Opinions on statins please: Hello all Im... - AF Association

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Opinions on statins please

wilsond
wilsond
37 Replies

Hello all

Im curious as to why some people are not keen on statins,please would you mind sharing why ?,I like to be informed as much as possible!

I was putnon 80mg of high intensity statin Atorvastatin after a very high blood test resukt (13.5!) and did have a lot of muscle pain especially in the thighs,so much that at times I could hardly walk far. Over the next year,I reduced my weight ,left stressful job and asked my gpmif I could reduce it.Down to 4omg and blood tests are all normal.Im wondering now if a)I need them or b)could I reduce more?

Cant get into GP for a few weeks but wanted to go informed as much as possible.

Thank you all in advance.Hope you are having nicer weather than here,miserable wet and cold!!!

37 Replies
oldestnewest
jeanjeannie50

I knew someone who suffered dreadful pain in their legs through taking statins. He kept trying different ones, but they all had the same effect. However, with your blood test result of 13.5 - wow! Looks like you had no choice. I hate taking any medication, so would look to changing my diet drastically before consenting to take these.

You say your cholesterol level has lowered now, but is that just because you are taking the tablets? My neighbour across the road from me used to brag about how low her cholesterol was, but she was taking pills to bring it down after having a heart attack and needing to have a stent fitted. I think my level is about 6, but I don't take statins. I think now that you've brought it to my mind I'll get mine checked again.

Jean

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wilsond

Yes..it was fairly spectacular but as the daughter of a nurse..( is it broken? Not properly serious then....etc)

. Drew a breath and carried on. I know I needed intervention but feel so much better now all round. I wonder if I do need higher dose in the future if I have enough capacity if I take fairly high dosage. I spoke to an old friend the other day..mum was sharp as knife..93. began statins and kind of deteriorated mentally fairly quickly...co incidence perhaps? Thanks Jean x

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Hoski

Like you I started on 80 mg until my numbers were alot better, Ive been on 40 mg for a year. So far no side effects Im aware of. I too plan on asking about reducing dose. I was always skeptical of statins but after struggling with rising numbers inspite of my best efforts, blood tests showed I have a genetic situation that elevates my cholesterol. I do like the anti- inflammatory effect of statins as I cannot take nonsteroidal anti- inflammatory meds. I suspect that might be helping me out with my a fib also.

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wilsond
wilsond
in reply to Hoski

That's interesting that we are / were on same dose but reducing! Thank you Hoski..and you will be on my prayer list this week...xx

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Hoski
Hoski
in reply to wilsond

I really appreciate your prayers💜

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Buffafly
Buffafly
in reply to Hoski

Didn't know about that!

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BobD
BobDVolunteer

Statins are an emotive subject, not helped by the political angle. In UK GPs get points for having the conversation with patients about being on statins. Points accumulate to a GOF total (Quality Outcome Framework) which affects their pay so many people believe that there is no independence at work and that thousands of patients are needlessly taking these drugs. My own GP assured me that having had the conversation she did not need to take any other action so when I told her that I no longer wanted to take them she acquiesced saying that I could make my own mind up.

There are a great many similar drug related situations I'm afraid and I do think that one needs to research and make one's own mind up. Some things like imunisation maybe should not be optional for the greater good but again personal choice should prevail.

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wilsond
wilsond
in reply to BobD

Thank you Bob...that's the kind of info I need,

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S11m

Statins rarely give better all-cause mortality, and there are side-effects. See:

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wilsond
wilsond
in reply to S11m

How interesting! Lots of good for thought here ..thank you very much x

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offtherecord
offtherecord
in reply to S11m

Like wilsond, found this very interesting, .a really good lead which I shall follow up. Thank you for introducing it

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Maggimunro
Maggimunro
in reply to S11m

Having just tried to plough through information as to whether or not to take statins, this has been the most honest and thoughtful summary yet.

One GP was insistent I go on statins because my total cholesterol level was high, another said but your cholesterol ratio is really low so why bother?

I found the side effects of painful muscles too difficult to continue taking statins after just 5 days, and also was suspicious of any any drive that was patently lucrative for the GP practice.

Food for thought in this talk, especially the last bit about clotting factors being far more relevant to CHD that cholesterol.

Thanks for posting.

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Jalia

13.5?? Think I would want to continue with statins albeit a reduced dose.

I take 20 mg simvastatin when my levels rose after menopause ( usually happens then) and diet alone only made small difference....think it was . about 6.5 My level is now 4.9 and more importantly my HDL/LDL & triglyceride figs are all good so I'm told. I've never had adverse effects .

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Finvola

My experience may or may not be helpful. My cholesterol was slightly raised above the target level (sorry, forget the actual figures) and my GP's partner put quite a bit of pressure on me to choose a statin! It didn't go down too well when I refused and said I would control it with diet - French cheese, croissants and butter out!

There is also evidence I believe that scares about cholesterol are exactly that - scares but I haven't researched the subject at all. My levels have remained within bounds since I controlled my love of French cuisine.

PS Forgot to add that I felt I take enough drugs without adding one which may be unnecessary.

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Ianc2
Ianc2
in reply to Finvola

No butter!! May I ask what do you eat instead - if anything?

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Finvola
Finvola
in reply to Ianc2

That was only until I got my levels down - I had been very much overdoing it. Back on the butter but in less quantity and levels have been stable for three or four years.

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Auriculaire
Auriculaire
in reply to Finvola

Why do you trust the "levels" that they set for supposed good health in the first place. These follow what has been set in America and it has been shown that the majority of "experts" on the committee responsible had financial ties to companies who made statins. Most of medicine that concerns drug therapy is now corrupted by Pharma and doctors I think are on the whole naive when it comes to suspecting the consensus. They should look at the history of medicine . In the 17 th and 18th century the medical consensus was to poison your patients with"medicines"containing mercury and arsenic. Today they do it with statins and fluoroquinolones.

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CDreamer
CDreamer
in reply to Ianc2

The evidence shows that what you eat has little relevance to cholesterol level in the blood - but being overweight, lack of exercise, stress & poor quality sleep will = inflammation = response by the body to increase cholesterol.

Eating good quality fats, including butter, in small quantities is essential for good brain/nerve function.

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Finvola
Finvola
in reply to CDreamer

Agree CD with you and Auriculaire . I know that if my levels rise above ‘the boundary’ again, I’ll have the same pressure to choose my statin. It proves once again that we need to do our research and read thoroughly between the lines.

The problem lies with pseudo-science and downright lies spread again essential medication - anti-coagulants in the case of AF, flu and MMR vaccines. I have met many people who ‘caught the flu from the vaccine’ and refuse to take it and who look at me like I’m mad when I explain why that isn’t possible.

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Auriculaire
Auriculaire
in reply to Finvola

I do not believe the medical propaganda about flu vaccines. They are nowhere near as efficacious as made out to be especially for old people who are less able to mount an immune response to the jab. I prefer to keep a very high level of vit D which protects against all types of respiratory tract infections and I take n acetyl cysteine which does the same.

I am also sceptical about MMR. The death /injury rates in western countries were very low for measles , mumps and rubella before the vaccinations were introduced . That was not the case in underdeveloped countries. When we were kids we were not discouraged from mixing with kids who had these childhood infections as it was considered better to have these things when young as getting them when adult is more dangerous .The vaccine for measles is not that efficient as there are now outbreaks of measles in communities with very high vaccination rates and measles is being caught by the vaccinated as well. Nor does it confer the same level of life time immunity that getting the wild disease does. Vaccinations for all sorts of things are in the pipeline. This is another way for Pharma to make lots of money especially if they become mandatory and I just don't trust them to be any more truthful about the safety/efficacy of these moneyspinners than they are about their drugs. That is to say not truthful at all.

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CDreamer

If you are looking for expert opinions then look at the Cholesterol Support Forum on HU - there are several really well informed, up to date posters there. In particular look at SOS707 posts.

Were you tested for Familial High Cholesterol? Different rules advice apply if you have the genes.

They post the most relevant scientific papers & as far as I can see are now more less enthusiastic about statins than a few years ago.

GPs get paid for - having the conversation - not for actually prescribing but they are financially encouraged to pull you in - to have the conversation.

My thoughts are that controlling Triglycerides are most important & keeping the ratios right so don’t go purely on the total cholesterol number - means very little. Make sure you have regular blood tests & know your numbers & what the mean.

