John Park, 32 the Loaning, Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, Strathclyde, Scotland, U.K. ML1 3HE
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The Great Statins Divide
I was given Simvastatin and this caused me to have sore legs all the time. The doctor changed this to Atorvastatin and, although It's probably not as bad, but my legs are still sore. I wondered if anybody had information on this that would help me.
By Dr Aseem Malhorta A Leading cardiologist As go-aheads given for one in four adults to be offered heart drug one doctor says this mass pill popping is folly.
By Professor Colin Baigent Co-author of a pro-statins study. On the contrary, says a top academic, it's a cheap and effective way of avoiding 10,000 heart attacks and stroke a year
The man in the consulting room was in his mid--50's and had arrived complaining of sever chest pain. "I've had it for a while now doctor" He said grimacing, "It won't go away" I glanced at his notes --- an angiogram had that his heart was fine, while an endoscopy had revealed there was nothing untoward goin on in his oesophagus or stomach. Then I asked what drugs he was taking regularly. "Well nothing really --- just statins" That was most certainly the culprit. I asked him to stop taking them for a fortnight, which, despite protests from his GP, he did and, lo and behold, two weeks later the patient was pain free. I recommended he embrace the so-called Mediterranean diet and exercise a little more, and he went away a happy and healthy middle--aged man. If NICE ( National Institute for Clinical Excellence) gets it's way, that scenario could be needlessly played out in GP surgeries and hospital consulting rooms hundreds of thousands of times a year. It would mean 12 million of us taking a little pill before bed, five million more than take statins today. That's five million more patients for the NHS to keep their eye on. five million more people who, despite the fact that many would be in good health, have been well and truly "medicalised" and face the prospect of being on medication for the rest of their lives. In making it's recommendation, NICE seems to be firmly siding with the drug companies and relying on industry sponsored statistics which consistently under-report -- some would even say hide -- the risk of side -- effects. These statistics will tell you that perhaps one in 10,000 patients taking statins will suffer severe muscular pain as a side effect. In contrast, reliable data from the real world, published recently in the British Medical Journal and backed up by anecdotal evidence from my experience as a cardiac physician, suggest that the real figure for serious side-effects associated with statin use is closer to one in five. In other words, if NICE succeeds in turning five million middle-aged and predominately healthy men and women into statin popping patients, then one million of them will be back -- just like my fiftysomething patient -- in surgeries and consulting rooms, complaining of side effects that, as well as muscle pain, include digestive problems, short term memory loss, erectile dysfunction, sleep disorders, cataracts (mainly in women) and even type 2 diabetes. The drug companies will tell you how cheap statins are -- just 10 pence a day -- but that completely ignores the costs of the follow up appointments and hospital investigations that patients suffering from such side--effects will require. With even NICE admitting that 140 people will have to take statins to prevent just one of them having a heart attack or stroke, that's 139 people taking them for no good reason, running the risk of unpleasant side effects in the process while all the time tax payers pick up the ever growing bill for looking after them. But NICE also seems to be ignoring serious doubts about how effective statins are. Yes they can lower cholesterol levels (they work by inhibiting an enzyme that produces cholesterol in the liver), but real world data show they have absolutely no effect on either overall death rates or rates of serious illness.
statins but by doing battle with the biggest -- and still growing health problem that we, in common with other Western nations, face: obesity. Being overweight and having a poor diet causes more serious health problems than alcohol and smoking but together with obesity associated with such serious conditions as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and cardiovascular disease. My biggest worry about statins is that people will see them as a magic pill that allows them to tuck into three pizzas a night and umpteen hamburgers with impunity. But they aren't. People who want to take care of their health, need to make changes themselves. It's not that difficult. The Mediterranean diet simply involves more olive oil, more nuts, two or three portions of oily fish a week and lots of fruit a vegetables, while cutting out refined sugar and carbohydrates (so no white bread, rice or pasta) and processed foods laden with fats and salt. As far as exercise, I'm not talking about training for a marathon --- a brisk 20--minute daily walk will do great things for your cardiac health. Make those sort of lifestyle changes and --- whatever NICE says -- you won't need those statins at all. While the idea of prescribing statins to people who appear to be at low risk of a heart attack or stroke may seem illogical consider this statistic: more than half the deaths from coronary disease in this country occur in people who have had no previous problems of this kind. Many of them will never have taken statins because the old NICE guidelines recommended that they should be offered only to patients with more that a 20 per cent chance of suffering such episodes, as calculated by GPs using factors such as age, cholesterol levels and lifestyle. Yet the research in which I have been involved shows clearly that statins significantly reduce the likelihood of coronary problems even in apparently low - risk patients. That is why I welcome NICE's proposal to halve to 10 per cent the risk threshold at which these drugs are offered. This will undoubtedly save lives and has major implications for the way we regard statins. If people are at risk of heart disease or stroke -- due to their age, or because they smoke or are overweight -- cutting cholesterol levels with a statin can reduce that risk, even if cholesterol levels were not regarded as unduly high. The likelihood of a patient suffering a coronary event reduces dramatically for every drop in blood cholesterol level. To use the system of numbering most familiar with patients, a fall in your cholesterol from five to four would see your risk drop by 20 per cent. By offering statins more widely, we will bring into treatment around another 5 million people aged 40 and over in the UK. And that and that could prevent about 10,000 heart attacks and strokes every year. Opponents of this idea have suggested we are in danger of 'medicalising the population'. But it's important to recognise that patients won't be compelled to take these statins, NICE is simply recommending that a wider range of people should be offered the opportunity to take them if they wish. Others have suggested that there are better ways of cutting cholesterol --- advise patients to eat healthily and exercise more. I am all for such lifestyle changes, but it doesn't one thing or the other. I say that you can lose weight and take statins --- and get even more benefit by doing both. The other thing that concerns people is the risk of side effects but, if you look at the evidence, the benefits of taking statins far outweigh any known hazards. For example, it has been shown that taking statins can make you more likely to develop a condition called myopathy where the muscle fibres do not function, resulting in muscular weakness. But taking a statin results to just one in 10,000 people suffering such problems, and surely it's better to take this very small risk in return for the much bigger chance of avoiding a potentially fatal heart attack or stroke? Statins have also been associated with diabetes. Studies suggest you are around 10 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes for the first time if you are taking a statin. However, one of the greatest dangers to diabetes sufferers is an increased risk of associated coronary problems, but we know that statins can reduce the risk of coronary risk dramatically even with this extra risk of diabetes. Liver problems and bleeding into the brain are other acknowledged side-affects of statins but, again, the risks of developing these are small and far outweighed by statins' benefits. As for studies that appear to link statins with other illnesses and conditions, including memory loss, depression and even cancer, these are not really trustworthy as the trials demonstrating the benefits of statins. We should certainly not give undue emphasis to the weak evidence of harm when there is such compelling evidence that statins are beneficial. As for the suggestion that the only people who will benefit from the wider prescription of statins are the shareholders of the pharmaceutical companies, this is looking at things the wrong way round. So if we want to have statins, someone has to make them and there's no doubt that these manufacturers profit from their sale of such drugs. That is the nature or their business. What we should be asking ourselves is whether these pills represent a good deal for the British public --- and they undoubtedly do. Prices have dropped dramatically since statins were first introduced, and a course of is now available for as little as a £1 per month. That represents a very cost--effective way of improving public health. Statins are a vital tool in combating cardiovascular disease, which remains the leading cause of death in this country, causing 180,000 deaths each year. If we want to stop deaths which seem to come out of the blue in a person with no previous heart problems, then we have to encourage healthy lifestyles and start treating healthy people with a statin. It can't be done efficiently any other way.
