Like a lot of people I’m taking Arvostatin so I watched the Catalyst program that makes the argument that such drugs are over prescribed, especially to those with minimal risk factors. To be entirely Francis I now have some doubts about the drug and wonder if my marginally raised cholesterol levels really justify the daily dose when (for example) diet and lifestyle changes could give the same result.
Norman Swan of the ABC’s health report is very concerned about the program, so much so that he has unequivocally denounced it as potentially life threatening:
It was clear to me that the point of the program was to argue that it is the very broad prescription of Statins as a general prophylactic may not be such a good idea and that for many people who take the drug the side effects may well be more problematic than the potential benefits. As an informed medical services consumer I am going to discuss this with my GP when I next see him because I am concerned that I may be experiencing the muscle pain that was mentioned in the Catalyst program. I can’t help thinking though that those like Norman Swan may just be underestimating the people that the medical profession are supposed to serve. Surely a population that takes the time to be informed about such health issues will benefit by being able to make informed health choices.
As for the indigenous people and others who Swan thinks may cark it if they cease taking the pills, well my guess is that they have enough other health issues that would have hastened their end anyway so perhaps his concerns about this are rather over stated.
Swann has on many occasions suggested that people should be wary of exaggerated claims of efficacy when it comes to various medical treatments so I find his position on this frankly rather surprising and just a bit disappointing.and more that a bit condescending. The evidence that Statins do what their makers claim in reducing Cholesterol levels is clear to me form my own blood tests but that still leaves unanswered the question of how much benefit this will have to the longevity of those of us who take them. In the end isn’t the point that we should live longer and enjoy better health from taking this drug? If the claims of the program that it will make little difference to they majority of users are correct then doesn’t it suggest that fewer people really need to take the drug and that perhaps the profession needs to work on deciding just who it is should be using the drug and who is wasting their time by popping the pills?
- Heart Foundation ‘shocked’ ABC ran cholesterol report (abc.net.au)
- The Wisdom – And Risk – Of Pfizer’s New Cholesterol Drug Development Plan (forbes.com)
- Should I take statins? (theguardian.com)
- Statin Drugs Eat Your Brain (exohuman.com)
- Saturated fat heart disease ‘myth’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Eat butter and cheese not low-fat spreads, says heart specialist (theguardian.com)