Companies clash over statin side effects. Which is lying?

By Jerome Burne

The complicated and confusing debate about statins – are they worth taking or not; are they safe or do they have nasty side effect? – has suddenly plunged into anarchic and uncharted territory by the claims of a new rival drug.

Senior figures in the cardiology establishment have long claimed statin side effects are few and usually mild. Researchers who claimed last year that as many as 20% of patients taking statins suffered side effects, were roundly attacked by Professor Sir Rory Collins of the prestigious Cholesterol Treatment Trialists’ Collaboration (CTT) in Oxford, for spreading alarm.

But this week a big trial of a new sort of cholesterol lowering drug has reported that nearly 50% of a group of patients taking a statin because their risk of heart disease was high had to stop because their muscle pains were so bad.

So where does this leave the poor patient hoping for cardiovascular protection or indeed official bodies like NICE which recently issued new evidence based guidelines recommending that an estimated 6 million more people should be taking statins because they were so safe?

The researchers vilified last year for putting the side effect risk at 20% have now been totally outflanked on the scale of the problem by a drug company. Drug companies are usually accused of hiding side-effects. What is going on?

Many people can’t tolerate statins

A clue can be found in the opening paragraph of the new study which blandly asserts there is a serious problems with statins which, and this is the important bit, the new drug being trialed is able to solve.

‘A significant proportion of patients with clinical indications for statin treatment,’ it reads ‘report an inability to tolerate evidence-based dose (of statins), most commonly because of muscle-related adverse effects.’

The stated aim of the trial was to uncover the scale of the problem. This is what it found. ‘Overall, 209 of 491 patients (42.6%) with a history of muscle-related adverse effects reported intolerable symptoms’ when given atorvastatin compared with a placebo.’

Time for a bit of background to make all his clear. The trial involved a new and fearsomely expensive drug called Repatha (Evolocumub) made by the drug company Amgen which will cost around £4,500 a year (for 12 monthly injections). Statins (now their patent has run out) cost £20 a year.

It is one of a new class of cholesterol lowering drugs known as PCSK9 inhibitors which bring down cholesterol even more efficiently than statins by blocking a protein in the liver called PCSK9 that’s why they are known as PCSK9 inhibitors.

The new problem with statins – intolerance

The purpose of this trial was to establish a market for this heavyweight cholesterol hammer. The first step was to establish that a significant number of statin patients were suffering from really bad muscle pains. As we’ve seen, they did this simply by asserting it.

The next step was not to talk so much about side –effects, something which the drug does to you – but about ‘intolerance’ – a problem that you have with the drug. And if you had this problem, its effect could be very dangerous. As the study says:

‘Patients with muscle-related intolerance often refuse to take statins despite elevated LDL-C levels and a high risk of major cardiovascular events.’

And this was where the new drug Repatha came in. Because it didn’t come with the same risk of unbearable muscle pains it could offer them a way out of this dangerous dilemma. So there is a clear incentive to find that the rate of statin induced muscle pain is sky high.

The fact that this flies in the face of decades papers finding in favour of the official statin line is simply ignored. And you don’t have to look for old research claiming statins tolerability. Here’s what an overview of statin safety says, which was published just over a month ago in the New English Journal of Medicine

But aren’t statins so-called side effects just a reverse placebo effect?

’Statins significantly reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease, are generally safe and have an acceptable side-effect profile. Indeed a recent meta-analysis confirmed that mild muscular skeletal problems such as myalgia (muscle pain) occur in approximately equal numbers of persons treated the statins as those given a placebo.’

The mention of a placebo refers to another hurdle that Repatha had to clear in this trial to establish that was a much needed drug that could solve a major drawback to statins. Recently statin supporters had come up with a theory to explain away the rate of statin side effects seen in some trials. They pointed out that it very often closely matched the rate of side effects reported by those getting a placebo. Ben Goldacre was an author on a paper about this.