Statins just too risky Daily Mail letters March 2014
It isn't doctors fears of the side effects of statins that are putting lives at risk, rather It's some doctors playing down the side-effects. (Mail) When I was put on these drugs I had muscle pain, joint pain and neuropathy caused by them. I was tried out with three different statins and had the same side effect from each. I was left basically unable to walk, raise my arms above my shoulders, with muscle pain in my in my arms, legs, back and shoulders. I also had a severe burning pain in my arms and legs from the neuropathy, from which I have been left with partial feeling in my arm, legs, feet and fingers. Some people are lucky enough to recover after being on these drugs, but others have permanent health problems after using statins. How many people realize some brands of statins have been removed from the marketplace after too many people were dying from the side effects? Even with this latest report which had only thirty people on the trial, twelve pulled out due to side effects which I can assure you would not just have been a headache.
A. Reid Glasgow
STATINS CAN WEAKEN MUSCLES AND JOINTS. CHOLESTEROL DRUG RAISES RISK OF PROBLEMS BY UP TO 20%
Taking statins makes you more likely to be diagnosed with muscle pain, joint disease and injuries, researchers have warned. They found a 20 per cent increased risk of muscle problems in those on cholesterol lowering drugs compared with those not taking them. The US team say the risk ma be relatively small but it is important because millions of elderly patients with heart conditions take statins and their use may eventually widen to include healthy younger people. Statins are the most widely prescribed drug in Britain. The number of patients taking them is estimated at 5 million to 8 million. But there have been persistent complaints about side effects such as muscle pain and weakness. The most serious adverse reaction is sympathy in about 1 in 1,000 users, resulting in muscle pain, tenderness and weakness. This condition can progress to rhabdomyolysis, a complete breakdown of muscle cells that can lead to kidney failure and death. In some patients muscle weakness may even after stopping the drugs. And a British Heart Foundation survey found that one in three patients prescribed the drugs doesn't take them, partly because of the side effects. The latest survey investigated the scale of illnesses linked to statins, including muscle weakness, muscle cramps and tendon disease. Dr. Ishak Mansi, of the veterans Association North Texas Health Care System in Dallas, and colleagues used data from the US military health care system. Patients were divided into two groups: 6,967 who used statins at least 90 days in 2005, and 6,967 non-users, says a report published on line by JAMA International Medicine. Statin patients were almost 20 per cent more likely than non-users to have a diagnosis of a muscular skeletal disease, a 13 per cent higher risk of a dislocation, strain or sprain, and slightly higher risk of muscle pain. They were no more at risk of joint diseases such as osteoarthritis than non users. The report said: "To our knowledge, this is the first study to show statin use is associated with an increased likelihood of diagnosis of musculoskeletal conditions, joint diseases and injuries. There have been growing calls for over 50-s to take statins, not just those at risk of a heart attack. But the researchers say any significant on general health, however small, should be carefully considered. These findings are concerning because starting statin therapy at a young age for primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases has been widely advocated they say. Manufacturers' warnings about side effects include muscle pain and weakness, memory loss, fatigue, sleep disturbances, sexual dysfunction and depression. There is also a higher risk of developing diabetes. British experts said the study a very small impact of statins, increasing the risk of musculoskeletal disorders overall from 85 per cent in those not on statins to 87 per cent on a statin. Helen Williams
By the way ... Trust your doctor on statins. Daily Mail May 2014
