The New Guides on Statins Are Insane

Giving cholesterol drugs to healthy Americans is not the answer, 2 experts argue
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2013 1:15 PM CST
This undated photo provided by by Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc., shows Atorvastatin Calcium tablets, a generic form of Lipitor.   (AP Photo/Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc., Bill Gallery)
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(Newser) – The American Heart Association and the College of Cardiology want millions more healthy Americans to take cholesterol-lowering statins, which might sound like a good idea "if statins actually offered meaningful protection from heart disease; if they helped people live longer or better; and if they had minimal adverse side effects," write cardiologist Rita Redberg and Harvard Medical School lecturer John Abramson in the New York Times. "However, none of these are the case."

Based on the same data the new guidelines use, statins fail to reduce the risk of death or even illness, yet 18% of patients experience serious side effects including muscle pain, cataracts, and increased diabetes risk. Fine print within the guideline document reveals that numerous claims have scant evidence to back them up. It's little wonder that many experts on the panel that created the guidelines have financial ties to drug companies, because these guidelines "will benefit the pharmaceutical industry more than anyone else." Click for their full column. (Read more statins stories.)

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