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Jay Aitchsee
 
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OT - Statins and You

Postby Jay Aitchsee on Tue May 01, 2012 10:07 am

Read the new FDA warnings about statins here: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/Consume ... 293330.htm .

Of particular concern, I think, are the warnings about memory loss and diabetes. For the FDA to release these warnings about such popular and profitable drugs, I think may say a lot more than explicitly stated in the warnings.

Personally I have always been suspicious of statins, even though I have taken them for more than 20 years. I began having problems with fatigue not too long after starting. It seems to me that lowering LDL to an abnormally low level has got to cause problems. After all, LDL does have a purpose, like cell repair and transporting needed fat soluble vitamins and minerals throughout the body and there is a least one study that links zocor class statins to disturbed sleep.

With my fasting blood sugar rising and metabolic syndrome setting in, I felt strongly enough about the danger of statins to stop taking them and begin a "whole foods" diet about 2 months ago. See here for my results so far: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=75624&p=704164#p704120

Jay

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Re: OT - Statins and You

Postby BlackSpinner on Tue May 01, 2012 10:59 am

The doctor prescribed them for me because she was concerned with my cholestrol. I investigated it and decided the side effects were worse then the problem and a total waste of money for women over 60 so I threw it out.

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kong
 
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Re: OT - Statins and You

Postby kong on Tue May 01, 2012 11:11 am

Jay Aitchsee wrote:Read the new FDA warnings about statins here: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/Consume ... 293330.htm .

For the FDA to release these warnings about such popular and profitable drugs, I think may say a lot more than explicitly stated in the warnings.

Jay


Do you realize that you're reading things into the warning that just aren't there? The warning from the FDA that you cited says: "This new information should not scare people off statins, says Amy G. Egan, M.D., M.P.H., deputy director for safety in FDA’s Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products (DMEP). 'The value of statins in preventing heart disease has been clearly established,' she says. 'Their benefit is indisputable, but they need to be taken with care and knowledge of their side effects.'"

I encourage you to talk with your doctor about whether you ought to take a statin drug. Share with the doctor your concerns about the drug. It may be that under your particular health circumstances, stopping a statin is a reasonable option. If you disagree with your doctor, ask for a second opinion. If you can't find any M.D.s who say stopping the statin is a reasonable choice, then that tells you something. Understand that far fewer people suffer heart attacks now that they did before the introduction of statin drugs. Obviously, you have the right to do whatever you want. However, just because you can refuse medical treatment doesn't mean you ought to refuse treatment. Any person, no matter how severe their AHI, can refuse CPAP. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I had the right to refuse to have surgery. I chose surgery. Someone else I know chose to disregard medical advice and get "natural" treatments for her cancer. Unfortunately, she ended up having to undergo far more intrusive treatments than would have been necessary if she had simply accepted treatment.

It's easy to get on the internet, start researching things, and tell yourself that you're an expert. I've done that myself and I drove my poor doctors crazy in the process.

You'll note that I never told you that you ought to continue taking a statin drug--I know I'm not an expert and am not capable of adequately interpreting the data you recorded. However, neither are you. Go to an expert. That expert may tell you that you're doing fine without the statin. In either case, I wish you good luck.

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Re: OT - Statins and You

Postby chunkyfrog on Tue May 01, 2012 11:16 am

There has been some talk that taking Co-Q10 will help stave off some of the worst side effects.
Our doctor has recommended it for both of us, and periodic testing-which we do.
Since atorvastatin (Lipitor) is generic now, the Co-Q10 costs more than the RX drug.

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Re: OT - Statins and You

Postby kong on Tue May 01, 2012 11:39 am

chunkyfrog wrote: Our doctor has recommended it for both of us, and periodic testing-which we do.
S


You might not have to continue liver testing. Jay Aitschee had a hyperlink in his post to an FDA warning. That warning says, in part:


Liver Injury Called Rare

FDA has found that liver injury associated with statin use is rare but can occur. Patients are advised to consult their health care professional if they have symptoms that include unusual fatigue, loss of appetite, right upper abdominal discomfort, dark urine or yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes.

Statins work in the liver to reduce the production of cholesterol, a waxy substance that can form plaque on the walls of the arteries and keep the heart from getting the blood it needs.

Egan explains that there had been signals in early clinical trials of possible liver damage tied to statin use, so health care professionals were advised to regularly test their patients’ liver enzyme levels. However, she says, such damage is rare, and the tests are not effective at predicting or preventing who will develop this rare side effect.

So FDA is now recommending that liver enzyme tests be performed before statin treatment begins and then as needed if there are symptoms of liver damage.

