Are there even more cholesterol drug side effects than we knew? I’ve had a love/hate relationship with statin cholesterol lowering drugs for years. Lately it’s been the latter.
It all began with inheriting my father’s genetic predisposition to high cholesterol. From my very first cholesterol test in my 20s, I was concerned. My first attempt at looking at solutions seemed to find a well accepted answer in statins. So like a good little sheep I promptly started taking them like many Americans do. My first inkling that this could be a problem came when my wife and I were trying to have kids via IVF. The doctor told me that statins might hurt our chances of conceiving, so I stopped and we had kids.
The second concern came when I read a news article about how the Pharma industry had over-hyped the benefits of these drugs. For example, a puny 1% decrease in cardiac deaths over about 5 years (the drug companies report the “relative risk reduction”, which looks much bigger). Then in about 2006-2007 when we were culturing stem cells, we noted that some patients on statins didn’t grow good cells. When we took them off the statins and took new cells, their cells grew fine. Since that day I’ve looked under the hood of the statin monopoly and found bad things. For example, these drugs harm muscles. Other studies have shown that statins are linked to more arthritis in animal models and worse arthritis function in humans.
Academics have criticized these drugs for robbing cells of their energy, robbing patients of their memory, and hurting nerve cells. So seeing a brand new paper this morning that statins were associated with more musculoskeletal injury was not a surprise. The study looked at injuries in a military health system over five years in almost 13,000 patients who took statins and almost 46,000 who didn’t. In the statin patients, there was a 26% increase in arthritis, a 20% increase in spine problems, a 13% increase in sprains, and a 9% increase in musculoskeletal pain.
The upshot? First, statin drugs represent the worst of our Pharma controlled medical system. For example, we now have cardiologists on the Pharma dole advocating that we need to start our children on these drugs. No thanks. Second, by taking statins for 5 years, you can decrease your risk of a heart attack by about 1%, while increasing your risk for arthritis and other problems about 9-26 times that amount. Then there are the other nasty side effects as listed above. You can get better or similar heart protective effects from eating blueberries or dark chocolate. Here’s to more blueberry laced dark chocolate, hold the statins!