Strange case of the missing evidence for statin safety

There has been a new twist in the statin saga – the heated debate about whether these drugs are as safe and effective as the official view claims.

Now it turns out that the senior academic who believes they have virtually no side effects has told a newspaper that he hasn’t actually done the analysis needed to show that they are as safe as he claimed. Last summer he fiercely attacked several researchers who suggested the risk was greater we were being told.

The breathtaking chutzpah makes it darkly funny but there are millions on these drugs,virtually everyone over 60 is eligible for a prescription to prevent heart disease, so if they are damaging more people than they help, that’s potentially a major drugs disaster.

To make the situation even more confusing if you are trying to make what should be a simple decision – to statin or not to statin – it now also turns out that the way benefits are calculated is misleading and could be giving a much more rosy picture of just how much heart protection these drugs offer in the real world.

Details of these latest developments, and why the way we assess the benefits of not just statins but all drugs needs to change, can be found on:
http://healthinsightuk.org/2015/02/19/keep-statin-supremo-away-from-the-missing-side-effect-data/

Advertisements

Comments

  1. David Bailey says:

    To me, the amazing thing is the way in which all sorts of junk science is put out when there is plenty of factual evidence pointing in another direction. What is particularly amazing is that most scientists in the relevant fields either don’t grasp the truth, or simply decide to sit tight and watch science destroy itself.

    Medical science is just one example:

    It is wrong about cholesterol, about the dangers of salt, about the dangers of saturated fats, and wrong about the correct way to treat diabetics! Maybe it has also been wrong to emphasise mutations in cancer!

    The same sort of thing seems to have happened in Climate Science. The theory that CO2 was causing a rise in temperatures, was explored using data from weather stations, which was averaged, and searched for a trend of the order of 1/10 deg C per decade – far less than the resolution of the thermometers, which were also subject to all sorts of systematic errors – such as encroaching urbanisation, which then had to be corrected for using computer models!

    When even that data stopped supporting the theory, and all their predictions came out wrong, they still put out a message of doom demanding ever more stringent CO2 reductions. Whenever a prediction has come out wrong – such as the almost two decades long pause in global temperatures vs their prior prediction of steady warming, or the recent recovery of ice in the Arctic – someone has come up with a new speculative computer model to explain the results after the fact, notwithstanding their failed previous predictions!

    The parallels with cholesterol are remarkable – where data showing little relationship between its level in the blood and cardiovascular events was massaged in various ways and presented to the general public in a completely misleading form.

    The Global Warming crowd even have their own equivalent of Ancel Keys (who used a cherry picked graph to further his career by starting a campaign against saturated fat). Michael Mann actually published a paper in Nature in which he plotted multiple curves on one graph, positioned so as to hide the fact that he had cut off part of a curve that didn’t support his theory!

    In both these areas, those supporting the orthodox (but almost certainly wrong) position seem to avoid any real debate, preferring to make pronouncements from on high.

    Even though I studied chemistry to post doctoral level 40 years ago, the only modern science that I really trust nowadays is that which is validated by producing a really effective gadget or treatment!

  2. There is definitely much more going on, from pharmaceutical false advertising, bribery, to misdrafting Cholesterol Guidelines. Statin doesn’t treatment the causes of cardiovascular diseases, and side effects reported first-hand by patients are mounting and forthcoming.

  3. Hello Jerome,
    I was wondering if your view on statins was’nt too optimistic 🙂
    Did you happen this well argumented book by a scientist from the proper field ?

    Cholesterol and statins: Sham science and bad medicine by Michael de Lorgeril
    http://goo.gl/orXSH5

    The author debunks the cholesterol theory of all evil. He takes the founding mother studies of statin mythology to pieces, showing that statins in secondary prevention studies were at best flawed and spun. He gives the figures and article excerpts in support of his scientific analysis.
    Nowadays many physicians have come to consider that statins are of dubious utility in primary prevention, but still hold true “they work in patients with heart disease”. This is just unfortunately not true and the truth, I think, cannot come from experts in the field. When you’ve been involved that deeply you cannot see you were wrong. A science philosopher said it bettter (forgot his name but the internet helped): Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Grossly, revolutionary scientists tend to be outsiders to the field to which they make their revolutionary contribution. Difficult to admit you’ve been prescribing statins to no avail to thousands of patients. Or just believing in an unsubstanciated or even fraudulent research.

    Did you read this ? I did it fr my personnal health needs and was stunned. I’m a physician with some training in properly assessing medical papers, and this is stunning (and appallling).

    • I’m aware of de Lorgeril’s book but haven’t read it. It’s now pretty clear that the reason the health establishment has been so resistant to taking any serious notice of the mounting critique of the low fat diet, the dangers of cholesterol and the value of statins is that they are the pillars of one of our main public health policies. Abandon one and pretty soon the others fall and then the whole policy and more importantly the income it generates is in ruins.

      So each has to be maintained to prop up the others. From that point of view now is not the time to suggest that lowering cholesterol has no health benefit with a new and eye-wateringly expensive generation of cholesterol drugs on the way. One of the front runners is PCSK0 which is a total cholesterol hoover but it hasn’t been shown to have any effect on heart disease a shortcoming the American drugs agency – FDA – has been happy to ignore.

  4. Hello Jerome,
    I was wondering if you r view on statins was’nt too optimistic 🙂
    Did you happen this well argumented book by a scientist from the proper field ?

    Cholesterol and statins: Sham science and bad medicine by Michael de Lorgeril
    http://goo.gl/orXSH5

    The author debunks the cholesterol theory of all evil. He takes the founding mother studies of statin mythology to pieces, showing that statins in secondary prevention studies were at best flawed and spun. He gives the figures and article excerpts in support of his scientific analysis.
    Nowadays many physicians have come to consider that statins are of dubious utility in primary prevention, but still hold true “they work in patients with heart disease”. This is just unfortunately not true and the truth, I think, cannot come from experts in the field. When you’ve been involved that deeply you cannot see you were wrong. A science philosopher said it bettter (forgot his name but the internet helped): Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Grossly, revolutionary scientists tend to be outsiders to the field to which they make their revolutionary contribution. Difficult to admit you’ve been prescribing statins to no avail to thousands of patients. Or just believing in an unsubstanciated or even fraudulent research.

    Did you read this ? I did it fr my personnal health needs and was stunned. I’m a physician with some training in properly assessing medical papers, and this is stunning (and appallling).

Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: