ENCORE: The Truth About Statins, Part 1


The Truth About Statins: Risks and Alternatives to Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs. Cardiologist Barbara Roberts, M.D. dishes on the exaggerated benefits and underplayed risks of statins. One in 4 U.S. adults aged 40-75 takes these cholesterol-lowering drugs. Dr. Roberts asserts that the American Heart Association, which wholeheartedly endorses statins, is merely a marketing arm of the pharmaceutical industry. Statin side effects include muscle aches, liver problems, cognitive decline, fatigue, cataracts, and a markedly higher risk of diabetes, especially in women. Reported benefits of statins are hyped with statistical manipulation and publication bias. Drugs that “halve the risk of heart problems” may only confer a 1% reduction in absolute risk with use over five years. Scores and sometimes hundreds of patients need to take statins unnecessarily with their accompanying side effects to save a single patient from heart attack or death. Yet, the indications for statin use have been extended to encompass millions more “at risk” Americans according to new, dubious criteria. Dr. Roberts argues that, while a small percentage of patients need statins, the vast majority of people can favorably impact their risk with a Mediterranean diet and exercise. For some groups, particularly older Americans and most women, statins are of minimal benefit and may be downright harmful. Studies show that low cholesterol is associated with higher risk of death among seniors—which is bad news for the new raft of PSK-9 lipid drugs currently under consideration for approval that lower cholesterol even more dramatically than statins. Click HERE for part 2.


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