Why not to take statin drugs – by Dr Mercola

A good article on the dangers of statin drugs:

The Cancer-Causing Mistake 1 in 4 People Over 45 Make
Posted By Dr. Mercola | December 07 2011

•A recent study found that use of any statin drug, in any amount, was
associated with a significantly increased risk for prostate cancer
•Findings from previous studies investigating the statin-cancer link
have been mixed, but a number of studies over the past 15 years have
raised warnings over such a potential link
•Current cholesterol guidelines, which recommend LDL levels of less
than 100 or even less than 70 for patients at very high risk of heart
disease, are dangerously low, and are likely doing far more harm than
good
•While reducing your risk of heart disease is the primary motivation
for prescribing statins, these drugs can actually increase your risk
of heart disease because they deplete your body of CoQ10, which can
lead to heart failure. If you’re on statin drug therapy, you must also
take a CoQ10 or ubiquinol supplement to stave off irreparable
mitochondrial damage
•Statin drugs do not modulate LDL particle size, and particle size is
the factor that can make LDL “bad” in the first place. Small LDL
particles get easily stuck and cause chronic inflammation, which
raises your risk of heart disease, while large, buoyant LDL particles
do not have such adverse effects. Particle size can only be modulated
through dietary intervention

By Dr. Mercola

Statins, drugs that lower your cholesterol levels, are one of the most
widely prescribed drugs in the world. In the US, a staggering one in
four over the age of 45 is now taking this unnecessary drug! Statins
act by blocking a crucial enzyme in your liver responsible for making
cholesterol. But that’s not all this enzyme is responsible for. This
enzyme also makes CoQ10, which is essential for mitochondrial health.

Perhaps it’s not so surprising then that many potentially dangerous
side effects go hand-in-hand with statin drug use.

To date, there are no less than 900 studies proving their adverse
effects, which run the gamut from muscle problems to diabetes, to
birth defects and increased cancer risk.

Statins May Increase Prostate Cancer Risk
One recent study sought to determine whether the use of statin drugs
was associated with prostate cancer risk.

The researchers looked at close to 400 prostate cancer patients who
had a first-time diagnosis during the period between 2005 and 2008.

They found that use of any statin drug, in any amount, was associated
with a significantly increased risk for prostate cancer.

In addition, there was an increasing risk that came along with an
increasing cumulative dose.

According to the study:
“The results of this case-control study suggest that statins may
increase the risk of prostate cancer.”

Statins Have Been Linked to Increased Cancer Risk for More Than a Decade
While the evidence still appears a bit all over the map, with study
results ranging from increased cancer risk to reduced risk, to no
noticeable risk at all, what IS clear is that conventional medicine
still does not understand the full ramifications of artificially
lowering your cholesterol levels, and they simply don’t know whether
or not the use of these drugs may be adding fuel to an already out of
control cancer epidemic.

In short, with well over 30 million Americans now taking statin drugs,
we’re witnessing a massive ongoing ‘live’ experiment.

Over 10 years ago, research indicated that besides lowering
cholesterol, statins could also promote the growth of new blood
vessels. And, although this effect may help to prevent heart attacks
and other forms of heart disease, it may also promote cancer as well
by increasing the growth of blood vessels in cancerous tumors.
Meanwhile, other studies have indicated the complete opposite; that
statins can inhibit angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels),
so again, it’s virtually impossible to say that statin safety and
effectiveness is based on hard science…

But the statin-cancer connection actually goes much farther back than
that. A review published in the Journal of the American Medical
Association in 1996 stated:
“All members of the two most popular classes of lipid-lowering drugs
(the fibrates and the statins) cause cancer in rodents, in some cases
at levels of animal exposure close to those prescribed to humans. …

Longer-term clinical trials and careful postmarketing surveillance
during the next several decades are needed to determine whether
cholesterol-lowering drugs cause cancer in humans.

In the meantime, the results of experiments in animals and humans
suggest that lipid-lowering drug treatment, especially with the
fibrates and statins, should be avoided except in patients at high
short-term risk of coronary heart disease.”

Cholesterol Guidelines are a Health Disaster
Needless to say, such warnings were completely ignored. Instead,
public health officials have gone the opposite way, happily following
the trail littered with the most cash.
Over the past decade, cholesterol guidelines have been altered to
create ever more ‘patients’ to be treated with cholesterol-lowering
drugs. In 2004, the U.S. government’s National Cholesterol Education
Program panel advised those at risk for heart disease to attempt to
reduce their LDL (bad) cholesterol to extremely low levels, and it’s
been a health disaster ever since.

Before 2004, a 130-milligram LDL cholesterol level was considered
healthy. The updated guidelines, however, recommended levels of less
than 100, or even less than 70 for patients at very high risk. These
updated guidelines instantly increased the market for
cholesterol-lowering drugs. The marked has further increased with the
call to begin screening children prior to puberty, and prescribing
statins to kids as young as eight.
Not surprisingly, eight of the nine doctors on the approval panel for
these absurdly low guidelines had financial ties to the companies
making these cholesterol-lowering drugs.

FDA Doesn’t “Believe” in Statin-Cancer Link
Back in 2008, troubling study findings were released showing a
dramatically increased risk of cancer related deaths in those taking
Inegy (also sold under the trade name Vytorin). The drug combines the
widely-used statin drug simvastatin with another medication called
ezetimibe, which blocks the absorption of cholesterol in your gut. The
study also found no benefit whatsoever from the drug.

This despite the fact that it reduced LDL cholesterol levels by a
respectable 61 percent, which “should have” had an effect on
cardiovascular events, based on the prevailing hypothesis that high
LDL equates to high risk of heart disease. So, in a nutshell, the drug
had no beneficial impact on the primary outcome (meaning it did not
reduce major cardiovascular adverse events), while more people
developed cancer on the treatment (105 versus 70 patients taking a
placebo), and more cancer related deaths (39 cancer deaths versus 23
in the control group).

A couple of months after the results were revealed, a panel assembled
by the American Academy of Cardiology declared that:
“… the aggressively marketed drug combination should be used only as
a last resort. There is currently no evidence that ezetimibe, which
reduces levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, improves
clinical outcomes such as myocardial infarction or death.”
In December 2009, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced
the completion of their review of the disturbing SEAS trial (above),
as well as interim data from two other large-scale ongoing
cardiovascular trials using Vytorin: the SHARP and IMPROVE-IT trials.
(The SHARP trial was concluded in 2010, while the IMPROVE-IT trial is
expected to be completed in 2012.)

Their conclusion?
“FDA believes it is unlikely that Vytorin or Zetia increase the risk
of cancer or cancer-related death.”

I don’t know how much faith you have in the FDA’s beliefs, but mine is
on pretty shaky ground… The FDA goes on to list a number of factors
that were weighed to reach the conclusion that they believe cancer is
unrelated to the drugs. You can review them for yourself here, and see
if you would concur with their assessment.

Statins May Increase Your Risk of Heart Disease
Ironically, while reducing your risk of cardiovascular events and
heart disease is the primary motivation for prescribing statins, these
drugs can actually increase your risk of heart disease because they
deplete your body of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which can lead to heart
failure.

Source: Prostate December 2011; 71(16): 1818-1824

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