Cholesterol Lowering Statin Drugs for
Women, Just Say No
Woman on Crestor™
With Leg Muscle Pain
Sally, a 56 year old retired real estate agent, came
to see me in the office with the chief complaint of hot flashes, night sweats,
mood disturbance and weight gain which are all fairly typical post-menopausal
symptoms. In addition, leg pain for the past 3 months prevented exercising. An MRI scan of the Lumbar Spine to evaluate
the leg pain showed only a bulging disk and was otherwise negative. About 6 months ago, Sally’s cholesterol was
245, and her cardiologist prescribed a cholesterol lowering statin drug,
Crestor™. Sally has no history of heart disease, does not smoke, eats a healthy
diet, and takes a few vitamins, and doesn’t supplement with CoEnzyme Q-10. I explained to Sally that her leg pain was a
well known adverse side effect of Crestor™, a statin drug which lowers
cholesterol, and this is a valid reason for stopping the drug.(41) The leg muscle pain is caused by statin drug
depletion of Co-enzyme Q-10, a substance
critical for energy production in the muscle cells.(42-44) I suggested to Sally
that she supplement with Co-Enzyme Q-10, and strongly recommended stopping the
New Cholesterol Guidelines -What is elevated cholesterol?
When I was a medical student in 1976, normal
cholesterol was 240 mg/dl. However, this was changed in 1993 by new guidelines.
Above 240 is high, from 200-240 is borderline high and below 200 is desirable
(see below chart).
New Blood Cholesterol Guidelines as of
These new cholesterol guidelines came from a committee of nine doctors, eight
of whom were receiving money from statin drug companies, a blatant conflict of
interests. In addition, there was no science behind this revision. (1-3) A 2006 article in the Annals of Internal
Medicine argues that there is NO
EVIDENCE to support the target numbers outlined by the Cholesterol
Guidelines panel, challenging the mainstream medical belief that lower
cholesterol levels are always better.(45) A 2004 petition letter to the NIH by thirty
prominent MD's complains about the faulty 1993 Cholesterol Guidelines and asks
for a revision. (46)
A number of prominent experts in the field have been
critical of the new guidelines.
Mary Enig says cholesterol and heart disease is a
“Phoney Issue”(4): "Blood
cholesterol levels between 200 and 240 mg/dl are normal. These levels have always been normal. In older women, serum cholesterol levels greatly above
these numbers are also quite normal,
and in fact they have been shown to be associated with longevity. Since 1984,
however, in the United States and other parts of the western world, these
normal numbers have been treated as if they were an indication of a disease in
progress or a potential for disease in the future. For women, a total cholesterol
result 240 should not be considered elevated. This is quite normal for women
and compatible with good health.” (4)
Female Should Ever Take a Statin Drug
The obvious message here is that NO woman should
ever be prescribed statin drugs for elevated cholesterol. Dr. Colin
Rose says, "There are no statin
trials with even the slightest hint of a mortality benefit in women and women
should be told so".(5) In other
words, statin drugs don’t work for women. Yes, statin
drugs work quite well at lowering cholesterol levels, but this does not equate
with improved health or longer life span.
Let me repeat that so this is very clear: No female should ever take a statin drug to
lower cholesterol for primary prevention of heart disease. These drugs do not
provide a health benefit for women. Women who take Lipitor or any other statin
drug to lower cholesterol do not live any longer than women who do not take the
drug. There is no benefit in terms of prolonging life for women. On the other hand, statin drugs carry numerous
adverse effects such as muscle pain, cognitive impairment, neuropathy,
congestive heart failure, transient global amnesia, dementia, cancer and
erectile dysfunction (impotence) and CoQ10 depletion. (47-49)
Why Do Cardiologists Give Statin Drugs
You might be asking yourself the question: In spite
of the lack of health benefit and known adverse effects, why do cardiologists
and mainstream doctors continue to prescribe statin drugs for women? The answer is mainstream doctors and cardiologists
succumb to the drug company “spin” from the drug reps and the medical journals
slanted in favor of statin drugs downplaying adverse effects. In addition, the mainstream doctors yield to their
patients’ demand for statin drugs created by celebrity television drug ads.
You Still Not Convinced?
Mary Enig writes: "No
study has shown a significant reduction in mortality in women treated with
statins. The University of British Columbia Therapeutics Initiative came to the
same conclusion, with the finding that statins offer no benefit to women for
prevention of heart disease." (6) (7)
Are you still not convinced that women should NOT
take Statin Drugs? Don’t take my word for it. Take the word of Judith Walsh MD
who wrote this in JAMA article entitled, Treatment of Hyperlipidemia in Women: "For
women without cardiovascular disease, lipid lowering does not affect total or
CHD (Cardiovascular Heart Disease) mortality. Lipid lowering may reduce CHD
events, but current evidence is insufficient to determine this conclusively.
