymore, she was disgusted, basically told me i was a fool , and that they would save my life. mmm. well after all ive read about statins, i think my quitting smoking, and healthy diet and exercise will save my life before any statin does!
Statin make you fatigue , fog brain confusion, numbness in your leg , and craving sweets which is , take you to be diabetic , I have the same problem too , I need to work but I can’t from the brain fog , ringing in the ear . I am still searching to get rid of this meds.
I am no doctor.
But doctors don’t earn money by prescribing or or not prescribing statins!
That may be true, but they often get “perks” from the Pharmaceutical companies. I was chatting with a young lady on a plane whose husband was a medical intern. She was saying how these companies wined and dined them and they received perks. She didn’t think this was right, but it was part of the medical culture.
Semma, they might not make money by prescribing statins but they will make more business by all the health problems they will cause
Dr. Philip Blair, MD says
Doctors are often clinically rated by oversight organizations on how they address heart disease, diabetes and elevated lipids. Cardiologist in particular. Prescribing a statin is a quick and easy checkmark for this rating.
Cynthia s Longbrake says
Don’t these cardiologist get a kick back for the pharm companies for pushing these statins. my cardiologist and I got into a fight over taking statins. He said, it’s a must. I said, to lay in ER in pain and spasms because you made me take something my body is allergic too. No thanks. I left and never went back. my family doctor is taking care of me now. NO statins. trying to get some strength back.
No they don’t earn money but perks is right! Trips, gifts, etc. It’s a big business believe me.
I know they recieve money from some medications like embrel, and other biologics. there used to be a list online and I looked up my dr. And at the time she was given a bonus, on the day she prescribed it. Of course that site was removed less than a year later. Drug companies are like lobbyists, they offer perks and bonuses to prescribe thier drugs. Things like expense paid “conventions” in places like Hawaii. Note the largest class action lawsuit ever paid by a company was against Pfizer! And The company still made money on the drug, to them its just an expense to be offset by selling more!
I am a 72 year old woman. I have been physically active all my life. When my Doc told me because of my blood cholesterol and glucose results this June 2017, “I really want you to take a statin”. He then prescribed Lipitor for me. I felt ok for a few days, then my legs ached so badly at night that I could not sleep. I also became so constipated that It was agony to eliminate. His answer was to take a laxative. Then I had diarrhea. He then told me he would prescribe a different statin. I took this new statin and after a few weeks, I began having the same problems as I had before. I called and left a message that I didn’t want to take statins anymore. He told me to come in to talk about it. I made an appointment, then I canceled it and told him I would no longer take any statin, and “I mean it”. I may try to find a different doctor. It might help, it might not. I will never take any statin again. I dumped them all down the toilet. If I die of a heart attack or stroke, so be it. Yes, quality of life is more important to me then longer years in pain and agony.
straight in the water supply then.. I wonder how many people do this foolish act. Take your unwanted meds back to the pharmacy for proper disposal.
Tammy Faye Baker says
Stop drinking toilet water!
I took Lipitor for 7 years and Crestor for 8. I was waking up in the middle of the night with elevated heart rate, then panic attacks and vertigo as well as achy muscles and tiredness even after a good night sleep. I decide 4 months ago to quit the statins and roll the dice.
Here I am 4 months later and the waking up in the middle of the night with a rapid heart, panic attacks, and vertigo went away, but I am still struggling with the achy muscles and fatigue. I know these side affects are a result of taking statins for 15 years.
Doctors should be ashamed at prescribing these poisons.
Maybe fifteen years ago my mother informed me she was suffering from the inability to raise her arms above her head because of her shoulder pain. Also she was having panic attacks regularly. I also had a friend who had such severe back pain…she thought it was her mattress, so bought a new therapeutic one (didn’t solve the problem), and yet another friend who was having massive anxiety attacks. These two friends were both on statin drugs and when they quit taking them, the problems went away. So when my mother told me of her problems, a light went on in my head and I asked her if she was taking a statin drug. She was. So I began reading up on it and convinced her to get off them. She did (although my sister was furious and said if our mother had a stroke it was my fault). Her shoulder pain went away as did her anxiety attacks. Unfortunately, she has severe leg and foot neuropathy which is apparently irreversible. We are sure that is a result of those blasted statin drugs. I wouldn’t touch one of those, no matter what any doctors said. I may choose my poison, but statin drugs won’t be it. By the way, my mother is 92 and has not had a stroke.
isaak dostis says
R kaluza says
I am 69 an been on statin abd aspin regament for over 35 years. This year I developed macular degeneration in both eyes. Almost losing my vision. I have been receiving Avastin injections monthly which have some what helped. I ran out of my statin and in 3 weeks my vision totally cleared up. I have cut my statin use in half take vitamin k and stopped my as pin intake.
My husband had a heart attack and quadruple bypass in February of this year. He was a heavy smoker, but otherwise healthy. His cholesterol levels were good and blood pressure excellent previous to heart attack. We have been eating a mostly mediterranean type diet for the last 5 years using whole fat milk, butter, eggs, coconut oil for cooking and olive oil on salads. My husband had been hiking about 5 miles 2 times a week. Our only diet sin is probably too much bread, as his culture eats a lot of bread. He does have a family history of heart problems so this was not totally unexpected. I have been studying natural health since at least 2000 and this site was one of the first I visited. Our problem is that my husband’s cardiologist wants him on statins for life due to his “heart disease”. I dislike this term, since he had an event most likely caused by inflammation due to smoking. His cholesterol & BP are still excellent. BTW, he stopped smoking in the hospital and does not plan to start again. I have not seen proof that this is a disease. I would prefer to use diet, exercise & supplements to keep his inflammation down. The doctor says despite good cholesterol levels, he still has “fat” circulating that could cause problems. He did not say triglycerides. We’re not certain what he is talking about. Being cynical, I think that this is just a way to scare heart patients into being statin customers for life. I am afraid of potential side effects as he is already having pain. He stopped for two weeks and was very energetic. Back on the medication he is drowsy, naps a lot and just not his usual self. Our sons say to follow doctor’s orders. Thanks so much for this article as it provides us with ammunition. Any suggestions?
Dr Dean ORNISH look him up
I was diagnosed with a 90% blockage in my left artery. Now the Dr’s want to install a stent with all the above medications. I do not want to do it. Any other choices?L
Adrian Molenaar says
I wrote to Dr David B Agus, Professor of Medicine and Engineering, University of Southern California, who gave a very interesting interview about a year ago or so on National Radio New Zealand, asking if his positive opinion of statins had changed. He wrote back “Statins have been shown in the best medical journals to make people live longer and better with no side effects in most people.”
Lee Forbes says
I have recently stopped my last statin drug, Livalo, with my doctor/friend’s permission.Tried them all with the usual problems listed in the reports. I took Livalo the longest ( a year plus) before it began to give me pain, confusion, spelling problems, dizziness, word recall, etc.. I was told that my profiles looked good and to continue to exercise and eat low carbs. I now feel great! No more statins for me at age 74. No dizziness (I have low blood pressure) or falls.
My mother was 90 when she died of a stroke. She never took statins and only one drug for night terror. My father took twenty-one pills a day and died of an afib attack at age 87.5, after his usual three miles a day walk. I prefer a clean life style, walking, jogging, swimming and my body as drug free as possible.
No more statins!
Laurence Almand says
I was recently diagnosed with mild carotid artery plaque – not enough to interfere with blood circulation, but its there, nonetheless. My cardiologist wants to put me on 10G of the drug Atorvastatin to keep my cholesterol below 70. My HDL is 35 and my LDL is about 100, and I have moderate triglycerides since I like my pastries.
I would like to hear any comments from people who have had bad experiences with Atorvastatin, and carotid plaque. What was your experience after the plaque had been removed? Did the statins help the condition, or do nothing?
What side effects did you have from the statins? I have heard many horror stories.
Please let me know your experiences after carotid artery surgery. firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard F. Nichol says
I have been prescribed with Atorvastatin 40 mg for my mild carotid artery plaque. I first noticed tingling in my hands, then constipation, then memory problems. I have sworn off this Statin which I was taking at bed time. I have been off this Atorvastatin only 3 days but my constipation has begun to disappear and my tingling during the night has diminished. My memory is about the same but perhaps it will improve with a Memory supplement. The worst thing that I was prescribed was Plavix which robbed me of CoQ10 and that bothers me because I pay good money for that supplement and take it religiously and then to have it eaten up with Plavix means that i am just wasting my money on purchasing CoQ10. So without the permission of the Doctor I have just stopped the Statin and the Plavix and am taking more of the CoQ10 and Magnesium to build up my heart health. Thanks to this article regarding the dangers of taking Statins. I can’t thank you enough. RFN
Patricia Hall says
Yes, permission. People have it in their heads that they need to ask their physicians’s permission for everything instead of taking responsibility/control over their own health and body. Cholesterol is good for you since 25-30% of it resides in your brain; and people wonder why they have cognitive issues that get worse the longer you take it. Dr. Dwight Lundell, a renowned cardiovascular surgeon clearly said cholesterol is NOT the problem, it’s inflammation due to people’s diet, ESPECIALLY the intake of a lot of sugar. The man has seen the insides of over 5,000 arteries in the course of his career. He risked his career and ultimately his medical licensure because he wrote a book called “The Cure for Heart Disease.”
Carm white says
I have been taking pravastatin for several years. I changed pharmacy and they gave me Dr Reddys pravastatin. I did not take it until I called and was told it my dosage and it just a different manufacturer. Sooo I started taking it. Within 5 or 6 days my world fell apart. Horrible aches All over. Pain, nausea, loss of appetite, weak, low potassium, liver enzymes up. My urine was so dark. Holy cow. That started about May 10th. I am just beginning to feel like myself. My new symptom is planters fasciitis!! It is now June 17th. In all of this time I have read such horrible reviews on this drug and the many many many recalls that I cannot believe they are still allowed to sell their poison! I contacted the food and drug administration and filed a report . I also sent a letter to the company! It has been s horrible experience for me. I am a retired teacher, 65 years old and I have enough energy to put A 25 year old to shame! I have had to miss time with my beautiful grandchildren because of someone’s poor practices!! More than any feeling I am angry!
Lynne Thompson says
Thank you for your information. I stopped my statin 3days ago and already have seen an improvement in my health. I took Crestor for many years and continued to report my severe leg pain and burning during the night but was told there was nothing wrong. I changed Doctors and the new doctor prescribed atorvastatin. I have taken this drug for almost 4years, but recently have begun to display difficultly with tingling and burning sensations in my leg. I stopped this drug 3 days.. There was improvement within the first 48hours. I now have more energy and am able to sleep better at night. How does any Doctor really know what your cholesterol
email@example.com eugene vis says
i’m 92 started with lipator.. musclepblem so seversl other sttins used. finally zetia. problems wirth ll quit and was told ide effects would gradually disappear. I>ve waite 30 yeas and stil can’t walk. er hab doesn’t help.
Marian o Callaghan says
I have been on colestrol tablets for several years. High colestrol runs in family ,mine was 10 5 Have had se real ones ,Recently I have been in agony at times near to tears ,my go gave be pain killers and eat this has made no difference .Today have been to lipids clinic she thinks it’s the statins causing the problems ,have taken me off them for 3. Weeks ,said to stop tablets from go as I will have. Ore problems with kidneys and liver if I keep taking them At wits end at moment so much pain putting weight on as its so difficult .i could walk miles with no problems I’m 62 yrs and want to enjoy life not sit in a chair and vegetate ,thank you
Kristina S says
Hi. I haven’t read all posts word for word, but I have not seen anyone mention the difference between LDLc and the NMR measurement of LDLp. One can have low LDLc and high LDLp. The newer research says LDLp which is the measure of particle number of LDL is the better predictor of heart disease, plaque build up. I have read and done the low carb, Weston price diet for years, am now in my 50’s and was puzzled why my LDLc was high when eating low carb. Many thing influence LDL levels including thyroid levels, LDL receptor function, and APOE. Thru genetic testing I found I have one of the worst APOE genetics, 2 copies of APOE4 which leads to high LDLc and LDLp. So the high fat low carb model, increases heart disease for me, and can increase it for 20-25% of the population which have only one copy of APOE4. Everyone is genetically different and you have to find out what a diet does to your numbers. Scarey thing for me, a lower fat, low carb diet did decrease my LDLc from over 200 to 130 but my LDLp stayed in the stratosphere of over 2000 where under 1000 is considered good and over 1600 is considered very high. I had carotid imaging done and found significant plaque build up. As much as I do not want to go on a statin, I am now on atorvaststin 20mg, plus zetia (did 6 month trial,of zetia alone first) and my LDLp number is now 1020 down from a high of 2500. My lipidologist will be checking carotid plaque build up every 2-3 years because statistically cannot see changes over time measured closer together than that. Hopes are for a slight regression. I am suspicious of the drug industry, having read about the corruption and misleading data that is out there (I am also a pharmacist). I went to a lipidologist expert and have chosen to take his advice on starting a statin because I have clinical atherosclerosis and am at high risk of stroke and heart attack with LDLp sky high not on treatment. I maximized my diet with low carb, lower fat and exercise and it was not enough. My father died of congestive heart failure at age 61 and his grandfather at age 49 of a heart attack. I do not think everyone should be on a statin, but if you have ASCVD get more information before assuming statins are a conspiracy by your doctor and drug company.
Most statins, even Crestor now are available generically, and if the generic has been out for a while it is inexpensive. I was one of those dead set against EVER taking a statin, but an expert doctor on the cutting edge of research, my own research, trial and error with diet, changed my perspective.
It’s now 2021, I’m curious how your body is handling the statin drugs you’re on and how yr LDL levels are now. I too have very high LDL-p levels and dr prescribed me a statin drug which I do not want to start on and upset my whole system. I’m very much into trying to treat my body naturally but my dr stated my high LDL-p has nothing to do with diet thats it’s hereditary and my liver isn’t breaking down the cholesterol. Very confused and anxious about starting the statin. If you could email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mary Brammall says
I have been on and off statins of one sort or another since the 1990’s. At one point, while off them, I started the Atkin’s Diet (lots of meat, fats, green veggies…but no carbs)…my cholesterol level went down considerably. Since 2000 I have been back on statins and suffered several bouts of muscle weakness and pain, to the point that my arm seemed to take leave of the rest of my body. For the past 10 years I’ve been plagued with swollen feet and ankles, seemingly one of the things about living in hot and humid FL. Most recently, my primary doctor expressed concern about the heart murmer that I’ve had for at least 65 years (I’m 71) and sent me to a cardiologist. She did all the tests, changed my BP med to slow my heart rate, gave me a very mild diuretic…and increased my Pravastatin. Feet and ankles continued to be massive…and then my knees started to give way and I was having trouble doing stairs and walking normally in general. My work requires that I am standing the entire time! So a visit to an orthopedic urgent care indicated arthritis in my knees that would require replacements in the near future – and cortisone shots. At about the same time I stopped taking the Pravastatin. Within a week I was walking almost normally, could climb stairs and actually bend my knees…and I have veins and bones in my feet and ankles!! I have also dropped at least 10 pounds. The local medical profession seems to deny that my symptoms/side effects are related to the statins but in conversation with others suffering similar problems there is a common thread. I think I’ll give the Atkins program another try.