The war of opinion about statins, the cholesterol-lowering drugs, continues. Last week, the BMJ was reported to have 'overstated' the dangers of taking statins by up to 20 times. The journal has withdrawn these statements and is investigating whether the articles that contained them should be retracted, too. But for the patient's sake, I hope we're in the closing stages of great statin debate. There are two major issues: whether people who have raised cholesterol but are otherwise healthy should take statins; and whether, in their case, the side effects outweigh the benefits. There's no doubt about statins' benefits if you've dad a heart attack of stroke. Scans have shown statin treatment causes cholesterol fatty blockages to shrink -- it really is a dyno-rod pill for those patients and it saves lives. The problem is the otherwise healthy who rely on anecdotes from internet cyber-chondriacs about side effects. In my experience, statins have virtually no side effects, though my postbag on this matter heaves with accusations that I'm biased. All I'm trying to do is the best for my patients and that means studying the research and not relying on anecdote. As a recent Imperial College study showed, statins, have few side effects. There are claims this study was flawed, but it still backs the findings of another major study six years ago. In the Jupiter trial, 17,000 healthy men and women were given 20mg of rosuvastatin daily or a placebo. The trial was stopped early by an independent safety and monitoring board as one group - those taking statins - were doing so much better that it was unethical for the other group not to be on statins, too. But that's not the point: the key is that the total number of serious side effects (muscle weakness, newly diagnosed cancer, or disorders of any of the major systems) was similar in both groups. In my experience, side-effects mainly occur in people who haven't had a heart attack or stroke. This healthy group are so sensitive to the widely held view that taking a statin might upset them and some don't even want to try. Those who do, too easily attribute the aches and pains, stiffness, occasional nausea, sleepless nights and fatigue that effect many of us in later life to the statin. But these various symptoms come and go: and so when the drug is stopped and the symptoms disappear, patients often put this down to the ghastly drug at last being withdrawn. My message is simple on statins: listen to the experts.
Malcolm found a natural way to fight Cholesterol weekly news 05 07 2014
During a health check four years ago, Malcolm Thomson (71) learned that at over 7, his cholesterol was far too high, writes Gavin Sherriff. His doctor told Malcolm it was putting him in the high risk for a heart attack and stroke. Malcolm, who's from North Yorkshire, was prescribed statins, but says he wasn't warned of the potential side effects. "It was a gradual thing over months -- I suppose this is why I didn't connect it to my medication," he reveals. "The symptoms were subtle and over time, became more chronic. "I put the aches and pains down to my age, and decided I would just have to put up with it. "I was on statins for three years in total. "In the end, the side effects were really quite debilitating. "In particular, I suffered from aching mussels in my legs. "This was really difficult as I struggled with basic movements such as walking and sitting down. "Even when I was lying down, I didn't feel comfortable. "It was a general feeling of discomfort that was there most of the time. "I also suffered dizziness," adds Malcolm. "When this got really bad, I went back to my doctor, but he didn't say this might be connected to my medication. Even though he knew he was putting himself at risk of higher cholesterol, Malcolm eventually felt so bad, he decided to stop taking statins altogether. A year later his cholesterol had risen 6.7 compared to 5 when he had been taking statins. Through a friend who had been in America, he heard about a product called Vascular Natural, now available in British pharmacies and health stores. "I started taking the product around four months ago," says Malcolm. "I feel a big sense of relief that my cholesterol is coming back down again to a healthy level (now 5.5) "The product is good because it is made up of natural ingredients which don't produce any side effects. "I would happily recommend Vascular Natural to anyone who finds the are suffering side effects from taking statins. "This product is definitely doing the job and I feel a lot better. "It's really nice to know I am taking care of my health without having to take prescription medication."