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wilsond
wilsond
in reply to CDreamer

Thank you CD I will definetly look on that site for more information . No one has mentioned familial links,but I shall ask when I go in.

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Auriculaire

Read Dr Malcolm Kendrick's blog. He has many articles on what really causes heart disease and cholesterol is not amongst the contenders. The theory of cholesterol causing heart attacks is based on bad science that has become dogma in medicine because of the reluctance of the medical profession to ditch theories that are incorrect and the pressure of Pharma who want to keep on making billions out of cholesterol lowering drugs. Recent mega analyses of statin trial data ( that is what Pharma has actually made available and not what they still have hidden in their archives) show a mean increase of between 3 and 4 days of life for primary prevention ( the well who just have cholesterol levels over the "acceptable "levels ) and between 4 and 5 days for secondary prevention ( those who have had CV events) . This is for taking a statin for 5 years with all the side effects you might suffer. Worth it ? I would not do it for another 5 weeks and if suffering from leg pain as a result or memory problems would seriously wonder if another 5 months would be worth it. But 5 days- you might get 19 at the lucky end- no way. And that is just CV disease. Epidemiological studies have shown that the older you get the WORSE for you it is to have LOW cholesterol especially if you are a woman. More cancer, more infections , more Parkinsons. The answer to "this is the medical consensus" is one word - Semmelweiss.

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wilsond
wilsond
in reply to Auriculaire

That is most interesting,especially the point about increased risk of infections,I seem very prone to infections over the past few years especially. I have had tooth abcesses in the jaw,sepsis from a rosethorn prick,nasal infections,and so on. Ihave never had so many antibiotics in life! asked my gp about it and he said my anticoagulants may be to blame..(?)

I am certianly going to look into this more closely.

Thank you for all the information

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CDreamer
CDreamer
in reply to wilsond

It’s an interesting read - follow with his book on Doctoring Doctor - about how to really read studies & trials.

& follow his blogs. Not sure I’m in line with everything he says but worth following

drmalcolmkendrick.org/

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Auriculaire
Auriculaire
in reply to wilsond

I would finger the statin over the anticoagulant.

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pusillanimous

I was put on statins because my cholesterol was 6 and dietary adjustments did not help, and as I have PAF, I wanted to make sure that I was taking every possible measure against having a stroke! I was taking 10mg atorvastatin a day, but when I had a full blood count six months later my cholesterol was down to 2.8, which horrified my doctor as being too low. I now take 10mg every other day, and my reading is steady about 4.8. My doctor did mention that there is something else one can take to lower cholesterol. but I did not discuss it with her, will do at my next appointment. I live in South Africa and have private medical care, so as far as I know there is no incentive for a doctor to prescribe statins. However, I would rather take statins than give up cheese!!!!

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Auriculaire

There is no real proof that eating cheese puts up your cholesterol. Most of what we have is made in our liver. If you lower sat fats the liver can just produce more if our body deems it necessary. Cholesterol is one of the most important things our body produces. The demonisation of it is ridiculous. Our brains in particular need it. Even those who have familialhyper cholesterolemia do not necessarily succumb to CVD .

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Flyer2820

Hi wilsond, My wife was put on statins in 2017 (Artavastatin) after 3 months they seemed to have no side effects but the practice nurse said they may cause muscle weakness so changed to a different one. They put her in hospital for 2 weeks. The consultant at the hospital strongly denied it was anything to do with the statins, but on being discharged 2 weeks later the discharge letter read , Cause of problem....STATINS. She is now back on the original statin but half the dose than before and has slight muscle pain in her legs and buttocks. I think in her case she has to put up with this as one of her off arteries is 90% blocked.

The moral of this is, Be wary about statins. They can be very good or very bad. Sorry to be a scare monger, but this is factual.

Best wishes

Flyer.

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wilsond
wilsond
in reply to Flyer2820

Thank you for this info!!! Xx

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sandoval22

I read a while ago that originally the plan was to find a drug that tackled HDL but they've never been able to so it was decided to make LDL the bogeyman. They just need a reason to sell more drugs imo. Even Aseem Malhotra, a leading cardiologist states in most cases they should not be prescribed as they do more damage than good. Our bodies make 3000mg cholesterol everyday because its in every cell so we need it, especially in the brain.