Thanks so much for this article! I’m a 71-year-old male posting in the hopes of helping someone else. I take 80 mg of Lipitor (generic) plus 3,750 mg of Welchol daily. (yes, it’s true,as I have a genetic problem and my cholesterol has twice gone over 600, and several times over 500). I had a coronary triple bypass in 2003, and was placed on these meds. Yes, my cholesterol is in great shape now, but I’ve had buttocks/lower back pain for eight years, as well as shoulder and upper arm pain bilaterally for about a year. It goes well beyond ‘muscle soreness.’ I had no idea what was causing these symptoms. I had two months of physical therapy, which did nothing. Then I was sent to an orthopedist who tried Lyrica and other meds, which didn’t help either. The orthopedist gave up after testing my nerves and finding nothing. I was sent to a hospital for vascular testing, which found nothing wrong. (My MRI showed no problems). Then I went to a pain two different pain clinics, received injections in my buttocks and around my spinal column seven different times, which did nothing either. The pain dr. asked if I would like to see a surgeon, and I said yes. The surgeon found absolutely nothing wrong, and said there was nothing he could do. ”You’re a 71-year-old with the bones of a 31-year old”,he told me. He knew nothing else to do but go back to the pain clinic. (I didn’t). I found out on the internet that statins cause coq 10 depletion, and ordered some. It’s still experimental, but by taking this supplement, my pain has decreased by about 50% in the hips, and the shoulders and arms pain has almost ceased. Now I learn I’m not taking the best coq 10, so I have ordered the best one. Ubiquinol,I learn, is superior to the Ubiquinone I have been taking, so I’m excited that I may be able to get even more relief! I went through years of pain pills and trials and tribulations of all kinds, so I understand those who are in my shoes. BTW I had started having cramps in various body parts, and twice I had what could only be described as a muscle seizure. The muscles on my right this started quivering involuntarily, and I couldn’t stop them. It only lasted about 20 seconds, but it was the worst pain imaginable! I screamed and cried and prayed for God to help me. I think I would die if this ever happened again. I would RATHER die than go through another 20 seconds like that. I don’t know if Lipitor is responsible, for the cramps and muscle seizures, but I’m convinced it is responsible for the lower back/hips pain and the arms and shoulders pain. I am hopeful that a new chapter of my life has started since I found out about co-enzyme q10!!
Dax White says
I had a heart attack at 32yrs and ended up with 3 stents. Was put on plavix 75mg daily and lipitor 10mg increased to 20mg after 3yrs and then also blood pressure med after about 3 years. I stopped the lipitor without doctors advise because of the weight gain and muscle soreness. Now 45yrs old still taking the plavix and blood pressure meds daily….moved to Thailand when i turned 40 to change my life completely….i have been training Muay Thai in Thailand for the past 5years every day for a min of 1.5hrs. last year i fought professionally in my first full contact fight and I can say I feel great. My diet has changed dramatically but Im still 100kg (but Fit or fatfit). I try to eat fresh good food, eggs, salads,lean meats,lots of fish,lots of water,nuts, But hey I still enjoy a beer and pizza to….I feel you need to enjoy life but stay informed as to what your body needs and I think exercise is the key.
Everytime I was prescribed a statin I developed terrible constipation. Within 4-7 days after stopping the statin I’d go back to normal. Three years ago after the last time I was put on statins I never recovered. I suffer from chronic constipation. I’d like to know if others have developed constipation issues from statins. I’d also like to know if there is a way to reverse it. I also developed leg cramps that last time. The leg cramps went away when I stopped the statins but the constipation hasn’t. I believe the statins did something to my colon. Can they cause chronic idiopathic constipation?
The same thing happened to me!
Robert (QSLV) says
Perhaps the right probiotic would help with the constipation? If you don’t have a blockage, Del Monte mixed Fruits and White Castle Sliders go through me like poop through a tin horn.
Noreen Lyons says
I had SEVERE Leg pain (like my muscles were being ripped from my bones) and back pain within weeks from doubling atorvastatin. 20-40mg I purchased canes to walk…I am 51, healthy.
I finally put 2 and 2 together and stopped the med. within 30 HOURS, my pain had basically subsided. I went on a 10 day vacation a week and a half later and walked about 10 miles per day..NO ISSUES NO PAIN and NO CANE! THen I returned home to have my back pain hit me like a brick wall..ended up with Dekompressor surgery in L4 and L5 wondering if this could be related as well??? The “jelly” was causing pressure and pain…. (the leg pain has never returned). After surgery all is fine again and I am still NOT taking any statin. COULD THE STATIN have been responsible for the “spinal blow out” too? It’s difficult to find TRUTH about these drugs.
My mother was recently diagnosed with ALS having had to stop working due to hand and arm weakness. As soon as her Neurologist provided the diagnosis, her family Physician took her off her statins, which she had taken for ~10years. Coincidence?
I was 52 in 2014, Randomly i had found out that my right carotid artery in my neck was unusually clogged and i need surgery. I had surgery and the Dr. said after he got in, it was like cement clogging the artery and it was at 89% clogged. He said that he had to use a scalpel to scrape it out and special tape had tie my mutilated artery together afterwards. I am taking a baby aspirin, a vitamen c chewable and lipitor 20mg, for my high cholesterol daily since June 2014. I have not had no side effects and my readings have been great.
Weigh out your options- high cholesterol can kill you, heart attack, stroke. Oh and the red yeast rice, I tried, did NOT work.
I have had No problems and glad i am on LIPITOR 20 MG. A surviver~
A very dear friend of mine passed away yesterday from Leukemia (7 months after being diagnosed). She had diabetes, but it was well controlled, she didn’t smoke, didn’t drink, didn’t do drugs, and to the best of my knowledge, didn’t even have high blood pressure. Her mother had lived well beyond 80s, and I believe was actually in her mid 90s when she died. I remember when my friend told me that her doctor had prescribed her statins. I asked her to please not take them until she could research, talk to others, get another medical opinion…and not take them if she didn’t have to, as I knew that they could cause many health problems- they had for my mother. She decided to take them (her choice) and then told me ‘how happy’ her doctor was that her cholesterol numbers were so low…I remember being very sad, and worried. I can’t remember the exact timing (a year?) after taking the new cholesterol drug and getting the new deadly leukemia diagnosis, and I can’t help but wonder how such a healthy, happy person was dead in months…was it a diabetic taking a new cholesterol lowering drug? that with some of these drugs has been shown to cause diabetes itself? was that a factor? That is something that will continue to bother me. After her wonderful husband has had time to grieve, I will be asking him the name of cholesterol drug she was on, and the specific type of leukemia. She leaves behind a loving husband of 30 years, 2 wonderful grown children, and her 4 grandkids that will miss out on the love of a wonderful grandma, just so sad…
I believe that future research into the morbidity that these cholesterol lowering drugs have on society is well deserved.
Sam Barbary says
I’ve heard about policosanol, an alcohol based substance made from sugar cane. Some studies are very positive on 20 mg a day with no side effects.
Sam Barbary says
I took my 94 year old mother to a Functional Medicine Doctor. After a thorough exam and tests that her geriatric doctor never hear of, she was copper deficient with an underachieve thyroid. Without drugs, he suggested several supplements including a copper supplement. After 6 months, total cholesterol dropped 19%, HDL increased and LDL decreased. It’s been shown that low can cause copper levels the liver to produce excessive Cholesterol.
I have to stress Functional Medicine Doctors. They treat the root cause and not the symptoms.