Statins are no risk to health. Top heart doctors give the drug final seal of approval You wouldn't know what to believe? Daily Express 02 07 2014 by Jo Willy
Statins are safe and "The jury is no longer out" on whether the benefits outweigh the risks, leading heart experts said yesterday. Research over 25 years has provided clear and definite to back the use of the cholesterol-lowering drugs they said. The heart pills have been mired in controversy after scare stories about their dangers. These were later retracted. In May, researchers were forced to withdraw "Misleading" claims about statins published in the respected British Medical Journal which over estimated side effects 20-fold. They later accepted the research, which claimed the drugs caused higher rates of diabetes, tiredness and muscle pain than previously been scientifically proven, was incorrect. At the time, medics warned that thousands of people could be needlessly putting their lives at risk if they stopped taking the life saving pills because of the false claim that statins had severe side effects in a fifth of patients. Now six leading scientists have joined forces to declare that the evidence is "Substantial" that the pills are safe. However they say that people should not rely on the medication as a 'quick fix' but be encouraged to adopt healthier lifestyles to lower heart attack and stroke risk and make an informed choice with a doctor about statins. Professor Sir Rory Collins, head of The Nuffield Department of Population Health at Oxford University, said: "Side effects could put off high-risk patients from taking their life saving medication. Major vascular events such as heart attacks or strokes are life-changing for many people so to avoid these is important. "The benefits outweigh the risks. The evidence is substantial that the treatment is safe but it remains a choice but one they can only make if they are not misinformed." He added it was common for older people taking statins to suffer aches and pains but trials had shown these were just as common in those not taking drugs. Professor George Davey Smith, of the University ob Bristol said 25 years of research had provided definite and clear evidence to support the use of statins. He said: "The jury is no longer out on the cost/benefit ratio." Following the BMJ story, the medicines and healthcare products Regulatory Agency issued a safe update reassuring patients over statins.
Statins can occasionally cause muscle inflammation (swelling) and damage. Speak to your doctor if you experience muscle pain, tenderness or weakness that cannot be explained (for example, pain that is not due to physical work).
Your doctor will carry out a blood test to measure a substance in your blood called creatine kinase (CK), which is released into the blood when your muscles are inflamed or damaged.
If the level of CK in your blood is more than five times the normal level, your doctor may advise you to stop taking the statin. Regular exercise can sometimes lead to a rise in CK, so tell your doctor if you have been exercising a lot.
Once your CK level has returned to normal, your doctor may suggest you start taking the statin again, but at a lower dose.
Widespread Statin use is 'foolhardy' says expert. daily Mail 17 07 2014 by Sophie Borland
Giving statins to five million more patients is 'foolhardy' and 'unsafe' according to an Oxford academic. Professor Kim McPherson warned that too little is known about the side effects of the drugs which include type 2 diabetes and muscular pain. The NHS watchdog NICE is expected to publish guile lines tomorrow urging GPs to offer them to anyone with a 10% risk of developing heart disease within a decade. They are only given to those with a 20% risk and around seven million Britons take them. The statins cost as little as 10 pence a day and work by lowering cholesterol in the blood, thereby preventing the arteries becoming clogged with fatty deposits. But leading GPs, cardiologists and academics are concerned that not enough is known about side effects which include memory problems, dizziness, type 2 diabetes and muscular pain. It has also emerged that 6 out of 12 experts drawing up the guide lines have financial ties to drug firms who make statins or similar pills. But NICE said the pills have the potential to save thousands of lives. In a letter to the BMJ, Professor McPherson, who specialises in public heath epidemiolises, wrote: "Recommending that 5 million more people take statins life long for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease without knowing enough about the side effects is foolhardy. He said: "The data on side effects needs to be public and scrutinised by qualified independent assessors. But Maureen Talbot, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, and other doctors defended the use of statins. She said: "They have been proven to be safe and effective and are vital in helping reduce people's risk of heart attack and stroke."
