Statins

pillsandmoneyStatins are the most popular drugs in history. Drug companies made $26 billion selling statins alone in 2008. 25 million Americans take them, and the number is growing each year.

One reason why statins are the best-selling drug category by far is that 92% of people taking them are healthy. The FDA has approved the prescription of statins to people at low risk for heart disease and stroke, who don’t even have high cholesterol. Two years ago the American Academy of Pediatricians recommended that statins be prescribed for kids as young as eight years old.

With sales statistics like this, you’d think statins are wonder drugs. But when you look closely at the research, a different story emerges. Statins have never been shown to be effective for women of any age, men over 65, or men without pre-existing heart disease. Early studies did suggest that statins are effective for men under 65 with pre-existing heart disease, but later, more rigorous clinical trials has not confirmed this benefit.

In addition, statins have been shown to have serious side effects and complications in up to 30% of people who take them. Studies have also shown that the majority of these adverse events go unreported, because doctors are largely unaware of the risks of statins.

Watch the two videos below to learn the whole story.

Video Presentation

Handouts

  • Statin research summary: lists the eight statin studies performed in 2008 – 2009, including the drugs and populations studied and the results. If you’re currently taking a statin, you might consider printing this out and taking it to your doctor as a springboard for a conversation about whether statins are right for you.

More information

  • DrugWatch. Contains information on risks and interactions of Crestor and Lipitor.

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