For women with known cardiovascular disease, treatment of hyperlipidemia is
effective in reducing CHD events, CHD mortality,
nonfatal myocardial infarction, and revascularization, but it does not affect
total mortality."(8) Translation: Cholesterol lowering with
statin drugs does not reduce total mortality in women, PERIOD. It doesn’t
reduce mortality in women without heart disease, called primary prevention. It
doesn’t reduce mortality in women with heart disease, called secondary
Still not convinced? Then read this article by
Malcolm McKendrick, a doctor in England, in the British Medical Journal, May
2007, entitled: "Should Women be Offered Cholesterol Lowering Drugs? NO
"… "To date, none of the large
trials of secondary prevention with statins has shown a reduction in overall
mortality in women. Perhaps more critically, the primary prevention trials have
shown neither an overall mortality benefit, nor even a reduction in
cardiovascular end points in women. This raises the important question whether
women should be prescribed statins at all. I
believe that the answer is clearly no."(50) Note: Secondary prevention means women with
known heart disease. Primary prevention means women without known heart
Still not convinced? Then read this June 2007
article by Electra Kaczorowski, of the National Women’s Health Network : "There is currently no indication that women
of any age or any risk level will benefit from taking statins to prevent CHD
and other heart conditions – yet this is precisely how statins are being
marketed to women. " (9)
Still not convinced? Are statin drugs good for
anybody? Read this 2003 review article by Joel Kauffman PhD, in which he points
out the best statin trial, the HPS Simvastatin Study (50), had an absolute
reduction of all cause mortality of only 0.38% per year, a result inferior to that
obtained with less expensive buffered aspirin.(10)(50)
Still not convinced ? Then read this article by
Harriett Rosenberg from Women and Health Protection June 2007, “Do Cholesterol Lowering Drugs
Benefit Women ? Evidence for Caution:
Women and Statin Use”, by Harriet
Rosenberg: "Our review of these
fields identifies a troubling disjuncture between the widespread use of statin
medication for women and the evidence base for that usage. What we found
instead was evidence for caution."(11)
Still not convinced? Then read this Jan 2007 Lancet
article by Harvard trained MD, John Abramson, "Are lipid-lowering
guidelines Evidence-Based ? ". (14) " No studies have shown statin
cholesterol-lowering drugs to be effective neither for women at any age, nor
for men 69 years of age or older, who do not already have heart disease or
diabetes. Better than fifty adults have to take a cholesterol-lowering drug for
one patient to avoid a mortal heart attack, and that figure only applies to
high-risk patients. There is a vanishing benefit to lowering cholesterol for
healthy adults." (14) Dr. John Abramson joined with thirty MD's in a 2004
letter to the NIH calling for a complete revision of the faulty cholesterol
treatment guidelines. Can't convince
your doctor NOT TO prescribe statin drugs for you? Print out this chapter and
give it to your doctor.
For references and links, see my web site: www.bioidenticalhormones101.com
References for Chapter 40.
Cholesterol Lowering Statin Drugs for Women, Just Say No
(1) http://www.postgradmed.com/issues/2002/08_02/pearlman.shtml The new cholesterol guidelines,
Applying them in clinical practice, Brian L. Pearlman. Vol 112 , N 2, Aug 2002,
(2) http://hp2010.nhlbihin.net/ncep_slds/atpiii/slide25.htm The new cholesterol guidelines
USA Today, 2004, Cholesterol guidelines become a morality play the Associated
Cholesterol and Heart Disease: A Phony Issue. by Mary G. Enig, PhD June 30 2001,
Questioning the benefits of statins Eddie Vos and Colin P. Rose , CMAJ •
November 8, 2005; 173 (10). doi:10.1503/cmaj.1050120.
Dangers of Statin Drugs: What You Haven’t Been Told About Popular
Cholesterol-Lowering Medicines By Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD
Therapeutics Initiative, Do Statins have a Role in Primary Prevention? There
were 10,990 women in the primary prevention trials (28% of the total). Only
coronary events were reported for women, but when these were pooled they were
not reduced by statin therapy, RR 0.98 [0.85-1.12]. Thus the coronary benefit
in primary prevention trials appears to be limited to men, RR 0.74 [0.68-0.81],
ARR 2.0%, NNT 50 for 3 to 5 years.
Drug Treatment of Hyperlipidemia in Women Judith M. E. Walsh, MD, MPH; Michael
Pignone, MD, MPH JAMA. 2004;291:2243-2252.
Women's Health Activist May/ June 2007: Exploring Statins: What Does the
Evidence Say? By Electra Kaczorowski, National Women’s Health Network
Statin Drugs: A Critical Review of the Risk/Benefit Clinical Research, Joel M.
