Redressing the balance

When NICE have introduced new guidelines that affect NHS treatment, I think people should be entitled to question whether they have reached the changes based on the weight of evidence.

The film 'Oiling of America' also cites the ENHANCE study, that appeared in Business Weekly because of the significance of the amount of revenue involved, that no significant improvement was found with regard to calcification/plaque formation from taking statins.

There's no doubt that statins impair liver function, which leads to lowering cholesterol. The question is whether this is beneficial, or whether statins lower heart disease risk by some other mechanism that may allow treatment without this and other unfortunate side-effects.


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12 Replies

  • In one daily I read that one of the "perpetrators" of this , it might have been Colin Baigent, I don't know, had said that taking statins for this low risk group was not mandatory and people had the choice. Great in theory, but how many members of Joe Public would go against their GP, especially in the light of appalling practice like writing a prescription for a statin without even discussing it with the patient.

    I think the great middle aged public should start their own " Just say No Campaign" . I really feel strongly about this, it's a terrible move. Save statins for those who really need them.

  • Indeed. I went to the chemist to pick up a regular prescription and was given a pack of Simvastatin! I 'phoned the surgery to enquire and was told 'yes it appears the gp has started you on this'. I have not, of course taken them and do not intend to!

  • I think this is a really good point. Of course you can say no to statins, but the medical profession tries to frighten you into taking them, and a lot of people are scared to say no.

    I'm lucky in that other members of my family have refused statins, and I can see they are not dead, but I really felt the consultant I saw last put completely unjustified pressure on me to take statins and tried to frighten me into taking them.

  • I am always concerned when drugs are brought on to the market with functions that limit the ability of certain parts of the body to do its job. It may solve a medical problem, or lessen the affect but what about the body itself. We are a remarkable machine with all parts having to work at their maximum capacity to keep us fit and well. If we chemically interfere with this machine surely there will be an impact. It is what we put into our body to maintain that machine that we need to concentrate on and if, through various trauma, our bodies are not doing their job we must help them not hinder them and allow them to heal themselves. The more I look into this the more I am of the opinion that we should do more to help ourselves.

  • Too many of us think the dr knows best, but the question is - do they? Even if there is evidence to the contrary of what they learnt in medical school, who amongst them has the time to read it. They all have so many boxes to tick and paper work to file after seeing their patients that they just do as the dear old NHS tells them, no questions asked. We all need to ask more questions and expect to get proper answers. Thankfully my dr says she wouldn't prescribe me statins as I don't fit the Qrisk criteria but I did say I wouldn't take them in any case with all I read about the side effects. So there !!

  • Is it the Nuremberg defence that is no longer valid? "I was only following orders".

    An increasing number of doctors appear to be speaking out about the unreliable 'cholesterol' and 'low-fat' diet hypotheses, and the medical implications.

  • The chilling fact is that if gardendnomes GP did the Qrisk criteria on 10% risk she probably would be eligible for statins purely on age alone.

    As the lovely presenter on "Today" said 10% risk over 10 years, that's not very much is it? How right she was.

  • All,

    What did people do when there were no Internet to check and write or post on blog in 19th or 20th century or TV advertisement on how to look for symptoms?

    listen to our body and do what ever necessary to stay healthy.

  • You're right Alliwally, I would be medicated up to the eyeballs - this age thing just increases the risk year on year. But they love doing the Qrisk and recording it in your notes. Does it make them feel better or is it meant to frighten us?

  • Hi again! It gets even worse. The draft guidelines recommend treatment with "medium intensity" statins which is atorvastatin 20mg not a low intensity statin such as simvastatin 40mg.

    When I have calmed down I will read through all 46 pages. The main principle is "cost effectiveness", now where have I heard that before. Going to have a lie down.

  • Lost in translation!

  • These are only draft guidelines open to consultation and can be read on the NICE website.

    It means proposing to change the "standard dose" which is simvastatin 40mg to atorvastatin 20mg.

    There are also some sensible suggestions about lifestyle etc and at least it refers to "people" not patients.

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