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allserene

I was toying with idea of Statins and they looked good, but what put me off them was the difficulty of ceasing them. I am in the final week of carefully getting of Beta Blockers (metoprolol). I tried to cease in April (from only a 25mg x2), and the rebound effect was enormous and sent me to 150 pulse.... Statins have a similar rebound, so once you are on them, you have to stay on them... The other thing is that my blood pressure went UP with betas (Though pulse rate came down to 60), so 17% of people have a contra reaction... I am almost back to my normal pre-flutter readings of 128/80 and 70 pulse... So ceasing betas (for me) = pulse back up to 70 and blood pressure down .... The cardio nurse had never heard of that contra effect, but several scientific documents note its possibility...

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wilsond
wilsond
in reply to allserene

So careful reduction...mm thank you

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bear4ble

May be a repost

As if the cholesterol-heart disease theory wasn't discredited enough, a new study into a group of people who'd suffered a heart attack discovered that all of them had 'average' cholesterol levels.

In other words, their 'bad' LDL (low-density lipoprotein) levels were normal, and wouldn't have been a warning sign of heart disease. Instead, heart disease is as likely to be caused by smoking or a bad diet, say researchers from the Minneapolis Heart Institute.

The 1,062 patients they analysed had all survived a STEMI (ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction) heart attack, one of the most serious kinds that happens when a major artery becomes blocked. It's usually the result of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which is supposed to happen when LDL cholesterol levels are high and start attaching to the artery wall until it's blocked.

"Heart disease is a multi-factorial process and factors other than cholesterol can raise your risk, even if your cholesterol is normal. In fact, we found that the average cholesterol level in this group of individuals were quite average," said lead researcher Michael Miedema.

Despite having normal cholesterol levels, 79 per cent of the group met the new and tougher guidelines for starting statin therapy, whereas just 39 per cent would have done so under previous guidance

(Source: Journal of the American Heart Association, April 2017; doi: 10.1161/JAHA.116.005333)

Heart disease has little to do with cholesterol levels (as we've been saying for the past decade or so), and everything to do with inflammation—and a 25-year research programme has now proved it.

Heart attack victims "significantly" reduced their risk of a second attack if they lowered inflammation in their body, even if their cholesterol levels remained the same.

The study—which monitored more than 10,000 heart patients—was inspired by the observation that around half of the people who suffer a heart attack have normal cholesterol levels.

So, instead, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital recruited heart attack victims who had raised levels of inflammation. Usually, someone who has had a heart attack has a 25 per cent chance of a second, and possibly fatal, attack within five years.

But participants in the study saw their risk reduce by between 15 and 17 per cent over 25 years when their inflammation levels were also lowered. To achieve this, they were given an anti-inflammatory drug, canakinumab, which didn't affect cholesterol levels. The need for by-pass surgery and angioplasty was also reduced by 30 per cent. Cholesterol-lowering statins have a far lower success rate, the researchers say.

The study was funded by the drug's manufacturer, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, and the researchers noted that one in every 1,000 participants suffered a fatal infection. In other words, 10 people died as a direct result of taking the drug.

Nonetheless, the take-home message remains the same: heart disease is mainly about inflammation, and has little to do with cholesterol, and there are many natural, and safer, ways to reduce inflammation.

(Source: New England Journal of Medicine, 2017; doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1707914)

The over-60s who have the highest levels of LDL cholesterol are less likely to develop fatal diseases, such as cancer, respiratory and gastrointestinal problems—and heart disease, the very thing it’s supposed to cause.

This is because medicine completely misunderstands the function of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. Far from being an artery-clogging fat, it seems to counter micro-organisms that can cause these fatal diseases, says a group of 17 scientists from a range of medical and academic institutions, including Harvard Medical School.

They assessed the mortality and LDL cholesterol levels of 68,096 people aged over 60, and discovered that 80 per cent of those living the longest also had the highest levels of LDL cholesterol. Conversely, those with the lowest levels were far more likely to die prematurely.

There is an association between total cholesterol levels and heart disease among younger people, the researchers concede, but the balance tilts the other way once someone reaches the age of 60, the very time when public health policy dictates that statinsshould be taken as a routine ‘just-in-case’ protection against heart disease. (Source: BMJ Open, 2016; 6: e010401)

As we've been saying for years, LDL isn't the 'bad' cholesterol that's responsible for heart disease and blocked arteries-and now scientists are proving it. Although it's the target of statin drugs, LDL doesn't cause fatty deposits in the arteries, but prevents them.