The idea was that a sort of “reverse placebo” was at work. Patients in trials know statins can cause muscle problems, so as soon as they feel a twinge from the pill they are taking, they think it must be due to a statin. As a result the trials show that there are few “real” side effects on statins; both those getting a pill and those getting a placebo have the same rate of side effects because both are suffering an equal number of false side effects.

This trial shows statin side effects are real after all

This presented a problem for the plan to market Repatha as free of serious muscle pain risk, which they claim comes with statins. If the statin pain is not “real” you don’t need a very expensive drug to avoid it.

This was why the finding that 42.6% of patients given a statin had reported serious muscle pains, many fewer than those getting a placebo, was so important.

The results of this also trial pose a problem for patients – if this new finding that the rate of muscle pains is really high with statins, does the benefit still outweigh the risk? And also for the official view – can the experts like Sir Rory really have missed the ‘intolerance’ problem for so long? Or have they been hiding it?

Whatever the outcome of those debates, the trial certainly highlights yet again extra risks we are all exposed to as a result of privatising most of our clinical trials. What this trial of Repatha did was actually to test patient’s claims of muscle pains, rather than dismiss them as doctors have commonly done.

This was something that could have been done at any time in the last two decades but never was for obvious commercial reasons. Should we really have to wait for the launch of a new drug before we even have a chance of finding out the truth about an existing one?

But are Repatha results any more reliable than statin results?

Of course it is also worth bearing in mind that bias hovers around the Repatha trial. This is a “company” trial if ever there was one. It has 20 authors, sixteen of whom have declared that they have received payment from a variety of drug companies, 10 of them from Amgen (which makes Repatha). Five of them work for the company.

In fact a rigorous control of trials and what seems like a high level of support from regulatory agencies is a striking feature in the history of Repatha’s development. Evidence based medicine and value for money are supposedly two of medicine’s Mom and apple pie principles. But just how happy should Mom be watching the winding lucky road that Repatha has taken to get this far?

From the very beginning you didn’t have to be a wild-eyed anti-statin radical to wonder if lowering cholesterol further than ever before is really such a good way of cutting heart disease risk.

The doubts are fairly familiar: cholesterol is not toxic invader but a natural substance involved in a range of vital functions such as making sex hormones, turning sunlight into vitamin D, building cell walls (notably of neurons) and in immune system activity.

Low cholesterol doesn’t equal low heart attack risk

There’s also reasonable doubt as to whether statins protect the heart by lowering cholesterol. Other substances that do the same, such as niacin, oestrogen and fibrates, aren’t protective. And there are groups of people such as women and the elderly who don’t seem to benefit from lower cholesterol. In fact a recent Japanese study found it increases mortality rates.

One study that recorded the cholesterol levels of people arriving in hospital with a first heart attack found that 75% had a ‘healthy’ level.

In fact so far no trials have actually shown that lowering cholesterol with Rapatha has any beneficial effect on the heart at all. This nearly scuppered the whole PCSK9 venture several years ago when new American Heart Health guidelines declared that any new heart protection drugs would need to show clinical benefit rather than just lower cholesterol.

Then one of those lucky events happened that has helped Rapatha along. The very next day the FDA announced that heart drugs wouldn’t need to show benefits such as cutting heart attack risk after all. Cholesterol lowering was enough for a licence.

The drug that nearly dashed Rapatha’s plans

But there was another spectre hovering over the PCSK9 feast – the cholesterol lowering drug ezetimibe which cuts cholesterol absorption in the guts and had been licenced in 2002, also without any evidence that it cut heart disease risk.

It threatened the Rapatha because the implication was that just hammering down cholesterol was not a useful strategy. In 2014 the results of yet another trial of ezetimibe called IMPROVE-IT were due to be launched at the American Heart Association conference.

If it didn’t show benefit Rapatha could be toast. Mom must have been looking on in horror as the trials’ statistics were ruthlessly tortured to ensure it yielded the desired result.

