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Statins

Hi there, I'm working on an article on statins for this weekend's Sunday Times newspaper and I am looking for people who have had both good and bad experiences with statins and would be prepared to discuss them. If you might be able to help please email me at hannah.summers@sunday-times.co.uk Many thanks.

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I have taken statins for nearly 10 years since I had a private CT scan which identified me as high risk for heart disease. I had a angiogram in 2005 which indeed confirmed I had minor buildup in my arteries. I followed the advice, changed my diet to eliminate high fat foods as per the guidelines then and aimed to keep my cholesterol below 5.0.

Ten years later I had some chest pain and went again for a private CT scan which to my horror showed the blocked arteries had progressed. Another 2 angiograms confirmed this and I have just had a heart bypass 12 weeks ago.

After some further research I now conclude the following:

The statin I have been taking has obviously not prevented the further buildup in my arteries.

The recommended low fat diet I had followed for the last 10 years has not been enough to prevent further buildup either.

In December last year I came across some studies in the US on treating heart disease by a whole foods plant based diet. I have now adopted this diet and my cholesterol has now dropped to 3.55 and I have lost 10kg in weight.

I don't think statins is the answer, it seems our diet is the major determining factor. There should be greater emphasis on this as a preventative measure for those at risk rather than just popping a daily pill.

As regards side effects I have not had any intolerance to statins and I also take a beta blocker and since last summer a calcium channel blocker too.

The side effects I have had include

Muscle cramps - changed statin type and now not a problem

Cold hands and feet with poor circulation - the beta blocker side effect I am told.

My short term memory is not as good as it was, I am 64 years old and am concerned that stains may be contributing to this.

Other than that I exercise regularly each day and consider myself fit and healthy and will continue taking the statin and continue to monitor my cholesterol. If I can with GP approval reduce my statin over time as the result of my new plant based diet reducing my cholesterol sufficiently that is my desire.

I am not convinced the statin has had any beneficial effect at all but the indications are the new diet will. Time will tell.

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Hello,

Thanks,

After reading your heart problems and statin did not help, I am glad I stopped statin eighteen months ago. I will be 68 in December, I had bad body pain on 10mg of statin, stopped it after three months just to see blood test results. Only outcome was my total cholesterol came down to 2.8. I did send an email response to this request, so far no reply.

Would it be possible to expand on the plan based diet?

My life style change and food intake had reduced HbA1C numbers, I am afraid am still struggling with cholesterol reduction.

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Hi bala, we may have communicated before on this site. The plant based diet I am following is based on what Bill Clinton adopted following his stents in 2010 after bypass surgery in 2004. It's Caldwell Esselstyn's, Dean Ornish has a similar diet. What convinced me was reading the first couple of chapters of Esselstyn's book on "Reversing Heart Disease". A good intro is a youtube video of an interview with Clinton Esselstyn and Ornish. Try this link

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To give some balance to this, it might be useful to look at a critical review of the subject.

sciencebasedmedicine.org/bi...

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Hi, my husband has been taking statins since 1990. He had a double bypass in 1992. Last year he suffered an attack of angina and his "new arteries" were found to be blocked up so a stent was put into another artery. We have since started the dr dean ornish cholesterol reducing diet and my husband has reduced his statin to one every other day, intending to stop taking them over the next month or so. He would be pleased to speak to you if it would help. Tel : 0033 555 621906.

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I have had a negative experience with statins and am more than happy to discuss this in the hope that others benefit from my experiences.

I will private message my contact details to you with pleasure.

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Cut out refined sugar completely as well as processed food! I don't think it's about fat at all but I'm pretty convinced that refined sugar causes inflammation of the arteries and it's THIS that makes cholesterol stick to them. But hey, what do I know...

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Your comment about refined sugar made me think ,my MP Keith Vaz has put a motion about labelling sugar correctly ,ie it can be read on the product clearly.

