Chapter 38. Getting Off Statin Drug
Statin drugs such as Lipitor™ and Crestor™ are used
to lower cholesterol levels. These are a
few case stories of patients on these types of drugs.
Case Number One, Martha
Fifty Five year old Martha is, healthy, and never had heart disease. Nonetheless, for the past five years, Martha
has been taking a statin drug for "high cholesterol" under
the care of "the top cardiologist" in South Florida. Martha has
also been under my care, taking a bioidentical hormone program for menopausal
symptoms, and doing very well. Every six months, we run a lab panel which
always shows low cholesterol of 170, courtesy of her statin
anti-cholesterol drug. The drugs lower
cholesterol levels, of that there is no doubt.
Just Ask Judith Walsh MD in JAMA
And, every time Martha comes into the office to review her lab
results, I print out a 2004 JAMA article by Judith Walsh, MD who reviewed
thirteen statin drug clinical trials from 1966 to 2003.(1) Dr. Judith
Walsh concludes in her JAMA article that cholesterol lowering drugs
provide no health benefit for women. I give Martha a copy of the
JAMA article and, at the same time, explain to her that no woman should be on a
statin drug. Lowering cholesterol with a statin drug has no health
benefit for women, that's a fact, and public information readily available.
Cholesterol lowering drugs provide no health benefit for women, according to
a review of statin drug studies by Judith Walsh MD published in JAMA.
Playing Games With Statin Drugs
Every six months I recommend to Martha stopping the statin drug, and every six
month, her cardiologist puts her back on the statin drug. This has been
going on for three years now.
Finally Success At Convincing Martha to Stop the Statin Drug
Finally this last time, Martha seems more receptive to idea that the statin
drug is harming her and not helping her. She is sitting in my office
recounting multiple health problems for which she sees numerous doctors: back
pain, asthma, sinus infections, skin problems, and allergies. I suggested
to Martha the possibility that many of her health problems are caused by
the low cholesterol from the statin drug. Martha finally sees the
light, goes home and tosses the bottle of pills into the garbage
About a week later, Martha called me and reported, "I feel so much better off that statin
drug, thank you so much! ". Apparently, the stopping the statin
drug produced an immediate improvement.
Believing in the Propaganda
This case illustrates the difficulty in convincing patients to stop their
statin drug. It is difficult to counter the drug company propaganda,
and convince these patients they are harming their health with the statin
drugs. Many continue to believe in the myth that cholesterol causes heart
disease, and they go on to become statin drug medical victims. I see
them every day. When we have a success like Martha, who finally gets
off her statin drug, this is a
cause for celebration.
Case Number Two - Roger
Roger is a seventy one year old retired executive, and an avid tennis
player. He has no history of coronary artery disease and has always been
healthy. Two years ago, his cardiologist said his cholesterol of 210 was
"too high", and prescribed a statin anti-cholesterol drug. A
year later, Roger's tennis game deteriorated, he found his timing and
balance was off, and he lost every game to players who could never
beat him before.
Adverse Effects of the Statin Drug
I suggested to Roger that the decline in his tennis game was most likely an
adverse effect of the statin drug on his muscle and nerve function causing loss
of balance and coordination. I recommended stopping the statin
anti-cholesterol drug. At first, Roger resisted and said his wife
wanted him to take the statin drug because she thought it was "good
medical care", and she (mistakenly) believed that lower cholesterol was
somehow preventive of heart disease.
How to Counter the Propaganda: A Book For You
In order to counter the drug company cholesterol propaganda, I gave Roger a
copy of the book, “Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You”,
by Uffe Ravnskov MD PhD.(2) This book reviews the medical studies which
supposedly show that cholesterol is the cause of heart disease, and reveals
that these studies do no such thing. This is a medical myth. Neither
cholesterol consumption nor cholesterol blood levels cause heart disease.
Similarly, many medical studies demonstrate that anti-cholesterol drugs work
very well to reduce cholesterol levels, however, this treatment does not
prolong life and makes most people sick with adverse side effects.
Drugs For the Elderly?
Another important point made to Roger while sitting
in my office is that a number of studies in the elderly (over the age of 70)
revealed low cholesterol levels are not associated with health, and are a “robust
predictor” of increased mortality, while higher cholesterol levels are
associated with improved survival.(6-9) This “reverse epidemiology” or “lipid paradox
“ for the elderly is also true for other subgroups such as patients with
chronic kidney failure on dialysis, congestive heart failure, chronic
obstructive lung disease, and cancer survivors,
in which lowering cholesterol is associated with increased mortality,
and higher cholesterol improves survival.(10)
Roger was amazed and his eyes practically
popped out of his head when he "saw the light". The statin
drugs were turning him another medical victim. Once
Roger learned the truth about the "cholesterol causes heart
disease" myth, he took his statin drug bottle and threw it into the
garbage can. Two weeks later, off the statin drug, Roger was back
to his old self, prancing about the tennis court like a gazelle, and
winning every game with ease.