When IMPROVE-IT had failed to find a significant reduction in cardiovascular death or nonfatal MI or nonfatal stroke or rehospitalization for unstable angina (UA) the researchers had simply doubled the number of patients from 9,000 to 18,000. That did it and the results were triumphantly announced. Ezetimibe was 2% more effective at cutting heart risks from stroke than a placebo. I’m not sure Mom’s honour was still intact at this point.

And then miraculously the market expanded

But that was not the end of her shame. Mom next suffered a low blow from a technique used successfully to boost statin sales – you simply drop the level needed to diagnose a patient as needing treatment. The most obvious candidates for treatment with a very expensive cholesterol pile driver are patients with hypercholesteremia – very high levels of cholesterol. Trouble is there aren’t very many of them.

Cue for another lucky break. In November 2015 the American Heart Association came to the rescue and announced a new level.  According to the veteran cholesterol drug watcher Dr Malcolm Kendrick this expanded the market in the USA from 640,000 to 1,920,000.

And that brings us up to the very latest trial of Rapatha which audaciously attempts pull the rug from statin’s safety claim and offers to step into the breach.

The breaks haven’t all gone Rapatha’s way. In December the German drug regulator (IQWIG) declared that Amgen had provided no ‘no suitable data for hypercholesterolaemia’ so there was no hint of an added benefit from treatment with Repatha.

But in January the drug was licenced in Japan and last month NICE were looking at licencing it for use along with – amazingly – ezetimibe.

So it seems a certainty that it won’t be long before Repatha starts showing up in GPs surgeries meanwhile Mom, if she has a shred of self-respect will have had a fatal heart attack.

Jerome Burne

Jerome Burne

Jerome Burne is the editor of HealthInsightUK. He is an award-winning journalist who has been specialising in medicine and health for the last 10 years and now works mainly for the Daily Mail. His most recent book “10 Secrets of Healthy Ageing” was written with nutritionist Patrick Holford. He blogs at “Body of Evidence” – jeromeburne.com. 2015: Finalist for 'Blogger of the Year' award from Medical Journalists' Association.

17 Comments

  • The cynicism of the drug industry knows no bounds. I wonder if any of the people involved, behind the scenes, actually believes lowering cholesterol is a good thing?

    Pick the ten or twenty countries in the world with the highest levels of cholesterol and you’d also be picking the ten or twenty countries with the lowest rates of heart disease. These are World Health Organisation statistics, but no longer easy to find. In a sane medical world, that would end the cholesterol theory of heart disease, but it’s far too big an earner.

  • A couple of years ago I found, printed, and took with me to my scheduled doctor’s appointment the Get With Guidelines article (AHJ, volume 157, issue 1, pp. 111-117, January 2009), of 136,905 hospitalizations with CAD. She was surprised, as the data clearly shows that those with the lowest risk are those like me, in the fifth quintile of cholesterol: LDL greater than or equal to 160, and HDL greater than or equal to 60. The highest risk group were the second quintile: LDL between 70 and 99, with any HDL level, from less than 40 to greater than 60. What were the conclusions of the authors? The opposite of what the data clearly showed: “These findings may provide further support for recent guideline revisions with even lower LDL goals and for developing effective treatments for raising HDL.” We know how well that went. You just can’t make this stuff up! It’s so blatant. The COI information is revealing.

  • The cynicism of much of the medical trade knows no bounds either. Why have doctors been methodically lying to us for decades about cholesterol, statins, and statin side-effects?

    At least a natural scepticism accompanies reading an announcement from a pharma company, but patients still tend to trust doctors. Most imprudent.

  • If you think the world has gone mad you are right. If you think that things can’t get worse, you are wrong. This collective cholesterol-statin madness is incomprehensible, that is to the open-minded and readers of original publications. There is collective amnesia concerning the conclusion of the Framingham study (that cannot be repeated): “After age 50 years there is no increased overall mortality with either high or low serum cholesterol levels”. Ref: Anderson KM, Castelli WP, Levy D.
    Cholesterol and mortality: 30 years of follow-up from the Framingham study. JAMA 1987; 257: 2176-2180.

  • Can anyone point me in the direction of a good account of what the PCSK9 actually is that these drugs are designed to inhibit?
    The ‘net is full of glowing accounts of the drugs but the only site that appears to explain the mechanism won’t give me access because I am not a HCP.
    I have no intentions of taking them – even if offered – but I would like to know exactly what I am refusing.

    • Editorial

      This site would be one place to start as I have written a previous post on PCSK9 which has more details on the mechanism. That post has an interesting comment from a researcher in microbiology who described a study linking blocking PCSK9 receptors with a raised risk of viral infection. There is also a link or two to Dr Malcolm Kendrick”s posts on the topic. All that should give you enough info to interrogate Dr Google

  • Waking up to treachery and deceit by which such suffering is doled out and suckled on as ‘help’ is disturbing – and the apparent inability to simply correct the error adds to this sense of powerlessness. Because no one is able to publicly come out without meeting blanking, ridicule or invalidation, and denial in ways that can make many withhold natural and needful communication because it can attract penalty from vested power interests.

    But we educate ourselves, grow in vigilance and discernment and withdraw allegiance from dodgy, deceitful or destructive agenda – while ‘truing up’ from a clearer sense of purpose and more conscious communication. For communication is feared or there would not be such distortions and censorship (whether actively imposed on media and other institutions or self-imposed within a tacitly communicated fear of ‘crossing the line’ and attracting financial sanction, legal suits or other kinds of penalty.
    But allowing for personal compromise to silence those who should report and witness for society at large there is still a very destructive corporate pharmocracy that has only been insinuating itself more insidiously into our thinking since Thomas S. Szasz coined the term back in 1960.
    Behind the FORMS of the world we think we know is a power agenda of very clever but unfeeling mentality. The idea of deceiver is not new – but the technological reach of destructive agenda in all of our expanded abilities is global – as is the prize for those who take idea out of living context and force it on the living or force the living to conform and suffer it.
    I don’t really see profit as the motive – but the ownership of market – which is mindshare and indeed mindcontrol or social engineering. Power corrupts – it goes to the head and loses the heart – unless clearly held in real relationship of transparency and accountability.
    I’ve ranted on here – I meant to recommend the perspectives and work of Stephanie Seneff, note the film Stain Nation, and indeed You Must Be Nuts – and to remember that hatred is also toxic – and so research and grow in health from the ground up – because the top-down has been compromised, and corrupted. We give power to external agencies to make symptoms go away or mitigate them while persisting the same ‘freedom’ to live out-of-true and outsource the costs and consequence until it comes home. There is no blame in my saying this because we do not know what we do when our OWN thinking is compromised and ‘protected’ from anything that seems to threaten our world.

  • I guess this leaves one interesting question. How did researchers come up with evidence that statin side effects and placebo side effects were approximately equal? These were sufficient to fool Ben Goldacre -normally a severe critic of the drug industry.

    • Editorial

      Indeed that is something I have been wondering about ever since Goldacre’s paper came out last year. To my statistically illiterate eyes is looks like brazen fiddling. The Goldacre hypothesis – that statins don’t really cause side effects so in any given set up you would expect the same level of mis-identified aches to show up in both groups – doesn’t seem really plausible. And it doesn’t explain why the range is so huge – from about 5% to 80% and in each case the rate in both groups march in lock-step. Maybe it reflects way trial was done or the way the side-effects were gathered. Maybe reflects the composition of the placebo. There is apparently no regulations about what goes into a placebo and the precise contents are rarely revealed. What if you included something in the placebo that caused muscle pains? SSRI trials have been done with placebos that mimic statin side effects such as dry mouth slight nausea. In such trials SSRIs show up as no better than a placebo. These trials were not done by drug companies.