Stan Burman says
I was taking atorvatstatin at 40mg after my heart attack in October 2015. At first I did not notice any bad side effects but eventually when I started using a treadmill to exercise I noticed that my right leg was sore, even when I had not used the treadmill for a few day. I then started cutting my 40mg pills in half and did that for about a month along with taking Krill Oil. The last time I had my cholesterol checked in April 2017 my LDL was good and my HDL was better than a check in January 2017. The doctor lowered my dosage to 20mg and I immediately began splitting those pills in half for about a month when I stopped taking them. The soreness in my right leg completely went away along with the almost constant itching that I used to experience. I will never take another statin drug again as long as I live.
I have had to practically fight with my doc to get off statins. I am a 72 year old woman, and I have been active all my life. Because of my latest higher blood glucose and cholesterol levels, he insisted I take Lipitor. I was feeling really good before my yearly physical in June 2017. So I complied with him and took the poison pills. It was not long before my legs ached so badly that it woke me up at night. Then I had constipation the likes of which I have never had in my life. His answer was to take a laxative, which gave me diarrhea. When I told him I wanted to quit statins, he told me to take Lovastatin. I complied again, and started having the same problems. I finally told him I will not take statins, and “I mean it”. I am resolved to never take statins again.
Surendra Umashankar Pandey says
Excellent and true information not found anywhere
Helen Casteel says
Lucky me .. I read the Weston Price report years ago, when a ‘doctor’ was trying to force me to take them. I took a copy of this report to show her what i had learned. Bottom line, she read one line and threw the papers at me!
My present doctor fully understands where i am coming from. Bottom line, I refused to take the CRAP, and wouldn’t swallow one for a million dollars!
Thank you Weston Price. You saved my life!
Tom Barrister says
I’m glad I found this article before beginning statin treatment. I’ve always been a bit afraid of the drug, due to the many articles detailing the risk-vs-reward. Reading this convinced me that the risks far outweigh the benefits. I’m going to lower my cholesterol levels through weight loss, a better diet, and exercise, and possibly the foods mentioned in this article and elsewhere. Thanks for the article.
I’m wondering if anyone here has actually tried Policosanol as an apparently natural and risk free alternative to statins. Reading over the scientific studies I get the impression that early Policosanol studies were quite positive but that at some point the human trials, especially in the US and Europe, may have been been corrupted by Big Money. My cardiologist just prescribed Lipitor but after reading this I’m even less inclined to start taking it!
Maureen Diaz says
Good for you to research, and think for yourself, Frank! I think the biggest take-away of this article is: “high cholesterol” is not usually the issue that our medical industry makes it out to be, and it is up to us to know when it really is, and then what non-chemical means we might employ to bring it into an honestly healthy range.
I find it very disturbing that with all the knowledge and data out there, not only is there not a consensus, there are such diametrically opposite points of view. How is a layperson supposed to decide who is right? Especially with the stakes so high?
Suzanne cyr says
I’m so glad doctor Weston traveled and found the truth about nutrition among natives
Markus Carter says
My HDLs seen consistently low (28-35) over 8 years. I eat a good, balanced lean diet and try to reduce my intake of Carbs as humanly, as possible. Is taking CO-Q10 supplements helpful.
I’ll add one more experience to the pile here in hopes of stopping people from taking these crippling statins.
Three weeks ago I had a small stroke of unknown origin. Luckily it was small and the effects from it are already almost gone. However, the hospital put me 20mg Lipitor because my LDL was 147 as a “preventive measure”. My HDL was an excellent 80. They did this despite me being 46 years old, very fit, healthy and with no evidence of or family history of aretheroscosis. A few days after starting the Lipitor I started experiencing terrible headaches, dizziness, clumsiness, confusion and neuropathy in my arms and legs. I returned to the hospital fearful I was having another stroke. They gave me another MRI and found nothing new and told me it was my brain “remodeling” (whatever that is) after the stroke or just anxiety.
The symptoms worsened over the next week and I started to experience an extremely painful and stiff neck, sleeplessness and muscle pain. My primary care doctor and a senior neurologist seemed baffled by my condition. The neuro suggested I might be having a migraine (again despite never having had one). After 9 days of this, I returned again to the hospital, was examined and basically told I was experiencing anxiety and sent home. Not once did any of the doctors comment about my medications.
When I got home I looked at the sheets that came with my prescriptions and decided to stop the Lipitor on my own just in case. The next day the headache was gone and the other symptoms were improving. It’s been a week now since stopping the Lipitor and there has been a big improvement. However, the muscle pain and dizziness continues along with some neuropathy. I’m trying to be patient with the recovery but I am now living in fear there has been permanent damage. I am windsurfer, climber, cyclist and elite level skier and as I learn more about statins I’m terrified that those things that I love so much may have been taken away from me by only 9 days on these deadly drugs. The worst part is I trusted the doctors and was given no warning other than “it might cause some muscle soreness”.
I’ve come to realize that statins are an example of everything that is wrong with our view of health in this day and age. Instead of accepting that we won’t live forever and we need to live the days we get in a healthy, happy way the medical industry pushes dangerous drugs on us. This is all based on some small statistical chance of living a little longer in the future by trading a huge risk of being disabled in the here and now. We are now treating “potential” disease rather than treating actual disease or injury. This goes against everything in the Hippocratic oath.
If someone told me by taking the statin I’d have a 1% chance of never being able to ski again now or a 3% less (in absolute percentage) chance of having a heart attack when I’m 75 I would NEVER have taken the statin. Get informed, follow the money and make your own decision.
Greta Gallo says
I am wanting to stop taking Crestor. Can I just stop cold turkey?
Yes! I stopped cold turkey and it’s just fine. I read an article before I stopped that said, “How do I stop taking statins?” And the answer was “Stop putting it in your mouth!” Ha ha. Something that will happen though that you should be aware of is that it takes a while for your body to get used to working properly without the drug so if you have a cholesterol test in the first 3 months after quitting—expect high numbers. Don’t be alarmed though—–just wait and retest and your numbers will come down. I know this from personal experience. You are making a GREAT decision although most mainstream doctors will not agree.
I was prescribed statins while serving in the military around age 41. My total cholesterol was high so I was prescribed zocor eventhough I was extremely fit with no other risk factors. I did not drink or smoke and I maintained a fairly healthy diet. I objected to taking a drug at first but reluctantly complied because the flight surgeon convinced me that my cholesterol numbers placed me at significant risk of heart attack and assured me that the risk of major side effects was low. The Zocor was changed at one point to Lipitor and the dosage was upped to 80 mg. Gradually over the 10 years before I quit statins I developed persistent joint pain in my neck, hips, knees and ankles, peripheral neuropathy in my legs that caused pain at night, persistent short term memory loss, pancreatitis, blurred vision, shortness of breath, heart arrhythmia and significantly reduced cardio and physical strength. My family suffered from none of these issues and the doctors kept telling me these symptoms were not caused by statins. After numerous medical test failed to diagnose my problems, I did a lot of personal research and read many forums of people who had suffered ill effects from statin use. I finally quit statins against the advice of the doctors. Some of my symptoms subsided immediately while others persist but not as bad as when I was on the drug. Ironically I had an angiogram because of the arrhythmia and my arteries are clean. Not only was statin use completely unnecessary but I was perfectly healthy before they put me on statins. My family genetics favored long life and good health. Without a miracle from Jesus I have been robbed of that. Pharmaceutical companies have become worse predators than the drug cartels. Their massive funding of research has corrupted the A.M.A. protocols which turned statins into a multi billion dollar industry. I urge anyone who takes statins to stop immediately. You will live to regret it if you continue using this poison.
Terry jacks says
As a retired Army Aviator, (AH-1 and AH-64), I agree with you completely. When my chol went above 200 in my late 20’s, I was advised by the Flt Surgeon to take Lipitor, which I didn’t do. I was in very good physical shape, ran 6 minute miles for the PT test, and had zero health problems. The elevated chol never bothered me, and at that time Lipitor was optional. I’m glad I never took it. I’m 67 now and not slowing down. Good luck to you in your recovery.