Your comment on sugar makes sense ,so I have mailed mr Vaz to try to look into the relation between heart attacks and sugar intake ,he is hot into the

diabetic relationship but possibly not the heart side,

If all members on this group mailed their own MP`s about this possible link of sugar intake being possibly a contributory factor to heart attacks and asking them to look into it we may get some answers to a lot of cholesterol problems. If there is is a good enough response we may be able to at least get a trial to see if sugar intake is a baddy for cholesterol.

You can normally GOGGLE to find out who your local MP is quite easily.

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The problem he'll find with this argument is that all carbohydrate is sugar to your body. Fructose makes your blood seven times stickier than glucose. When your liver is full of glycogen, any further fructose is turned to fat, causing fatty liver disease, which then emanates as visceral fat (central adiposity) around your organs. This causes insulin resistance by clogging up the insulin receptors in muscles and organs.

Then high-glycaemic foods cause an excess of insulin production too; the starch is turned to glucose faster than table sugar. All this insulin has detrimental effects, such as stimulating the growth of the endothelial layer of arteries, causing narrowing.

Insulin is a hormone, which in excess messes with other hormones causing conditions such as PCOS.

One problem is the Eatwell plate has illustrated that most of what you eat should be carbohydrate. It pays lip service to having high-fibre foods (which doesn't ensure a food is low Gi) and doesn't warn of high-glycaemic foods, claiming that complex carbohydrates are slow-energy release foods, which is just plain wrong in many instances. The Government can't do a u-turn overnight, and who can hold them to account?

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This is just an update on my reply to this subject.

As is usual ,MR Keith Vaz has failed to answer my correspondence I can only presume he`s off to John Lewis with his MP`s allowance again..

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Hi wbowles,

...that cholesterol tries to repair the damage, and is not the cause of CHD?

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I don't think I can 'help' in any way other than to voice my opinion;

Earlier this year I underwent a CT scan. My cardiologist congratulated me on having clear arteries yet wrote to my GP to prescribe 40Mg of statin per day. After serious objections, my GP reduced this to 10. I thereupon questioned the measurement criteria - ie. how would we know whether this is working or whether I'll need a larger dose to which I have yet to receive a reply. My cholesterol reading is 5.23.

A Swedish company called Trimb Healthcare is about to launch a cereal called Betavivo which, they claim, a bowl a day taken for two months is equivalent to 20Mg of statin per day.

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Hello,

Please Google Oat Well, new product on the market, available from Boots, in UK today,

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Very expensive oat bran?

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Well that was a whirl wind.

Had chat with Hannah,photograph taken and now looking forward to Sunday to read article, particularly interested to see where these people are who have had ' good' experiences with statins, can't wait to read their stories

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Hi, Will look forward to read your comments. I am glad you managed to give your account on statin.

Did you receive a response to your email to go forward?

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Thanks bala

I doubt most of my comments re statins will make paper :-) I think it's more my own personnel experiences while taking them.

No response as yet from email.

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Tight deadline for this Sunday; doesn't leave a lot of time for information gathering. Still, at least people will know to look in the Sunday Times ;-)

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Hi,

My response was very quick, did not receive any reply to my direct email! yes a very tight dead line to get all the necessary facts. The Sunday Times, let us hope the article gives true account of people's experience whether it is a small story or very long account!

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Well i searched every page in the Sunday Times for Hannah's report but i couldn't find it. Only found her story on ketchup!

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Yes, I will be buying the Sunday Times tomorrow. There have been some good articles already in yesterdays and todays Telegraph.

I am really glad that this issue is being debated. I don't know if anyone heard the famous heart surgeon on Radio 4 this morning. It seemed to me that he was being wheeled in for the "statin side" his comments were so generalised and dogmatic. Fantastic and talented surgeon, I'm sure, but a terrible speaker who added little to the debate.