Statin Wars. Doctors are bitterly divided over calls for half of all adults to be put on pills to cut cholesterol. Here's what you need to know. Daily Mail 22 07 2014 by Tom Rawstorne
Having reached the age of 72, Professor Klim McPherson was prepared to accept some deterioration in his physical capabilities. But, when earlier this year, he found he was struggling to bend over and tie his shoelaces, he decided enough was enough. And so it was that little more than a month ago, the Oxford Don stopped taking the little orange tablets his doctor had prescribed him and and which he had been swallowing every night before bed time for the last three years. To his great surprise, within seven days, the aches and pains that had so restricted his movements had almost entirely disappeared. "I'd been finding it difficult getting down the stairs and had to negotiate them step by step." says Professor McPherson, one of the country's most eminent public health experts. "As for reaching my laces, that was painful and uncomfortable. But now I can do all the things I couldn't do before." The medication that Professor McPherson had chosen to do without is a statin called Simvastatin. Like the seven million or so other Britons who take statins on a daily basis, the professor had been prescribed the drug to lower hi cholesterol levels and and to reduce the risk of strokes or heart attacks. In this way the NHS estimates the drugs, which can cost as little as £160 for a 12 month course, save 7,000 lives a year. And so it is against the background that last week, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), THE NHS watchdog , issued guidance that the drugs should in future be prescribed even more widely --- in fact, to almost half of all adults. 'Cardiovascular disease (CVD) maims and kills people through coronary heart disease, peripheral arterial disease and stroke,' explained NICE's Professor Marl Baker. Together these kill one in three of us. Our proposals are intended to prevent many lives being destroyed. A worthy aim, undoubtedly. However to say that not everybody agrees with role statins have to play in the future health of the nation would be something of an understatement. NICE's proposals have caused an unprecedented outbreak of warfare among the medical and scientific community. On one side are those who whole heartedly support the ever widening use of statins. On the other side are those who believe their side effects have been massively under estimated. This, some claim, is due to an over-reliance on research funded by the pharmaceutical industry, for whom statins have proved to be the singe most profitable class of drug ever manufactured. They argue that depression , cataracts, an increased risk of diabetes, and the sort of muscle pain experienced by Professor MePherson could affect anywhere between 10 and 40 percent of statin users. And while they do not deny the benefit statins can bring to those at a high risk of heart disease, they warn against putting millions of healthy patients on pills for the rest of their lives. We're the statins capital of Europe At the centre of this battle is the patient, confused and unsure what to believe. It is a worrying state of affairs and one that some fear could have terrible consequences. 'there are some real concerns people will come off statins because of this and then a fatal heart attack will occur,' says Jules Payne, CEO of the charity HEART UK, which provides support, guidance and education services to healthcare professionals and people with concerns about cholesterol. 'We will lose people when the whole point of this is to keep people alive.' Statins work by lowering levels of cholesterol, the fatty substance in the blood that clogs up arteries. They block the action of a certain enzyme in the liver which makes 'bad' cholesterol, called low density lipoprotein. While statins are routinely given to patients who have had heart attacks, or bypass surgery, they are also given to patients at risk of CVD. GPs calculate the level of risk by looking at factors such as smoking history, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and body mass index. Doctors in this country used to prescribe statins only to those with a 30% risk of a heart attack within the next decade, but this was cut to 20% risk in 2005. As a result, Britain has become not just the statinns capital of Europe, but the second highest prescriber of the drug in the western world after Australia. Under new NICE guidelines, the threshold would be lowered further still so that those who have a 10% risk will be offered statins. NICE estimates that between 5 and 10 million adults are currently taking the drugs, although 12.5 million are eligible. But under the new guidelines another 4.5 million would qualify. This means that 17 million adults -- nearly half of the 37 million adults in Britain -- would either be on statins or offered them. Part of the reason for this change is that many statins are now out of patent, meaning that they cost just a few pence a day. Preventing a heart attack in this way is obviously much cheaper for the NHS that treating someone who has suffered one. But some doctors are concerned. They warn that while the drugs themselves may be cheap, once the cost of extra GP appointments to prescribe and monitor patients is added in, the annual cost to the NHS could run into billions of pounds. They also claim that by targeting a relatively low risk section of the population, the plan could make minimal difference to the number of heart attacks and strokes while exposing millions more people to possible side effects.
New drug alternative for statins
A new cholesterol-lowering drug that could be used as an alternative to statins is being tested by scientists. It works by blocking a protein that keeps harmful LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream. Htis is different from statins, which are thought to work by reducing the amount of bad cholesterol produced by the liver in the first place. Around 400 people with high cholesterol are taking part in a trial at five centres across the US, where the new drug RN316, will be compared with atorvastatin. Previous research, presented at the American College of Cardiology in Washington, suggests the new drug can significantly reduce bad cholesterol. The new trial hopes to show it is more effective for people unable to tolerate statins' side-effects, such as muscle pain.
