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The Arrow #90: Statins Have Never Shown Improvement in All-Cause Mortality except...

re: Alzheimer’s disease
re: Michael Eades

IMO, within 15 years, statins will be shown to be one of the greatest medical farces in history.

Statins and Longevity

2022-09-22, by Michael Eades MD. Emphasis added.

...As they almost always do, her doctor flipped at the score and knee-jerked to the statin prescription. No thinking involved. And no real knowledge or understanding of the multi-hundreds of millions of dollars spent on statin trials that amounted to squat.

As I've repeatedly written, none of the so-called gold standard, randomized-controlled studies of statins have shown any improvement in all-cause mortality except in one small group of subjects. That small group is men under 65 who have had a heart attack. Not supposed risk factors for a heart attack, but an actual heart attack.

All other groups show no improvement. That means men under 65 who haven't had a heart attack, men over 65 irrespective of whether or not they've had a heart attack, and women of any age. People who fall into these groups--which encompass most of the population--don't derive any decrease in all-cause mortality by taking statins.

...All-cause mortality means just what it says: death from any cause. If some drug or other treatment therapy decreases all-cause mortality, it means that those taking the drug or receiving the therapy, as a group, live longer than those not taking the drug or undergoing the therapy. That is a good thing and it means the drug or therapy prolongs life.

An increase in all-cause mortality means just the opposite. People die sooner.

A number of studies have shown that those subjects taking statins have slightly, but statistically significant (whatever that means), reduced incidence of both fatal and non-fatal heart attacks. 

At first glance, one might think that is a good thing. After all, heart disease is the number one killer of people living in Western societies, so it stands to reason that anything that would reduce the rate of death from heart disease would decrease all-cause mortality.

But, other than in that one small group, it doesn't work that way. All-cause mortality is the same in those taking statins and those not taking statins.

Which can mean only one thing. Statins must be causing as many deaths as they prevent. People taking statins trade one risk of dying sooner for another.

What risk? Well, for one, those on statins develop diabetes at significantly higher rates than those not taking the drugs. Diabetes is also a major killer of those in Western society. Some data indicate the rate of cancer is higher. Statins themselves are not totally benign drugs, which is why those who take them must go in frequently for lab testing to ensure that liver function and other issues have not gone awry.

If you want more information on all this, you can take a look at a couple of blog posts I wrote on the subject. There are long discussions in the comments to these posts that are worthwhile reading as well. Especially this one from the Statin Madness post by a doc with all the merit badges and my response along with additional info from another commenter. I never got a response back from Dr. Pokrywka.

Also, you should read this article from the business press published shortly after all the big dollar statin trials had been completed. It is excellent and isn't clotted with medicalese. This is my favorite article about statins for the general reader.

Why, you might ask, does someone writing for the business press know all this while doctors who are taking care of patients apparently don't?

...Because of the requirement for almost perfect grades and high MCAT scores, medical school selects for people who study hard and test well... one must be able to memorize and regurgitate. ... Critical thinking is discouraged.

...When doctors get out and get into practice, they get their info not from lecturers, but from drug company reps...

...most doctors don't know how to read a study critically...Most don't know the difference between an observational study and a randomized-controlled trial. (Actually, they probably do if they stopped and thought about it, but most don't stop to think.)...

Doctors also learn at medical meetings, many of which are underwritten by various pharmaceutical companies...

Physicians in practice know they won't get in trouble if they follow the guidelines established by whatever specialty group they're a member of. Couple that with the fact that they don't particularly indulge in a lot of critical thinking and/or study reading, and you should understand why most of them have their pens at the ready and dutifully write statin prescriptions for the slightest elevation of cholesterol...

Why else would my friend's doctor want to put a female on a statin with a total cholesterol of 231. Especially in the face of an HDL of 72 and triglycerides of 74. It's insane. Statins don't confer any improvement in all-cause mortality in women. Period. But if in the unlikely event my friend had a heart attack, the doc would be safe from a malpractice suit because the guidelines were followed. It doesn't matter that the literature shows that elevated cholesterol is associated with greater longevity in older females. The guidelines were written by drug pushers.

Same with the second case. The doctor of an 81 year old male with an elevated calcium score--that is probably all stable plaque, otherwise he would have had a problem already--wants to put him on a statin. As I've written ad infinitum there is no evidence statins will help anyone in this age group live any longer. It would simply be replacing one risk factor for another.

...

WIND: the cholesterol hypothesis has become one of many zombie dumpster fires of cunning misinformation fueling Big Pharma.

Trusting your doctor is for children and idiots. Trust in a doctor can only come from years of good advice not contaminated by the physician’s employer, medical board, insurance company, etc. In other words, there are zero* doctors not influenced at least a little, and I would say that 99% of doctors have no interest in expressing truly independent thought, or at least rate it a lower priority than their income/job.

* Zero is of course not zero, for the literal-minded.

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