Wednesday, June 7, 2017

PSA: Cholesterol drug side effects

Every now and then Side has a personal experience we feel is worthy of passing along to our readers.  We’ve had one of real significance recently, and we want you to know about it. 

Rather than blather (we’re poets!) on about the background, suffice it to say we had sufficient cause to look into the side effects of the statin drugs so commonly prescribed these days.  We’ve been on one for five years, prescribed not because we had high cholesterol, but because we reached the age of 70.  That’s the current “guidance” in the doctoring world.

Over the last ‘several’ years, we began to notice stiffness and aching, especially in our legs, and have been very unhappy about it.  It never dawned on us that this could be a drug side-effect; we simply assumed it was a consequence of growing old and being vertical.

Here’s a slightly edited version of the email we sent to friends and family on the subject.  At the very least, we suggest you do your own thinking and follow up research if you or someone you know is taking these drugs.  If nothing else, we are extremely disappointed that we haven’t come across numerous articles over the years publicizing this information, which is so easily accessible on the internet.

I was at my Doctor's office yesterday to talk about side-effects of statins, etc.  BTW, I'm just short of 3 weeks since discontinuing use, and my improvement continues in general mobility and reduction in aching muscles.

It's clear there is much controversy over the use of the drugs and when indicated, especially for us older types.  He talked about the side effects "window" overlapping the "therapeutic window," etc.  He also mentioned a new study he had just received.  I think there is a constant flow of such ‘new information.’

The plan is for me to go without for 6 weeks total, and then have blood drawn to see where we are; then we'll talk.

I mentioned the situation to another close friend and got this response:

"I suspect that you are late to the party. I ran into this about 8 years ago after taking Lipitor for 18 months. Muscles all over ached and I felt worse than my father who was then 99.  Intervening years have tried about 5 other statins. As soon as I stopped taking, aches went away.  I have been on one for almost 3 years that I can tolerate but statin-believing doctors say it isn't as good as some of the others I can't tolerate.  There is a raging debate on whether statins do one bit of good, and if they are even harmful.. Some believe that the rise in dementia is due to wide consumption of statins because the brain is made up of fat and needs fat."

This friend's husband has been a patient at the Cleveland Clinic for a number of years following a cardiac arrest incident.  A few hours after the reply above she added this:

"The people (even Cardiologists at Cleveland Clinic) we see are such believers in statins that it would be hard to shake them from it.  I just hope that statins aren't causing anything more than a burden on the pocketbook and aches. It would be awful if they are causing dementia too!"

Our daughter added this comment:

My chiro neighbor, who obviously doesn't believe in meds (the pharma industry is evil), has said cholesterol is needed! The rise in Alzheimer's he believes, is a direct cause of the no cholesterol movement we saw decades ago.

Keep doing your research. If your levels are not sky high, but can be maintained in decent range with watching food intake, that should be an option ( course it means really watching your animal fat intake!)

It goes without saying (what a dumb ass phrase!) that we are not medically trained.  But it seems to us that Alzheimers and/or dementia rates have been climbing in recent decades, at more or less the same time use of statin drugs has become far more common.  We remind you that we were prescribed their use simply because of our age.  Correlation is not causation; but it should be reason to evaluate the possibilities.

So please take this not as advice or guidance in any respect, but as the suggestion of a friend to look into your own situation if any of this applies, as well as that of family members and friends if it may be of relevance to them.  To repeat, the lack of such information in everyday media astonishes us, and that needs to change.


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