I’m a 64 yr old woman with genetically high cholesterol. I have had my carotid arteries scanned twice, I have NO build up! Yet my Dr. And the stroke clinic she sent me to both want me on Statins. I have refused. My husband saw a locum, who suggested he watch a video of Dave Diamond… My husband learned that my desire to follow Dr Atkins or a keto diet was in fact the very best thing for me. He no longer nags me about my intake of animal fats. Now I have almost NO joint pain. So Grateful to Dr’s who are willing to put themselves out there against the ‘trends’ and tell us the truth about pharmaceutical products!
Sue Watson says
I’m 63,Female with hereditary high cholesterol. Had a silent heart attack 2018, one stent inserted then within 3 hours after surgery x2 more inserted either side of first stent as something caused bleeding, blockage and full-on heart attack . Put on Atorvastatin 20mg (LOR).I stopped taking and went on to Red Yeast Rice,(told Dr who scoffed), had blood test done, and was told that cholesterol level was too high so went off RYR and back on Atorvistatin. Now want to stop again and will try GARLIC & LEMON PLAQUE REMOVER recipe from HEART FOUNDATION New Zealand… 30 cloves organic garlic (peeled),5 diced lemons (not peeled). Blend togethering a blender, add ONE litre of water and bring to the boil, remove immediately from heat, strain through a sieve. Let cool and bottle in a glass bottle/jar with lid. Keep in cool/fridge.
(Pulp from straining can be added to porridge and stir fries.)
Take daily for 3 weeks, take a break for 8 days then take for another 3 weeks-1/2 a shot glass each time.
Repeat every 6 months but can be taken more often.
No unpleasant smell of garlic on your breath.
The plaque completely dissolves, and has proven good in tooth decay (as an added bonus).
One lady avoided planned heart surgery as cholesterol and plaque had dissolved.
Nothing to lose eh?.
Maureen Diaz says
Cayenne is also very effective at dissolving plague. My husband takes cayenne capsules twice daily, between meals.
Gia Best says
Dee Cooper says
I, was prescribed statins by my cardiologist. I defied him, and instead took Policosanol. Took it for 3 months, then came COVID. No chance to find out my cholesterol numbers.
If someone told me by taking the statin I’d have a 1% chance of never being able to ski again now or a 3% less (in absolute percentage) chance of having a heart attack when I’m 75 I would NEVER have taken the statin. Get informed, follow the money and make your own decision.
Two months of taking the statin. I have back pain and shoulder muscle pain. I thought it was just that I turned 50. Not sure now. Is it more likely the pills?
Gia Best says
Statins induce skeletal muscle toxicity.
impair vulnerable skeletal muscle by inducing different level of reactive oxygen species (ROS).
deltoid biopsies from patients with statin-induced muscular myopathy, oxidative capacities were decreased together with ROS increase and a collapse of PGC-1 mRNA expression.
Quercetin, an antioxidant molecule, was able to counteract skeletal muscle deleterious effects of Statins.
STATINS can also exert adverse effects, mostly affecting skeletal muscle, ranging from mild myalgia to rhabdomyolysis, [DEADLY KIDNEY FAILURE].
We were told by our doctor that statins would adhere plaque to the artery walls to prevent them from causing a blood clot and heart attack. Is this correct?
gia best says
Please read, “Poisoned” by Hannah Yoseph, M.D.
Statins are Toxic fungus. The above book traces the history of how these drugs got FDA approval and how the TOXICITY DATA was hidden.
Statins ARE USELESS AGAINST CORONARY CALCIFICATION, which is a huge part of “plaque”! Very little cholesterol is in the composition, it is found at the site to heal the crack in the endothelium damaged by, “focal scurvy”, meaning Vit. C deficiency!!
Cure: Tons of Vit. C, especially LIPOSOMAL
Vitamin K2 which keeps Calcium OUT of Soft tissue and arteries.
Fish Oil to keep INFLAMMATION down. BTW Atherosclerosis is an Inflammatory disease.
– MAGNESIUM ACTS AS A NATURAL STATIN, look up Dr. Carolyn Dean.
– B12 complex vitamins – keeps Homocysteine levels down. CRP C-Reactive proteins and Homocysteine are ACTUAL Biomarkers for heart disease, vs. cholesterol levels.
Again Fish Oil, Omega’s keep CRP in check.
BELOW IS A LINK FOR NATURAL WAYS TO KEEP CHOLESTEROL HEALTH.
Great Article and comments. Thank you all. I will not take statins in spite of my doctor’s recommendation. I will increase all that improves health and decrease carbs and processed flour foods. I hear the Red Yeast Rice (1 or 2 a day) is a good resource and will lower my LDL with no side effects. Any experiences or comments? Thank you
Gia Best says
NOOO – Red yeast Rice is STILL A TOXIC FUNGUS. You will get the muscle destruction just the same as Statin Reductase Inhibitors. Please get the book, “Poisoned” by Hannah Yoseph, M.D. Her husband took Statins, realized how bad they were making him feel.
Read the Amazon book reviews on the above book.
Solutions: Keep plaque out of arteries, Vit. K2. There are studies, google; Statins Useless Against Coronary Artery Calcification. And, “Statins Accelerate Atherosclerosis” – how, by inhibiting Vit. K2 [menaquinone], WHICH happens to be one of the Fat-Soluble Vitamins that NEED CHOLESTEROL as the raw material. Statins impact cholesterol by 26-36% Unnaturally lowering one of the MOST important molecules in the body next to water. The only thing cholesterol did wrong is the chance of it oxidizing. Well, get to the root cause of what is attacking cholesterol = INSULIN, sugar, carbs!
Atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disease. When the endothelium sustains damage, cholesterol goes to heal. Vit. C (collagen), get it? Keeps arteries healthy, elastic.
https://youtu.be/DS5wTXhRWMA – Mark Hyman on how necessary cholesterol is.
REMEMBER – ALL STATINS WORK THE SAME MECHANISM OF ACTION – TO HIT THE LITTLE ENZYME IN THE LIVER FROM MAKING CHOLESTEROL. HOW STUPID, WHEN OUR BODY MAKES 3,000 MG EACH DAY, FOR A REASON. ALL OUR CELLS NEED CHOLESTEROL TO FUNCTION CORRECTLY! It has been the biggest medical scam in history. Just a misguided idea…
Researchers found that statins activate a gene signal in muscles called Atrogin-1. When this gene activates, it targets key muscle proteins for destruction. The activation of this gene drives the process of muscle atrophy and muscle wasting. It is induced in cardiac muscle in failing hearts. Since its initial discovery, Atrogin-1 has been found in every existing model of muscle wasting. Sounds pretty good for the heart, doesn’t it? Why in the world would any person want this gene activated by a drug?
Unfortunately, you won’t be reading about this on the Medline website. The sins of omission are immense when it comes to the statin industry.
Barbara R Shelton says
I am 57 yr old female. 4 yrs ago I had 3 heart attacks, quadruple bypass, put on Simvastatin 80 mg. I have had muscle spasms so bad that it feels as if my muscles are being ripped from the bones. I have been diagnosed with fibro, arthritis, bursitus, degenerative disc diesease. My word recall is horrid, I am in severe pain everywhere all day and night, my feet hurt badly , sometimes I can’t walk, swelling is increasing. I also have stomach aches and bad headaches. Recently I have developed a pain in my right side that doubles me over, to me it feels swollen and got but it is not hot when you touch my skin, it’s me, like inside me it feels hot in that area.Sometimes I feel like I have lost my mind. My feet go numb. I am sick of the Drs looking at me like I am a hypochondriac! I feel sick every single day. I recently told my husband that I can’t live like this anymore. I need someone to help me. I am literally hanging on by a thread.!!!please!
Dump all statins right away! They likely are causing numbness and spasms.
Read anything by Dr Malcolm Kendrick on statins, such as The Great Cholesterol Con, etc.
Low Dose Naltrexone may help with Fibro. See LDN Trust website.
Stephanie Faulkner says
I hope you got another healthcare provider. That is a shame you area going through that.
Garo Artinian says
Thank you all. Your unfortunate bad experiences has given us (newbies) the opportunity to approach our problem; differently – Sort of not reinvent the wheel.
I am fortunate to be under supervision to a homeopathic doctor who practices oriental medicine. He has kept me away with these kind of minefields. He believes body can resolve most problems, over time, when given the proper tools. Nutrition, supplements, exercise and spiritual practice.
olivia r verfaillie says
Is Red Yeast Rice–red yeast 1000 mg and monacolin K 10 mg safe as a supplement? along with bergomot, niacinamide, and garlic extract?
Mary Sjoberg says
This is a great article! Thank you! I always check for lipid levels on our statin taking patients and often find levels plummeting to 130 and lower. I cite literature to the prescribers stating low total cholesterol is associated w higher all-cause morbidity and mortality. However, I have a very difficult time finding literature stating how low is too low. I usually recommend not going lower than 170. There is literature citing too low LDL’s but I can find very little for too low totals. Do you have references for too low total cholesterol numbers I can use when communicating to prescribers?
Dr Yahya Shihadeh says
There are many wrong interpretations in this topic and it is really out of current guidelines, therefore, I advise the readers to not believe in the strong emotional phrases that were used.
As all the drugs on our planet, we have to compare between the beneifis and the cost (side effects) of statin. Nowadays, hyperlipidemia is considered the third highest risk for developing ASCVD.
Seongyun Hong says
Have you ever taken statin personally?
I had memory loss (I am in 50y.) and my father also had severe memory problem and
didn’t recognize his son and daughters. I stopped him taking statin and he barely regained his recognition of his son , his wife and daughters.
I think statin drugs are the worst and worthless drugs in the world.
Frits L,a. Versteegh says
This is what I really learned about our food:
WHEN DIET IS WRONG
MEDICINE IS OF NO USE
WHEN DIET IS CORRECT
MEDICI IS OF NO USE
These two sentences will be my guide in my life for a nutritional food in my LIVE.
Joe Siczpak says
Some years ago a pill-pushing physician’s assistant prescribed a statin, which I then took for a while. Some time later, I had a 100% rupture of the bicep tendon and a trigger thumb in the same arm. I only stopped the statin because the script ran out and I forgot to renew. Later, the pill pusher pushed a different statin. That one induced a sense of muscle tightness around the throat. Later, the pill pusher pushed a third variety, which seemed to be the proximate cause of a sudden on set of cramped fingers and triggers in the other hand. Every time I stopped the statin shit, the symptoms disappeared. Instead, I bought a nice new bicycle which I ride hard several times weekly. I don’t smoke, and I choose healthful (not “healthy”) foods, including fish, poultry, eggs, avocado, scallions, brown rice, tomatoes, kale, raw spinach, etc.
Joshua R. says
This is the worst misrepresentation of the clinical research trials (RCT’s) on Statins I have ever read. Repeatedly, RCT’s on statin use have overwhelmingly proved the efficacy of statins in reducing plaque burden, recurrence of myocardial Infarction, reduction of strokes, and reduction of atherosclerotic calcium burden. Although statin use may not show a difference in overall mortality, which is a different issue, statin use definitely reduces cardiac morbidity. Yes, statins, like all pharmacologic substances, do have side effects; but under careful medical supervision, these side effects can be controlled or limited. Thank you. JRS. Former Clinical Professor, Cardiopulmonary and Intensive Care Medicine, UTMB, Galveston, TX; and a grateful survivor of a heart attack with five stents, thanks to modern anti-hyperlipidemic therapies.
Steve Hopkins says
I agree with you that there is a preponderance of evidence to support what you said. However, I disagree that the worst of these side effects can be mitigated. Apparently about 15% of those taking statins experience side effects. My back pain, debilitating fatigue and sleep disturbances could not be alleviated. Maybe a heroin cocktail would help. My quality of life with these side effects drops below the tolerable. Other more effective ways to control cholesterol for the 15% need to be devised.
Garry Dickie says
Do you take statins? If so do you get any symptoms listed by the drug? Thanks.
Terry jacks says
You should read this article, ‘People with high cholesterol live the longest’.
It will change your tune. https://www.ravnskov.nu/2015/12/27/myth-9/
Richard G says
I had been on Keto for a number of months and my regular clinician said I could quit taking my BP and statin meds since all my blood work looked really good and it probably wasn’t necessary to be on them any more. When I went to the cardiologist, for another unrelated issue, he asked why I had stopped taking the meds and I told him that I had made changes to my diet in order to rid myself of having to deal with the heart meds (and other meds like Glipizide) because of their side effects. He said something like, “well that’s all well and good, but you really need to be on a statin, regardless”. Before the visit, I had done some research about statins, cholesterol etc, and asked him if a slightly elevated LDL level was necessarily a bad thing. He then cited some study (what’s name I can’t recall at the moment) that had really nothing to do with the efficacy of statins at all and he made it sound like that was definitive proof and reason that I should be back on the meds…case closed- end of discussion. I was a bit disappointed at that point, relented and let him write the script.
I decided that I would go back on them temporarily and do a bit more research before the follow-up. Meanwhile, the new BP med he prescribed was making me dizzy, and I decided to stop taking it after 2 days. I also found a study online concerning the effects of statins on reducing CoQ10 which I learned was an essential enzyme for heart function. I printed it out and brought it with me for the follow up visit.
The first thing he asked was if I was taking the meds he scripted. I said that the beta blocker was making me dizzy, so I ceased taking it and although I started back on the statin, had some serious reservations about continuing them and showed him the printout of the study I had found. He took a short glance at it, handed it back to me, dismissing it as something akin to media hype, restated his old talking points from our last visit and then re-emphasized that I needed to be back on a statin and beta blocker. I then restated that the damn beta blocker was making me dizzy. He snapped back, “Then just take half a tablet every day!”
To finish it off I stated again my reservations about the statins. At this point, he took on a defensive tone, got rather “huffy”, and said, “well if you don’t want to take the meds, I’ll just put in your record that you refused the meds…I’m a cardiologist and I take a statin!” In my own mind at that point, I decided that this guy was never going to be empathetic to the needs and concerns of his patient and let him write the scripts again. Only this time, I drove past the pharmacy, went home and threw the beta blocker and the statin in the trash and haven’t looked back.
Also, here’s a link to a YT video interview with authors, James & Hannah Yosef on their book, ” How Statin Drugs Really Lower Cholesterol and Kill You One Cell at a Time”
Ten years ago, at age 53, I decided to go to nursing school. During my pre-entry physical, I had labs done which showed cholesterol was 202. I also had hypothyroidism. I eat mostly low carb, full fat diet. Unfortunately, I also smoke. The doctor put me on Zocor 20mg. I filled the script and took the first pill. I woke up in the middle of night with burning pain all over my face, nose, eyes……I had no idea what was happening. I ran into the bathroom and saw I had yellow/green bile coming out of my nose. I kept splashing water on my face, in my eyes, up my nose to try and get the burning to stop. Eventually it did but my nose and eyes were sore for a few days. When I told the doctor I would not be taking this anymore, she wanted me to try something else……no way! I will never forget that pain. Every doctor since then has argued with me about taking a statin. I am now 65, cholesterol is 204, HDL 35 and LDL 128. Trigs were high but it’s because the labs were non-fasting and I have been off my low carb regimen more due to being at home during COVID. I know they will come down again. I had an argument with my new doctor about not taking statins. She wants me to take fenofibrate for the trigs—not even do repeat FASTING labs first. No, not doing it. But I just want to know if anyone has ever heard of someone having an episode like I did or if anyone might know what mechanism of action of the statin could cause that to happen. I haven’t been able to get an answer. Thank you.