Are You Still a Believer in Anti-Cholesterol Drugs?
If you are still a believer in Statin Drugs, take a look at this primary
prevention study published July 2010 in the Archives of Internal Medicine
by Dr. Ray.(3) He reviewed 11 statin drug clinical trials
with 65,229 participants followed for approximately 244,000 person-years.
The astounding results showed the statin drug group all-cause
mortality was THE SAME as the placebo group ! (3) The statin
drug group had no health benefits over placebo!!! This article was
published in the mainstream medical literature !!
men who do not have underlying heart disease, taking a statin drug to lower
cholesterol provides no health benefit.
They have same mortality rate as those taking a placebo drug. In other words: no benefit.
How About Heart Attack Victims? What's Their Cholesterol?
If cholesterol was truly the cause of heart attacks, then one would
expect heart attack victims to reveal
the high cholesterol causing their heart attack. They
found the opposite. Heart attack victims have low cholesterol.
A study analyzed 137,000 admissions for coronary artery disease from
541 US hospitals, and found mean cholesterol was only 174. This is
low, not high. (4) In addition, if
high cholesterol was truly the cause of heart attacks, one would expect heart
attack victims with the highest cholesterol to have the worst prognosis, and
lowest cholesterol to have the best prognosis. They don't. A study from
Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit showed that three years after a heart attack,
the patients with lowest cholesterol had the highest mortality
(14% vs. 7 %). (5)
entering the hospital with a heart attack have low cholesterol, not high
cholesterol, on average. In patients
after their first heart attack, follow up studies show higher mortality for
lower cholesterol levels. Patients
with higher cholesterol levels live longer.
cholesterol theory of heart disease is a myth maintained by drug company
propaganda to support massive profits from cholesterol lowering drugs. For
most patients, this class of drugs provides no health benefit in terms of
prolonging life, while causing harm from adverse side effects. Avoid
becoming a victim of the statin drug propaganda machine.
References for Chapter 38. Getting Off Statin Drug Stories
JAMA. 2004;291(18):2243-2252. Drug Treatment of Hyperlipidemia in Women
Judith M. E. Walsh, MD, MPH; Michael Pignone, MD, MPH
(2) Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You, Uffe Ravnskov GB Publishing (January
Statins and All-Cause Mortality in High-Risk Primary Prevention A Meta-analysis
of 11 Randomized Controlled Trials Involving 65 229 Participants. Kausik K.
Ray, MD, MPhil, FACC, FESC; Sreenivasa Rao Kondapally Seshasai, MD, MPhil;
Sebhat Erqou, MD, MPhil, PhD; Peter Sever, PhD, FRCP, FESC; J. Wouter Jukema,
MD, PhD; Ian Ford, PhD; Naveed Sattar, FRCPath. Arch Intern Med.
AHJ Volume 157, Issue 1, Pages 111-117.e2 (January 2009) Lipid levels in
patients hospitalized with coronary artery disease: An analysis of 136,905
hospitalizations in Get With The Guidelines. Amit Sachdeva, MD et al.
Cardiol J. 2009;16(3):227-33. Low admission LDL-cholesterol is associated with
increased 3-year all-cause mortality in patients with non ST segment elevation
myocardial infarction. Al-Mallah MH, Hatahet H, Cavalcante JL, Khanal S.
(6) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11502313 Cholesterol and all-cause
mortality in elderly people from the Honolulu. Heart Program: a cohort study.
The Lancet Volume 358, Issue 9279, August 4, 2001, pp. 351-355. Irwin J Schatz
MD, Kamal Masaki MD, Katsuhiko Yano MD, Randi Chen MS, Beatriz L Rodriguez MD
and J David Curb MD
(7) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12834520 J Am Geriatr Soc. 2003
Jul;51(7):991-6.Low total cholesterol and increased risk of dying: are low
levels clinical warning signs in the elderly? Results from the Italian
Longitudinal Study on Aging. Brescianini S, Maggi S, Farchi G, Mariotti S, Di
Carlo A, Baldereschi M, Inzitari D; ILSA Group.
(8) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15673344 J Am Geriatr Soc. 2005 Feb;53(2):219-26. Relationship
between plasma lipids and all-cause mortality in nondemented elderly. Schupf N,
Costa R, Luchsinger J, Tang MX, Lee JH, Mayeux R.
(9) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20470020 Scand J Prim Health Care. 2010
Jun;28(2):121-7. Serum total cholesterol levels and all-cause mortality in a
home-dwelling elderly population: a six-year follow-up. Tuikkala P, Hartikainen
S, Korhonen MJ, Lavikainen P, Kettunen R, Sulkava R, Enlund H.
(10) http://www.drhoffman.com/downloads/Lipids.pdf Lipids in aging and chronic illness impact on
survival, Kovesdy, C.P. Kalantar-Zadeh, K. Arch Med Sci 2007; 3, 4A: S74-S80
author Jeffrey Dach MD Dr Dach