Does the Qrisk stop doctors bothering to really talk to patients, or even really looking at them?

They get the nurse to take the blood and it gets sent off to the lab. They then tick the boxes on the Qrisk algorhythm and call you in [in my husband's case] 'To discuss a statin' if the risk rises over 10%. He had said he wouldn't take one but I did suggest he listened to what the dr said so went along to listen in.

He is 83 so the risk is going to be high anyway. The first thing the dr said was that his risk is now 50% which makes him likely to have a stroke/heart attack in the next 10 years. I imagine that is quite likely given his age but it is of course only a 'risk'. However he is in good health, no heart problems, but he does have Myasthenia Gravis which is under control. He also has what I believe is called 'Essential shake' of his right hand and was prescribed a low dose of Atenolol for this some years ago. Prior to that he always had low blood pressure and still does. When the dr rolled out his reasons for taking a statin one of the reasons given was "Because you are on blood pressure medication". I know from my own Qrisk that the fact that you take BP meds will raise the risk, but when you are put on a beta blocker for another reason why should it be counted as if you have hypertension ? His BP incidentally on a very low dose of Atenolol, was 115/65. His cholesterol is 4.9 with a ratio of 3.3. and this also raised concern: "We like it to be below 4", just a number, never mind one's age.

On the advice of people on this site I had fetched his readings from the GP of his full blood count so was aware of the numbers. An exclamation mark was beside anything that was too high/low and a cause for concern. Certainly the GFR had an exclamation mark yet the dr never mentioned this.

Anyway the statin was refused whereupon the dr said actually were he 43 and not 83 it would have been a different story. It seems they are compelled by NICE to offer these things on pain of excommunication!

7 Replies

  • Sounds like your husband is in great shape for his age.I don't blame you for rejecting his recommendation to go on statins.I thought doctors were supposed to care for there patients,not for the bank balances of shareholders of the drugs companies.Still i suppose there hands are tied by regulation.So they can only recommend what they are told too.

  • There is definitely too much 'standardisation' of patients within the NHS.

    I think that GP's are losing their ability to assess each patient as an individual.

    The basically do not really communicate with their patients but assess their needs via some Qrisk.

    To prescribe statins as a preventative drug to otherwise health individuals, ignoring the potential very severe side effects, is simply lunacy.

    There is still not enough awareness regarding the side effects of statins, as they can increment gradually, and many of those prescribed statins put their deteriorating mobility down to getting older.

    I was on a lower dose of statins for about 7 years, and never thought about any side effects. With hindsight, I now do realise that my general lack of interest in anything, plus stopping my exercise routine due to aches, plus developing type 2 diabetes after about 18 months, was most likely caused by statins.

    I was - for whatever reason - I think it was because my cholesterol was 4.4 - prescribed a high dosage of

    statins about one year . I started to feel extremely tired, and my muscle aches increased exponentially.

    There was never any form of explanation regarding the potential side effects by my GP.

    I have now been 'statin free' for about 8 months and do feel better all round, but still get the occasional muscle cramp.

    I think that the Primary Care Doctors' role is being deskilled by too many Qrisks.

  • Thank you for your replies, Ursa your last sentence is my feeling entirely, medicine by ticking boxes - one size fits all. That Sir Rory Statin [sorry Collins] has a lot to answer for.

    With a cholesterol reading of 4.4 why were you prescribed a statin, I would have thought 4.4 was an optimum reading? I'm glad you are now feeling better without the statin, it just goes to show what damage they can do to a body.

    I had a blood pressure review myself recently and my Qrisk is 13.5, soon to be 14.5 when I'm 72. After all I'd read in the press about NICE lowering the level at which they are offered it was no surprise when my dr mentioned it. "You are not going to like this" she said but I have to do it. I told her not to waste her time "I wouldn't take one, thank you." Then I asked her if she would take one with my risk and she said no and she didn't approve of lowering the threshold but they had to comply. In other words don't bother talking to your patients just stuff them with statins.

    I'm sure there are many for whom they are a lifeline if you have already had a stroke or heart attack.

  • Did your GP mention the myasthenia gravis in all this? In this "culture of statins" that we seem to live in nobody seems to care what else you might die of or whether your remaining years on this earth are made miserable by side effects or other degenerative processes.

    I'm glad your husband said no, many wouldn't have done. Statins may have reduced his risk a tiny bit or they may have made his myasthenia gravis much worse and I'm sure nobody would have believed it was the statins. My opinion only.

  • Hi Aliwally,

    I think you are spot on and I was relieved that he said No. Yes the dr did mention the myasthenia and said there was no problem with a statin; yet I knew I'd read that that was not so. Sure enough on the Patient website [the bit that's aimed at the medics] there it is, quite plainly. 'No statins' it says and also no to Atenolol which he takes for 'essential shake' of his hand, these are just two things in a long list, can't imagine why the dr couldn't see it. My husband already has aching muscles probably due to the myasthenia and a statin would possibly/probably make it even worse. It was 2005 when he was diagnosed and luckily the GP we had at the time recognised what it was and it was treated promptly and went into remission quite quickly, where fingers xed it remains. No point in tempting fate though.

  • I think sometimes they just don't see the wood for the trees, the wood being your husband's holistic well being.

    Has the world gone statin mad! Wouldn't mind if people were given the full facts, but they're not. Actually the full facts are not available as they are kept by the drug companies.

    All the best for your husband's continued well being.

  • Many thanks, off on our hols tomorrow to sunny [hopefully]Provence. I'm told though that their summer hasn't been as good as ours.

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