Robert (QSLV) says
Sounds like you puked up bile in your sleep?
John K says
Weston Price, great report and really good comments. Thank you
I’m 62 & have suffered from cronic polymyositis with cardio myositis for the last 3 years. I’m about 95% recovered and have been back doing all normal activities for at least the last 12-15 months. When admitted to hospital one question I was asked was “do you take a statin”. No I don’t, never have and this illness is my first illness for 45 years. At the time I never took any notice of the question regarding being on a statin.
My cholesterol is ever so slighly elevated but has been this way for more than 10 years, never moving more than a point or two up or down. My previous doctor said “you’re fit & healthy and these are very likely your normal cholesterol levels. Nothing to worry about”
Now my new doctor of 4 years has decided I should be on a statin although having previously agreed with my earlier doctor. Now this got me thinking as I had previously heard friends talking about statins so here I am, doing my own research 🙂
I won’t be going on a statin ever. And I also now seriously doubt my doctors understanding of the relationship between polymyositis and statins because if they did, they wouldn’t even consider putting me on a statin. Or maybe there’s an agenda.
Take care everybody
Glenn C says
I’m a 72-year-old male and recently diagnosed with afib. My blood pressure was fairly high and I had put on weight by reckless, mindless, eating. I was shocked afib was found during a routine exam and was immediately put on eliquis which is as expensive as gold. Anyway, my point here is, I went on a strict diet, lost 22 pounds and my blood pressure came down to very normal. The battery of tests I was put on also including a calcium arterial score of 337. My cardiologist put me on a statin. I tried the statin for a week and found my fibromyalgia unmanageable, my tinnitus spiked to the high heavens, and a variety of pain issues too lengthy to explain. I might also mention after being on the statin my CK level was elevated. I informed my cardiologist that I would not be taking a statin and of course he became very bitchy about my choice. I forgot to mention my cholesterol levels are excellent and always have been. I refuse to take a statin and realize they are poison. In my particular case, my fibromyalgia, tinnitus, and ocular pressure all went haywire in the short time I was on Lipitor. We all have decisions to make in life and I will not suffer one more day with statins that do more damage than good. I realize my cardiologist thought I was being a baby and he himself stated he takes statins but that’s his business. Think for yourself. We are all in charge of our own bodies. I have never seen a cause of death read, died from not taking a statin. Nobody knows our bodies better than we do. Nobody.
Steve Hopkins says
I just came across this forum while searching for statin side effects. I’m 67 years old, and had a STEMI (heart attack) one year ago. Luckily, I got a stent in time and regained my heart function. I was put on the usual meds, including Atorvastatin 80 mg (which is the max dosage). 7 months later, I started getting bad lumbar pain. Imaging revealed some degenerative disk disease. But, it was strange that the pain happened suddenly and was intermittent. I was sent to a physical therapist that didn’t help much, then I started getting pain in other muscles far from the spine. Then, I started getting debilitating bouts of fatigue and malaise. My sleep is dreamy, disturbed and I wake up every hour. After a battery of blood tests, my doctor said “stop taking Atorvastatin.” Tonight is will be the first night without taking it. I’ll post a follow up in a week or two, but I think he’s on to something
Deborah Meeker says
My doctor wants me to take a statin medicine called Atorvastatin. This is the 2nd time I’ve been taking it in my life. It’s been 2 weeks or more I’ve taken Atorvastatin this time. I’ve decided to stop taking it, because of very bad side effects that are…muscle pain all over my body, constipation, the opposite of constipation, feeling tired all the time, weakness in my body and having more problems with walking, dizziness, etc. Every time I see my doctor he reminds me if I don’t take Atorvastatin ( a statin ) that in 5 years or more I could have a stroke or heart attack. One time he told me that I could stop taking the medicine. I think he might keep bugging me about it when I see him. I’m going to buy some “Lecithin” at the health food store and see if that helps me or not. A friend of mine that used to work in a health food store told me it helps with cholesterol and triglycerides. Also, I’m going to try and change what I eat by cutting back on carbs ( bread, etc. ), and eating mostly fruit and veggies. I drink lots of water, and I’m trying to walk each day even though I can’t walk far, because of being disabled. I walk with a cane. I’ve suffered with osteoarthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, acid reflux, allergies, chronic pain, and feeling very sad. I have a hard time not eating bread. I try not to eat or drink anything with sugar in it, but I have failed at that sometimes. I keep trying though. It sure isn’t easy to eat perfectly all the time. I want to eat healthy foods. I believe that STATINS ARE REALLY BAD FOR ANYONE TO TAKE, and THEY CAUSE A LOT OF HEALTH PROBLEMS ! :o(
gary thomas says
I worked in an abattoir for 22 years pushing sheep into an elevator and developed muscle pain in wrist, forearm, biceps and finally shoulder. Stupid i know but was solo dad for 14 years and had friend help me build house after divorce so didnt want to lose that. Pain killers were not the answer so put up with it. Found out later pills which i stopped taking killed people and were taken off market. I had mentioned to doctor i found a double dose didnt help and feel he should have warned me of danger. I could state about 10 issues where doctor just had standard take a pill attitude. Gave up work 20 years ago but pain persisted, my fault as still liked gardening sawing firewood etc as careful as i could. 3 1/2 years ago doctor got me to have a treadmill test as the pain was evident when on my own treadmill, not nearly as bad but enough to put me off exercise. During the test a slight tingle was felt but nothing like usual. The person asked if i felt pain and i said slight one and the next minute they stopped test and asked me to wait and see cardiologist who then said stents, statins etc was answer. Statins for life. I had not been cardio person in life but considered i was fit otherwise. Decided to do more cardio and eventually pain has gone. I have kept good health and not had a cold or flu for 40 odd years nor any shots for tetanus, shingles etc which are recommended. Had mild shingles a few years ago, probably thru slight stress time. Cholesterol has been high in past and again i disagreed with doctor and refused medication as i think cure is worse than danger. I might sound like a bitter old man and at 76 i must admit writing a letter like this would not have been my way earlier in life. My slight concern is am i being stupid for not taking stent advise. I have never had chest pain or any other signs and only have pain in arm when pushing a lawnmower, same action as pushing sheep, as small lawn, no problem. I am sad to see problems people have and the only answer i can say for myself is that living off fruit and veges out of my garden with little meat, mainly chicken and negligble processed food may have been part of the answer. Sorry to have rambled on but as i said there is a little concern i may have been pig headed regarding statins, stents etc. any comments would be helpful. Love from kiwiland.
Just want others to know I believe 15 or 20 years after statin drugs, I am on my 3rd cancer this last breast cancer is Triple negative invasive ductal carcinoma, The worst of all three of my cancers. I believe statins caused my cancers, every one of them, my high blood pressure my diabetes my having a hard time walking, Well on Staten drugs I had eight different braces on my body at full leg brace and crutches, torn ligaments, I couldn’t remember where I was anymore. Do you research if I were you I’d just say no, statins have never been proven they prevent heart attacks in my opinion just another money maker for the greedy
Sheryl A. says
My first cholesterol reading of 350 was when I was in my early 30’s. I’m now 74. I have had it as high as 450, and yes, my bad cholesterol is bad. One doctor decided to hit it hard with five different pills at once. All various pills they keep giving me make me nervous, weak, my legs felt like they would collapse, and my heart felt like it was churning in my chest. They suggested we move to another pill(s). My heart doctor sent me to a doctor who studies cholesterol and made me promise if he found ANY blockage, I would take pills for it. He didn’t, I didn’t.