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Jay Aitchsee
 
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Re: OT - Statins and You

Postby Jay Aitchsee on Tue May 01, 2012 2:36 pm

kong wrote:Do you realize that you're reading things into the warning that just aren't there?

Thanks for your response, Kong. Your post was very well stated.

Yes, I do realize I'm reading things into the warnings - that's what I said.
I think (the warnings) may say a lot more than explicitly stated...

I agree that one should always seek medical advice before modifying any treatment. However, it seems that it is becoming more and more important to take an active role in one's treatment and to do that self education is required. These days, I believe it's become common practice to prescribe a statin to anyone whose LDL is above 130 regardless of any other risk factors - mitigating or not. Note that I didn't tell anyone to stop taking statins. My purpose in posting was to start a dialogue which might prove be educational - for others as well as myself.

Jay

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Re: OT - Statins and You

Postby nanwilson on Tue May 01, 2012 2:49 pm

I'm one of those people that can't tolerate statins, been on 3 different ones and they all cause my liver enzymes to go up and my muscles to go crazy with pain. I just keep watch on what I eat and keep getting tested every few months.

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Re: OT - Statins and You

Postby xenablue on Tue May 01, 2012 3:22 pm

I've had the statin discussion with both of my cardiologists at one time or another (1 who attended me in an emergency angioplasty 8 years ago, and my current cardio). They both were very strong in their opinions that - for me - the benefits outweighed the risks. However I am closely monitored for any side-effects and questioned in detail at every clinic visit. I don't by any means do everything my doctors say I should unless I've researched and agree.

I am at a place now with a substantial period of time after my heart attack without any sign of a re-occurrence, my BG is very under control (non-diabetic numbers) and I'm now getting a good oxygen supply into my body every night. My lab results have been excellent in all areas, except a couple due to my CKD, but it's acceptable considering all else.

I do plan to start reducing/eliminating some of my meds, beginning with the statin - as I want to get rid of the ones most likely to cause unwanted side-effects, but will return to taking them if lab results show I should.

My eating plan, exercise and medical treatments are all at an optimum, so if dropping a med causes any problems, it will be added back in.

My body, my decision....

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Re: OT - Statins and You

Postby VVV on Tue May 01, 2012 5:20 pm

I will continue to watch this thread with interest even though my decision to start low-dose statin treatment is 99% complete.

My lipids were controlled with OTC time-release niacin for a good many years but in the last year I could no longer tolerate the minor itching and flushing for some reason.

It is surprising that no one has brought up the discussion of small dense particle/large fluffy particle LDL. I guess the blood test is expensive and not often covered by insurance?
.....................................V

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Jay Aitchsee
 
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Re: OT - Statins and You

Postby Jay Aitchsee on Tue May 01, 2012 5:52 pm

VVV,
Walk-In labs charges $28 retail for a lipid panel. They charge $127 for an NMR LipoProfile Blood Test which will report particle number and size as they describe here:
The NMR LipoProfile® test is an advanced cardiovascular diagnostic test that uses nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to provide rapid, simultaneous and direct measurement of LDL particle number and size of LDL particles, and also direct measurement of HDL and VLDL subclasses. This detailed lipoprotein particle information allows health professionals to make more effective individualized treatment decisions than previously possible based on standard lipid panel testing. The atherosclerotic culprit not LDL cholesterol, but LDL particle number


Interesting that the lab has chosen to call particle number, not LDL-c, the "atherosclerotic culprit".

$127 is pricey but I think I paid more for my Zeo.

Jay

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Last edited by Jay Aitchsee on Wed May 02, 2012 4:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: OT - Statins and You

Postby Janknitz on Tue May 01, 2012 7:49 pm

Prescribing statins to anyone with a total cholesterol of over 200 and/or an LDL of over 100 has become the "standard of care". Doctors fear getting sued if they don't prescribe statin drugs and a patient later has a cardiovascular event. Doctors prescribe statins even if HDL is high, triglycerides are low (these ratios turn out to be much better predictors of cardiovascular disease and risk factors), and the patient shows absolutely no sign of heart disease.

In the sleep apnea world this is equivalent to the sleep specialists who no matter what questions, concerns, or data you bring to the appointment simply give you the “Are you using the machine? Good, see you in a year” as they walk out the door.

It may be “standard of care”, but my own reading and research indicates that there is NO benefit to taking statins unless you're a male under the age of 65 who has already had a heart attack. There are many side effects from taking statins, some of them can be serious. Furthermore, statins supposedly work by lowering cholesterol—yet there is plenty of evidence (peer reviewed studies) showing that lower total cholesterol and LDL is not predictive of cardiovascular disease or risk, and lower levels of LDL in particular have been associated with increased cancer deaths, especially in women. Recent evidence shows that statins’ only real benefit may be their anti-inflammatory effect, but you can get the same or better results from an anti-inflammatory diet (removing most carbohydrates and all transfats, and added poly unsaturated fatty acids from the diet) more cheaply and safely.