Statins "work best if they are taken before bedtime"
Many popular pills -- including some cholesterol -- busting statins -- would be better taken at night rather than in the morning, scientists believe. They say widely--used tablets such as low dose aspirin would be more effective if timed with the body's natural rhythms. Scientists showed that individual genes are governed by the body clock and become more or less active at certain times of the day. They found that nearly half of all mouse genes work harder at some points in the 24-hour cycle than others , with rush hours of activity just before sawn and dusk. Although the study was on mice, most mouse genes have twins in humans. Many common drugs home in an these genes and so should be most effective when the genes are most active. This is particularly important in the case of medicines such as aspirin, which are broken down quickly by the body. The University of Pennsylvania study found 56 of the 100 best--selling drugs in the US acton genes that ebb and flow over the day. Similarly, 119 of the pills on the World Health Organisation's list of essential medicines may work better at a certain time of the day, the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Scientists reports. Pennsylvania University's pharmacology professor John Hogenesch said more work is needed to say when is the best time to take each pill. However, research already shows that low dose aspirin, taken daily by millions of Britons who have survived a heart attack or stroke to keep their blood thin, is best taken at night. This ensures the drug has time to work before morning -- the peak time fr heart attacks. Likewise simvastatin, one of the most widely used cholesterol--lowering statin pills, should also be taken at bedtime. This is because the drug works by blocking a key step in the production of cholesterol, an not the gene behind this step is most active at night. Patients are already told to take simvastatin in the evening, however many still it at the wrong time. Some will take the drug in the morning to prevent them forgetting. Professor Hogenesch said: "There's a huge opportunity for improving the action of existing drugs through better timing. Heidi Wright, of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said: "Simvastatin ....is best taken at bedtime as your liver makes most of your cholesterol at night." Low--dose aspirin works by making your blood less sticky. There is research that says more heart attacks occur in the morning, so...reducing this stickiness by the morning could help prevent heart attacks. By Fiona Macrae Daily Mail 29 10 2014
£5 blood test that could help statins to save more lives.
Two key genes that affect how well cholesterol--busting statins work have been identified by British doctors. The finding paves the way for a life -- saving blood test to help ensure patients cholesterol is kept under control. The simple and inexpensive test could also be used to identify those at risk of side--effects and help doctors target individual patients with the most effective statins. Statins, which lower levels of artery--clogging cholesterol, are the most widely prescribed drugs in Britain, taken by up to eight million people. They are credited with saving thousands of lives a year, but side--effects, from blurred vision and fatigueto muscle and liver damage, can deter people from taking them. Plus, the drugs simply work better in some patients than others. Working with scientists from around the world, researchers from Queen Mary, University of London, have now shed light on why this is. By analysing the DNA of more than 40,000 statin users, they found two genes linked to how much the drugs lowered cholesterol. One of the genes makes it harder for statins to get into the liver, where they lower cholesterol, making the drugs less effective. The second gene, however, makes statins work extra--well, the journal Nature Communications reports. Lead researcher Professor Mark Caulfield now wants to discover if the genes affect a person's risk of heart attacks and strokes. This extra research could lead to patients having a blood test before being prescribed statins. If their genes showed they will respond poorly to the drugs, they could be given a higher dose, a particular type of statin, or a different cholesterol--lowering medicine entirely. It is hoped the test would also spot those at risk of muscle wasting, a rare but potentially dangerous side--effect of statins. More generally, keeping a lid on cholesterol with help of the test could prevent deadly heart attacks and strokes -- and reduce the number of people living with disability caused by them. The test could cost as little as £5 per person and take just a year to develop. However, studies would have to show it would save the NHS money overall if it was to become routinely used. Study co-author Dr. Michael Barnes said: "Statins are one of the safest and most effective drugs in clinical use. Some statins are more effective than others in different individuals. This study highlights .... genes that may individually or collectively influence the way statins act in the body. In future this information could help us select the most effective statin for each patient. Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: "Statins are highly effective at lowering 'bad' cholesterol and reducing heart attacks. These findings increase our understanding of how the body regulates cholesterol levels and may help provide clues for treatments in the future. It also shows that a simple personal genetic test could be used to predict how effective statin treatment would be. However, as these genes only account for a small percentage of the difference in patients response to statins, and cholesterol levels are already monitored to assess their their effectiveness, a test may not add any clinical benefit. By Fiona Macrae Daily Mail 30 10 2014
'Brain statin' could stop us ever getting Alzheimer's Daily Mail 13 02 2016
A statin for the brain could prevent millions of people from ever developing Alzheimer's disease, scientists say. They have discovered a drug that could stop the first stage of the disease. They say that, just as statins are given to those at risk of heart attacks, people could take 'neurostatins' to ward off dementia. Everyone over the age of 30 could be offered them to keep their brain healthy for as long as possible. And researchers hope that the discovery could eventually lead to treatment for Alzheimer's itself. The research by Cambridge University will bring hope to the 800,000 Britons and milllions worldwide who suffer from the disease. Existing drugs can delay the progresssion of Alzheimer's, but their failure to tackle the underlying causes mean they quickly wear off. The team looked at amyloid beta, the sticky protein that clogs the brain of Alzheimer's patients and kills vital cells.
Statins fear 'leading to thousands of deaths' 'One of the biggest scandals' by Ben Spencer Daily Mail 03-05-2017
Tens of thousands of people die every year because claims about statins' side effects left them too afraid to take potntially life saving drug, a scientist has warned. Professor Peter Sever yesterday called on officials to remove information about adverse effects from the pills packaging. The Imperial College London professor said there is little evidence side effects such as muscle are caused by statins. He added that by refusing to take the cholesterol busting drugs, people are putting themselves at risk of heart attacks and strokes. Professor Sever, lead author of a major survey into statins, found in a trial that patients who di not know they were taking statins started reporting muscle only when they were made aware they were on the drug. He said the only possible explanation was that the pain was not caused by the drug but was due to a 'nocebo effect'. This is when people become convinced their drugs are causing side effects and is the opposite of a 'placebo' effect in which dummy drugs improve people's health. 'People are dying because of a nocebo effect, in my opinion, he said. 'this is not a case of people making up symptoms. Patients can experience very real pain as a result of the nocebo effect. What our study shows is that it's precisely the expectation of harm that is likely causing the increase in muscle pain and weakness.' As well as muscle pain the supposed side effects of statins include sleep problems, erectile dysfunction and cognitive impairment. Professor Sever said the medicines and Healthcare products Regularity Agency (MHRA) had 'jumped the gun' by insisting the side effects be listed on packaging nearly a decade ago. He said: There are people out there dying because they are not taking statins, and the numbers are large, the numbers are tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands. Roughly six million people in Britain are thought to take statins, preventing 80,000 heart attacks and strokes every year. However , another six million should be taking the drugs. Professor Sever, whose work is published in the Lancet medical journal, led a study tracking 10,180 patients aged 40 to 79 over five and a half years. When people were told they were taking the drug their complaints of muscle pain increased by 41 per cent. Professor Sever, who himself takes statins, stressed there are some real side effects, but these are rare. They include myopathy, which results in severe muscle weakness. His trial was funded by drugs firm Pfizer which makes statins. Professor Sever said Pfizer had not influenced this study. Cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra, a critic of the mass use of statins, said: 'I fear the misrepresentation of research of statins -- both in terms of benefit and harms -- will one of the biggest cons and scandals in the history of medicine.' An MHRA spokesman insisted side--effects are only listed on drug packets if there are a reasonable possibility.
I'm on Atorvastatin 20 mg taken one every night before going to bed. MA Holder: TEVA UK Lld.
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