Move to my chemo, one long round for colon cancer and a new treatment for melanoma that in itself nearly killed me. Lots of steroid shots and pills to reverse that one. Soooo many CT scans with high powered drug drinks, nuclear intravenous medicine. SURPRISE! I’m suffering from kidney problems now, stage 3, and high blood pressure.
My son has over 300 cholesterol consistently. I noticed my son’s hand shook when he held a butter knife, was too weak to assist carrying a piece of sheet rock (I’m female). From that day forward I began my fight with Doctors forcing cholesterol. Graves are full of people, younger than us that were taking cholesterol.
Doctors need to STOP forcing, tricking and arguing when we don’t agree with the cholesterol farce.
Thomas K says
Thank you for giving me further resolve not to take statins. My total cholesterol is 275 but with high HDL of 70. At 66 no health problems with high blood pressure or over weight. I’ll stay the course.
James L. Jenkins , Arizona says
Looking for a cardiologist in Yuma Arizona 85364 who’s against prescribing statins, can you help
Dev kumar Shahi says
One doctor decided to hit it hard with five different pills at once. All various pills they keep giving me make me nervous, weak, my legs felt like they would collapse, and my heart felt like it was churning in my chest. They suggested we move to another pill(s). My heart doctor sent me to a doctor who studies cholesterol and made me promise if he found ANY blockage
Extensive, deep review
****** T H A N K S !
Gil Merkle says
Learned a lot from your article. I am taking a statin and will discuss necessity with doctor.
Peter Phillip Hampton says
My GP quadrupled my Crestor Med from 10 mg to 40 mg about 4/5 months ago which resulted in so much pain walking and climbing stairs. I read your article and ceased taking statins about 4 months ago and can now move so much better and have little trouble climbing stairs and ladders. I’m 77 and live on a few acres which requires a bit of regular maintenance which I can now handle okay and am so glad I took the time to read a large part of your article. My lady GP is not impressed but I’m definately not going to put that poison into my body again. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
Jen Zaft says
My uncle was on Lipitor for three years before I got to him. The dementia wheels were already in motion, and it took me six months to find Dr. Golumb’s work and stop the Statins. I made him Whole Fiber Plant-Based (WFPB) meals and lowered his cholesterol in 2 months. But the dementia and partial paralysis was off to the races.
Oh and he ate institutional meals for the last 4 years of his life, but didn’t have a heart attack. Died from Dementia lowered immune system.
At age 70, I was advised to have a CT heart scan. Arterial calcium score was 1200+. Anything over 400 is considered “high risk.” I am normal BMI and in very good physical shape. I started a course of MK4 and MK7 supplements hoping the calcium would be transferred from bone to arteries as suggested. 8 months later, another heart scan with a CAC score of 1600+. I have switched to a different brand with vitamins D, A, K1 and K2. I will go for another scan in a few months. I have so far refused to take atvorstatin. I have read a number of books and cannot find any information related to high CAC levels and statins as a means of protection against plaque rupture. Anyone care to weigh in…please.
I have a calcium score of 441 and was told by cardiologist that in high rush coz my family history of heart issues is bad!! I’m on 30mg pravastatin. Believe me I’m not happy taking these. I am also told to take 300mg Co 10enyme
I’ve read articles that indicate those of us who were involved in long distance running, ultra’s, etc, tend to have higher than normal Calcium scores.
Joe Hibbeln, MD says
Christopher Ramsden, MD retrieved and analyzed the original data from the Minnesota Coronary Experiment which is a double blind randomized controlled trial designed to test whether replacement of saturated fat with vegetable oil rich in linoleic acid reduces coronary heart disease and death by lowering serum cholesterol. This data that lowering saturated fats lowered cholesterol help to set policy and culture to lower cholesterol. In fact I did the opposite of the intended effect.
This intervention did indeed lower cholesterol. However, there was a 22% higher risk of death for each 30 mg/dL (0.78 mmol/L) reduction in serum cholesterol in covariate adjusted Cox regression models (hazard ratio 1.22, 95% confidence interval 1.14 to 1.32; P<0.001).
There was no evidence of benefit in the intervention group for coronary atherosclerosis or myocardial infarcts. Systematic review identified five randomized controlled trials for inclusion (n=10 808). In meta-analyses, these cholesterol lowering interventions showed no evidence of benefit on mortality from coronary heart disease (1.13, 0.83 to 1.54) or all cause mortality (1.07, 0.90 to 1.27).
We published these data in 2016.
Re-evaluation of the traditional diet-heart hypothesis: analysis of recovered data from Minnesota Coronary Experiment (1968-73)
BMJ 2016; 353 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i1246 (Published 12 April 2016)
Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i1246
Dana Even says
I would like to know opinions on Lipoprotien a. In my case it is exceedingly high.
Recent studies are pointing to that
this marker being a very significant indicator for increased risk of stroke and myocardial infarction. My high LDL is addressed with Statins as well as good diet, but not sufficiently. Atill too high. HDL is very good.
I also have 3 small carotid plaques.
My cholesterol and lipo a are genetic.
I have taken high quality fish oil for years and my inflammation markers are good. But read that fish oil increases LDL. Not certain of next steps…
just see this video
So glad I found this article Thank you.
Its now 2023 and I wonder if there’s an update to it
I recently had the shock diagnosis of a high calcium score and aortic aneurysm and my doctors put me on Lipitor even though my LDL was not too high but low HDL. I was scared my heart was going to explode or a piece of plaque would break off and cause a blood clot so I followed their advice.
I’m already on BP meds but my hypertension is resistant.
After a couple of weeks I couldn’t walk upstairs due to muscle weakness. One doctor ignored me and the second switched me to Crestor and told me to take CoQ-10
I’m not sure what to do, but I know the Lipitor is poison and the Crestor is probably too.
I sure would like to get in touch with the authors (Sally Fallon and Mary Enig) to get some of their wisdom. I included my email with this form.
Some very helpful information, which is very much appreciated.
I was taking atorvastatin for several months in 2022 and started noticing pain in my left calf when walking. It was so severe that I would have to stop and rest every 1/4 to 1/3 mile. After a couple minutes I could walk another short distance. I stopped taking it and noticed the pain starting to go away in less than a week. I then documented a trial and started taking it again and the pain returned, I stopped for two weeks and was then able to walk 3 to 5 miles easily without stopping to rest. I explained that to my doctor who stated that yes that is one of the side effects and he recommended a different one. After all that I have read about them, I will never take them again. It hinders the body from having the ability to produce its own Vitamin D and CO-Q10, which of course we can now prescribe supplements for and make even more money.
Gary Ross says
I quit statins many years ago ( maybe 30) with mussel weakness and now heathy at 73 still surfing and snowboarding. A blood test pointed to the 280 bad C and required a stress test and OK but then the Calcium test proved a critical issue for me according to the doctor. An angiogram showed a dilated left Atrium. Now they want to inject me with a drug called LEQVIO and reading about it it seems that it lowers by inactivating a protein in the Liver. The review seems to say that the lowering occurred with people that already taking statins already and wonder if not designed for people that had a bad reaction to Statins. My concern is it this drug is injected and another injection in 3 mo then in 6 mo. 8% seemed to have issues of pain where injected and smaller % issues of some other nasty side effects. . Not much was said on what this drug is designed to do other than to lower the bad C. They scheduled me for tomorrow. Do you have any more information on this drug and have any recommendations for tomorrow?