The 'good-bad' cholesterol theory, which launched the multi-billion-pound statin drugs industry, has claimed that oxidized LDL (low-density lipoprotein) moves into arterial walls and engorges them with cholesterol. In time, cholesterol converts into plaque, blocking the arteries or sending clots into the bloodstream, causing heart attack or stroke. Statin drugs target the LDL cholesterol, while allowing the 'good' HDL cholesterol to flourish.

Scientists have been discovering for a while now that the theory just isn't true. Results from human and animal studies show LDL cholesterol isn't the 'bad guy' after all.

And now researchers from the University of Kentucky are becoming increasingly convinced by the evidence. "Our research...seems to indicate that oxidized LDL might, in fact, be a 'good guy' in the process," said lead researcher Jason Meyer.

In their research, the researchers found that LDL cholesterol was actually preventing an increase in cholesterol in artery walls, and so is a protective mechanism against heart disease and atherosclerosis (hardening and blocking of the arteries).

(Source: Journal of Lipid Research, 2014; 55(8): 1648)

Statin drugs aren't working for half the people taking them to control their cholesterol levels.

Although the drug's manufacturers are expected to achieve $1 trillion in sales by next year, statins aren't reducing the so-called 'bad' LDL cholesterol to healthy levels in 50 per cent of patients, which means they are unwittingly still at risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Researchers aren't sure why the drugs are working only for half the people. It could be because side effects—such as muscle pains—become so bad that they stop taking them, or it may be down to their genetic make-up that renders the drug ineffective.

The researchers, from Nottingham University in the UK, measured the effectiveness of statins on 165,000 patients. They discovered that half of the patients—84,609 people—did not see a big decline in their LDL cholesterol levels, at least not the 40 per cent reduction the drug is supposed to achieve.

Even after taking the drug every day for two years, many still had similar levels to those before they started the treatment.

Around 35 million Americans currently take a statin—which suggests that at least 17 million of them are still at risk of heart disease but don't know it.

(Source: Open Heart, 2019; 6: e000856)

Most people who are at risk of developing heart disease aren't being helped by cholesterol-lowering statins. The drugs failed to reduce levels of 'bad' LDL cholesterol in 58 per cent of at-risk patients, new research has discovered.

The findings echo those in a study last month that had found the drugs are ineffective in 50 per cent of patients.

In the new study, the drugs failed to reduce LDL cholesterol to safe levels in most at-risk patients, and 51 per cent of those who took the drugs as prescribed, while 33 per cent of the 86,000 patients monitored didn't see their LDL levels fall.

Statins are the first-line therapy for people with raised levels of LDL cholesterol—but they're not working, say the researchers from the University of North Carolina. They analysed the health records of all heart patients taking statins in the state of Indiana.

Around 1,173 new cases of heart disease could be prevented if the statins did their job properly, the researchers reckon.

Surprisingly, the research was paid for by Merck, the drug giant that makes the statin blockbuster Zocor. Most company-funded trials come up with results that support the drug—so does Merck have something waiting in the wings following the failure of its breakthrough drug, anacetrapib, heralded as a new way of reducing cholesterol?

(Source: Journal of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy, 2019; 25: 544)

Hope this helps

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wilsond
wilsond
in reply to bear4ble

Well! That's given me a lot to think about and digest. Thank you so much for all the information here,I shall be asking a lot of questions.

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Auriculaire

There is a logical fault here. If LDL cholesterol is not a factor in causing heart disease then failure to reduce it beause the statin is not working is not going to leave people more susceptible to heart disease. What might leave them more susceptible is increased calcification of their arteries or deterioration of their heart muscle leading to CHF as a result of taking thd statin. Very interesting info about the research though. How many years till it filters through to GPs?

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bear4ble

@Auriculaire. GP's are much too busy, I suspect. You are correct - trouble is, I tend to look at a variety of 'studies', 'trials' etc and attempt to draw practical conclusions for my own conditions ( not always correctly.) It would seem that all professional approaches to medication and their effects should be structured so that they are logically self consistent. Good luck with that!

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