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centrepoint:

I have been on Statins now for about 9 years. My GP said as I take Warfarin for AFib I should also take a Statin. My cholesterol was 6 and is now 5.5 I was not happy to take yet another tablet but when I started to get trouble with cramp - every night, I asked again if I should come off them. The answer was no. The Pharmacist said that muscle cramp was a side effect of Statins so the next time I got cramp, during the night in both legs, I had trouble walking for two weeks. The GP sent me for an x-ray and found nothing wrong. The GP has told me because of AF I should remain on them and she has lowered the dose from 20mg per day to 10mg. The problem I have with Statins is that doctors themselves do not agree if they should be taken or not. If this is the case, how are we expected to decide. I am totally against all medication so have to rely, as most people do,on doctors advice but when one researches Statins and reads such conflicting opinions, what are we supposed to do?

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Hi centrepoint

I understand your frustration but I hope the following clarifies some points for you.

Any doctor or medical professional who fails to accept any adverse side effects from statins is completely in the dark from what is actually occurring.

This is due to all statin studies and trials screening the people used. They remove all women of child bearing age, drug and alcohol abuse, heart disease patients, cancer patients, anyone with Liver or Kidney problems, people who are hypersensitive to statin medication within 6 weeks of trial commencement and many more people, so basically half the general population are removed from statin trials.

Since initial trials there have been studies carried out re side effects, all the positive out comes showing no or minimal adverse effects are sponsored by the very same drug companies who produce statins.

Many medical professionals are calling for independent studies but unfortunately it costs millions and they're not getting this funding so are unable to carry out the studies needed to prove statins are not the miracle drug the huge money making pharmaceutical companies would have us believe.

Can I suggest you read the following book to help you make an informed decision rather than take what your doctors says as gospel?

The Great Cholesterol Con by Dr Malcolm Kendrick

Also YouTube " Statin Nation'

It'll really shed light on whats going on in the billion pound statin market.

Take care

Sonya

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independent.co.uk/life-styl...

This is a good article

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Just seen the article, terrible photo I'm squinting from sunlight, I was hoping for a little airbrushing :-)

Strange they couldn't find a member of the public whose taken statins and think they're great....... So we have a doctor with slight angina saying how wonderful they are, call me cynical

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Hi cynical :-) My comment was tongue in cheek too; I hope the BMJ apply as much scrutiny to the statistics from the pharmaceutical companies. They often quote relative percentages in improvement for example, instead of letting us know the absolute number of people that are affected. If 6 in 1000 have CHD and 2 of those show significant benefit that's a big relative percentage change, but only two in a thousand when all said and done.

Also, the perceived benefits are often based on lowering cholesterol, yet there are as many studies that show that lowering cholesterol in itself is not beneficial.

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The Telegraph article talks about how difficult and expensive it is to get hold of results/statistics from drug trials.

telegraph.co.uk/health/heal...

This lack of transparency needs to be tackled urgently.

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Thanx

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Hi,

Do you have a copy of the full article?, Is the message that statin has side effect was very clear?

Only a few who are talking about side effect compared to million who are on statin!, How can we get the message across? In todays Mail there is an article which says NHS money can be well in giving station to over 40?,

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Hi,

Do you have a copy of the full article?, Is the message that statin has side effect was very clear?

Only a few who are talking about side effect compared to million who are on statin!, How can we get the message across? In todays Mail there is an article which says NHS money can be well in giving station to over 40?,

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The best way to get our message across is if everyone who suffered or is suffering from Statin side effects, is to log on the MHRA website and fill out a ' Yellow Card' it's the only way to make a difference.

Trouble is not many patients are aware of this option but it's vitally important. It's an official record that can't be tampered with or brush under the carpet. Doctors should also notify MHRA if they find patients suffering from side effects from any drug.

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Hi,

Was planning to go to the library to look for the article as I did not get the Sunday Times!

could you please let me know in which section this article was printed. Thanks.