Kauffman, Ph.D. Professor of Chemistry Emeritus USP Philadelphia, PA, USA 9 Dec
2003. Also see: http://www.healthyskepticism.org/global/library/item/11630
Evidence for Caution: Women and statin use By Harriet Rosenberg Danielle Allard
Women and Health Protection June 2007
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Statins for women, elderly: Malpractice? Nutrition,
Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases (2007) 17, e19ee20 Eddie Vos 127
Courser Rd, Sutton (Qc),
Who Will Tell the People? It Isn't Cholesterol! by Bill Sardi
Lancet: Vol 369 January 20, 2007 Are lipid-lowering guidelines evidence-based?
J Abramson and JM Wright
The Hidden Truth About Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs, by Shane Ellison, MS,
New Questions on Treating Cholesterol, By ALEX BERENSON, New York Times January
Government Health Agencies Complicit in Cholesterol Ruse by Bill Sardi on Lew
Pharma Marketing Blog by Shaun McIver, of Streamlogics, Inc
discussion of Zetia Enhance trial.
January 14, 2008, 9:11 am Zetia Doesn’t Enhance Zocor Posted by Shirley S. Wang
Wall Street Journal
Vytorin video AD on You Tube 30 sec, Humorous clothes which look like the food.
These ads have been pulled from national television.
Letter from John Dingel Mich to CEO of Pfizer asking for records on Jarvik and
Lipitor, celebrity endorsement of Lipitor Ads.
Wall Street Journal January 16, 2008, 3:44 pm Congress Investigates Vytorin Ads
Posted by Anna Wilde Mathews
January 7, 2008, Wall Street Journal, Congress to Pfizer: Why is Robert Jarvik
the Lipitor Man? Posted by Shirley S. Wang
(25) http://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play?vid=1298285495&vw=g&b=0&pos=4&p=lipitor&fr=yfp-t-501 Lipitor
Ad with Robert Jarvik 60 seconds. This ad has been pulled and no longer
shown on national television.
New Questions on Treating Cholesterol By ALEX BERENSON Published: January 17,
2008. NY Times.
LDL Cholesterol, Bad Cholesterol or Bad Science by Anthony Colpo, Journal of American
Physicians and Surgeons Volume 10 Number 3 Fall 2005
Recurrent Acute Pancreatitis Possibly Induced by Atorvastatin and
Rosuvastatin. Is Statin Induced Pancreatitis a Class Effect? JOP. J Pancreas
(Online) 2004; 5(6):502-504.
Statin Adverse Effects: Implications for the Elderly by Beatrice A. Golomb,
M.D., Ph.D. Geriatric Times May/June 2004 Vol. V Issue 3.
"No survival benefit with
statin drugs is seen in elderly patients at high risk for cardiovascular
disease (Shepherd et al., 2002). For patients older than 85, benefits
may be more attenuated and risks more amplified (Weverling-Rijnsburger et al.,
1997). In fact, in this older group, higher cholesterol has been linked
observationally to improved survival.
Preventive health care in elderly people needs rethinking, BMJ
2007;335:285-287 (11 August), "Preventive
use of statins shows no overall benefit in elderly people as cardiovascular
mortality and morbidity are replaced by cancer".
Pravastatin in elderly individuals at risk of (PROSPER): a randomised
controlled trial. THE LANCET • Published online November 19, 2002 •
SpaceDoc, Duane Graveline MD Author of Statin Drugs Side Effects
THINCS The International Society of Cholesterol Sceptics
Misleading Recent Papers on Statin Drugs in Peer-Reviewed Medical Journals Joel
M. Kauffman, Ph.D. Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 12 Number
1 Spring 2007
Science in the 21st Century: Knowledge Monopolies and Research Cartels. Henry
H. Bauer. Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 643–660, 2004
Radiologic Appearance of the Jarvik Artificial Heart Implant Its Thoracic
Complications AJR 151:667-671, October 1988 Laurie L. Fajardo
The End of Life: Euthanasia and Morality (Oxford University Press,
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Statins for primary prevention: at what coronary risk is safety assured? Peter
R Jackson Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2001 October; 52(4): 439–446.
Statins act like Vitamin D !! Lancet. 2006 Jul 1;368(9529):83-6. Grimes DS.
Pfizer pulls TV ads with heart expert
Jarvik . By Lisa Richwine Mon Feb 25, Reuters
Updated safety information regarding Crestor® Warning 2004-58 November
24, 2004. Canadian Adverse Drug Reaction Monitoring Program (CADRMP) - HEALTH
CANADA. Health Canada is advising Canadians about a possible association
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3;145(7):520-30. Narrative review: lack of evidence for recommended low-density
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