I see no reason to take statins. I think they are widely prescribed because of ubiquitous advertising by the manufactures which has created the standard of care and fear of litigation on the part of physicians, not because there is sufficient evidence of their efficacy. (If you want a good treatise on how the statistical analysis of data is manipulated by drug companies see this video: http://youtu.be/3vr-c8GeT34 Beware: It's a long video and the best information is packed into the last few minutes. You can download the slides Dr. Diamond used in his presentation here http://www.cas.usf.edu/news/Diamond_USF.pdf and find your way to the peer-reviewed studies he cites.)

I will not take statins. This is just my personal opinion, not advice to anybody else, other than it’s always a good idea to do your own thinking and research. I don’t disagree with Kong about talking to your own doctor about statins and making a decision with your doctor about whether or not they make sense for your health. But I will say that most doctors don’t do their own independent research or thinking about how the data was reported touting the benefits of these drugs. They don’t have time to read and compare every journal article, and the references cited in those articles. Most of their information about drugs comes from drug reps, and I find that scary. Your doctor may have other reasons than your individual health needs for prescribing this class of drugs—often prescribing statins is used as a quality indicator in rating your doctor within his practice or an HMO, regardless of an individual patient’s actual risk factors.

I, for one, have decided that I will NOT take statins, and I don’t fear an increased risk of cardiovascular disease because of any lack of statin drugs. Do your own research.
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Re: OT - Statins and You

Postby nanwilson on Wed May 02, 2012 7:40 am

VVV wrote:I will continue to watch this thread with interest even though my decision to start low-dose statin treatment is 99% complete.

My lipids were controlled with OTC time-release niacin for a good many years but in the last year I could no longer tolerate the minor itching and flushing for some reason.

It is surprising that no one has brought up the discussion of small dense particle/large fluffy particle LDL. I guess the blood test is expensive and not often covered by insurance?


VVV ...You can get a "non-flush" niacin too. Next time you are in the pharmacy take a look at the types of niacin they have, I'm sure one of them will be non-flush. I used to take it, but my system is rather odd and will get used to any drugs after awhile and will no longer work. :roll:

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Re: OT - Statins and You

Postby GregCavalier on Wed May 02, 2012 8:19 am

I don't think I'm alone in having both OSA and heart disease. But I think it is wise to take the lowest dose of statin possible. The rule I follow, or the goal (from Dr. Davis at trackyourplaque) is 60/60/60 (LDL < 60, HDL >60, and TGL<60). To reach that, for me, required a low dose statin (pravastatin 20 mg generic at $4.00!), glass of red wine nightly (to raise HDL), and no white stuff (no white bread, white rice or white potatoes). Wot rking out okay (hopefully). But it is not wise to let it go, and for many, a low dose statin is a no brainer. I've been on it 4 years and have never experienced any side effects.

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Re: OT - Statins and You

Postby imsleepynomore on Wed May 02, 2012 8:44 am

Lab results can be misleading last dec. I had an angiogram cardiologist thought I had some serious problems, He was so surprised to find my coronary vessels were all clear , my lipids levels are elevated but seems no sign of clogged veins go figure. My regular doc still frets about statin need ,when Liptor went generic it didn't help me as I on Medicare and there guidelines set the price as the more expensive generic costing me $40 a month those coupons for high priced med are not available for medicare patients some agreement with the government .I'm seriously thinking of stopping my lipitor and zetia wondering if I really need it :?:

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Re: OT - Statins and You

Postby retrodave15 on Wed May 02, 2012 8:46 am

Currently I am on Lipitor and Fenofibrate to control my cholesterol. When I first was tested about two years ago my LDL 300, my HDL was 20 and my triglycerides were un-calculable, but thought to be plus 900. I was put on the two meds above and lovaza. I had to stop the lovaza because of some side effects that I could not tolerate, flatulence, gas, it was so bad at the time my wife could not stand to be in the same room.

After 2 years on the Lipitor, Fenofibrate, and major changes to my diet(cutting out the sugars and a lot of the carbs)e I am at LDL of 123 HDL of 43 and Triglycerides of 600. At this time my doctor ran the LDL particle number which came back at 2478, normal is below 1300. I now have been referred to a endocrinologist to have him review this information and see if they want me to change meds.

The interesting thing here is that last fall I went into the ER with severe chest pain. They looked at the my numbers and history and sent me to the cath lab thinking that I had a good possibility of some blockage. I came out of the cath clean with no blockage, said it was stress and anxiety.

So it is off to the endocrinologist to see what he says.

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