For nearly two decades we’ve been warning our readers against the dangers of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. And if you are over the age of 50 (and in some cases even younger) chances are that at some point your doctor must have tried to prescribe a statin drug to you.
The statin prescription frenzy all comes down to current guidelines suggesting that almost everyone over the age of 55 should be given these drugs as a preventative against cardiovascular disease — even if you are at very low risk of heart disease!
However, based on the latest study results doctors are finally beginning to listen to patients’ concerns when it comes to reporting the side effects of these drugs… and the drastic drop in prescription rates is proof of this.
The statin tide is turning
According to this recent study, published in the British Journal of General Practice, doctors are only prescribing statins to one in five patients who are “eligible” to start taking them amid growing scepticism over the efficacy and safety of these drugs.
Statin drugs are the most commonly prescribed drug in the world and it is estimated that more than seven million people in the UK are currently taking a statin drug. However, revised NHS guidelines in 2014 suggested that five million people at lower risk would also benefit from taking statins. But instead of seeing an upsurge in prescriptions, new prescriptions have halved in the past decade.
And it all comes down to patients being increasingly aware of the side effects associated with these drugs, including the increased risk of type 2 diabetes, memory loss, muscle pain, fatigue, migraines, brain fog, kidney damage, liver dysfunction… and the list goes on and on.
Of course, Big Pharma and its cronies deny the severity of these side effects and still insist that adverse effects like muscle pain and diabetes risk are rarer than previously thought.
However, there is growing concern among patients about the risks associated with statins and many doubt the benefits of these drugs when they are also fully aware of their risks. Attempts by statin diehards using statistics and complex calculations to illustrate the benefits of these drugs are also failing, with one leading journal, the British Medical Journal, accusing another, The Lancet, of trying to silence sceptics.
It’s no wonder doctors are reluctant to recommend drugs that the majority of patients feel offer no benefit.
Commenting on the results of this latest study, Dr. Samuel Finnikin from the University of Birmingham said: “It’s very hard, when you’re faced with a patient you have started on a medicine and they say they have a side-effect, to tell them: ‘No, you don’t.’ That’s not real life.”
He added that, “We should give people credit for the decisions they make… It’s a bit paternalistic to say if they really understood the evidence they would take statins… Some people accept a risk for [the sake of enjoying] a better quality of life.”
Dr. Clare Gerada, a leading GP and statin sceptic, said patients and doctors were finding that the “medicalisation of life is becoming oppressive”. She added: “Patients, I think rightly, are making lifestyle choices and saying: ‘If I have one less piece of cheesecake I don’t have to take a statin.’ ”
Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs, also added her voice to the debate, saying: “Taking any medication long term is a substantial undertaking for patients… Many don’t want to take statins once they have learnt all the facts — and GPs will respect patient choice.”
I don’t know about you but it looks like the tide is definitely turning against statin drugs. And that’s a good thing.
I just wonder what’s going to happen to when millions of people will stand together and seek compensation for the side effects they have suffered as a result of tasking these drugs.
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Fewer high-risk patients put on statins since NICE guidance, study finds, published online 4 October 2017, pulsetoday.co.uk
Doctors give statins to only one fifth of patients who qualify, published online 24.10.17, thetimes.co.uk