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I could post the link on here if you'd like, only thing is it takes you to article but you have to subscribe to read the full version. It costs a £1 for a month I think.

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Hi,

I can go to the library to look for the article on the copy Sunday Times tomorrow. Could you please let me know in which section I can find the article, in an earlier comment that person could not find the article!. I know The Times and Sunday Times are not free on the web!Thanks.

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Its in main news section page 18

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Was there a further article? Have you opened a can of worms?

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No further article, although I have commented on Telegraph article today.

Sir Magdi Yacoub stating that Statins are life savers and side effects if any are minor, couldn't let that one go

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Hi Sonya,

It was really nice to see what you look like! If anybody wants a more in-depth "scientific" take on this go the BMJ and read the rapid responses to their editorial. There is some interesting discussion on Co-Q-10 depletion.

Yes, I was shouting at Sir Magdi on the radio yesterday, good job he was not very good at expressing himself, although I'm sure he is wonderful at what he does in the operating theatre.

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I am almost convinced that it is the drug companies that are pushing excessive use of drugs, and some GP's may be swayed by financial gains.

I would like research into drugs to be totally divorced from 'for profit' drug companies. The government could make them help to pay for the research via taxes; it is not impossible if the will is there.

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The Telegraph article was surprising, this was quoted -

"Dr Adam Fitzpatrick, a cardiologist and an expert in heart rhythm disorders at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, perhaps surprisingly, agrees. “Even if you have suffered heart disease and are male, the most benefit you can expect after taking statins for 20 years is an extra three months’ life, according to the research. That’s three months at the end, mind you, when you will probably be dying of cancer or have dementia. Is that really much of a gain?” "

I can't believe this statement - does anybody know what research he is referring to? Taking statins for 20 years for an extra 3 months life expectancy doesn't seem very cost effective medication to me! Perhaps I can expect an extra 1.5 months having taken statins for 10 years!

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This is one article from Dr Briffa that refers to some research on it.

drbriffa.com/2013/02/12/can...

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His statement is most definitely correct, it's just a shame the research isn't known by many more statin takers.

It's even worse news for women, no study or trail has been carried out using women of childbearing age........that basically means all those ladies that have been prescribed statins who fall in that age group are taking a drug that hasn't been proven to do anything for their health.

Please ladies the next time your GP tells you you must take statins ask him or her " what are the benefits? " and " how do you know that?" Research info?? NO

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Centrpoint:

Hi Hannah. I searched the Sunday Times yesterday and couldn't find your article on statins. Did it go to print this weekend or has been deferred?

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It's in there somewhere!

thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/ne...

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Page 18 in main news section :-)

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Hi,

Was planning to go to the library to look for the article as I did not get the Sunday Times!

could you please let me know in which section this article was printed. Thanks.

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Here's article from Sunday Times, although subscription wanted before they'll show full article. I must say don't expect to much, not really an in depth peace of journalism.

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Oops forgot link here you go

thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/ne...

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I have read the article.

Generally, the articles hints at the vagueness of the 'clinical' trails and indicates the true costs of statins to the NHS.

285 M per annum is a huge amount for something whose value has not really been proved.

Great contribution to the report Sonyaiba, and a nice picture of you.

What I would have liked to be includes are the 'hidden' side effects of statins. In many cases there is a gradual build up, and people taking statins often do not make the connection.

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be careful if you take statins if you start to have any side effects stop right away please . I have tried 4 statins being told they just had to find the right ones I had lots of side effects including muscle loss which I am trying to right still after 2 years of not taking statins .

I take 3 plant sterol tablets daily , 1 opti omega daily ,lecithin granules, vitamin D ,llysine tablet these are all daily and I take 1 vitamin k2 mk7 100mcg daily to repair damage to my arm muscle from statins which is nearly 100% back to normal now .

my cholesterol was 12.1 it is now 5.3 without statins ,with all of the above and a low fat low sugar diet

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