      • That seems to open yet another question. Nowadays, when drugs are approved even if they only have marginal value, is it possible that placebos are concocted to produce a small amount of the very problem the drug is supposed to cure/prevent!

        • As I see it, the ‘active’ placebo effect – where some bodily response “tells you” that the drug is “working” such as a dry throat, is known to have a greater result than say a sugar pill alone.
          Drug companies also utilize this in their “real medicines”.

          I have the distinct impression that drug companies often set up their trial parameters in such a way as to distort the results – So the placebo is inactive and the trial drug – say fluoxetine (prozac) is adulterated with active extras that ‘tell the subject that the drug is working’.

          There are a whole range of tricks that clever people routinely do to sell what otherwise would be less wanted or unwanted or indeed criminal to purvey.

          The key things I see are that data – to have any scientific credibility – must be open – and that the trials really need to be independent of the drug company influence – which is a trillion dollar distortion field. How could it NOT be?

          Our modern society is built on ‘getting’ while avoiding being ‘got from’. And is no basis for whole or healthy anything – nor one in which healing or reintegrating modalities and perspectives can grow and fruit. This calls on a profound ‘paradigm’ shift in our core self definitions as to who we are and what life is for.

          If the foundation is corrupt – everything built upon it – no matter how well intentioned – follows suit).

          One can petition inherently corrupt institutions to deliver fairness or just and honest service and communication – and fight the lack of this in law to some degree – and there are ways of doing this that share true witness rather than pursue a merely private agenda – but the desire and willingness to uncover a true foundation is discerning what truly resonates your integrity rather than handing all power over to experts – who may be worthy advisers to your informed decision.

          Is sickness an absence of drugs? Is pre-emptive sacrifice for the sake of ‘reducing risk’ of fear-mongered conditions – the true cause of which are not investigated or published – a worthy or sane response?

          If power and wealth is so disproportionately distributed, it belies that the vast majority want to give it away – or rather use ‘others’ as their protector and guide rather than awaken their own responsibilities. And those riding the wave encourage it and and are encouraged – even demanded – to persist. How insane can insane get before it can no longer mask as sanity – and therefore attract allegiance? They say everyone has their breaking point – but dissociation can fragment into less and less consciousness operating more and more regulated ‘existence’ – perhaps without ever breaking ranks to question its ‘reality’.

        • Editorial

          A revolutionary approach to testing new drugs is not to use a placebo at all. Who wants to know if something is better than nothing? What you want to know is whether it is better than the best treatment currently available. This is what a wonderful patient oriented research clinic in Italy called Mario Negri does. For more details search for it on this site. It does something else even more radical and even more patient and community minded – it doesn’t take out any patents on the beneficial new molecules it finds.It makes them available to treat people. Utopian? Yes but also feasible. It has been going 60 years.

          • Firstly placebo is not ‘nothing’ and the belief it is ‘nothings’ the power or agency of Mind. The effects that are known to arise as a result of placebo are far ranging and indicate a link between expectations and brain and body function at the cellular level. Indeed psycho-emotional effect on the body are far reaching – and yet this is what ‘traditional science’ is dead set on denying – not least by defining everything in material organic terms that the ‘person’ or subjective response mechanism – is merely subjected to, imprinted or programmed by.
            The ‘best treatment currently available’ is a highly contentious and debatable term. Medical history is littered with the best treatment available that is invariably invalidated by the superseding methods with the idea of ‘progress’ implicit.

            My sense is that there is a significant underlay of unaddressed (read avoided and masked) relational issues – (psycho-emotional) that have cultural and social reinforcements leading to breakdowns of communication and functionality resulting in many patterns of ‘dis ease’ reflecting and embodying the relational issue.

            As a brief pre-amble, consider that unresolved separation trauma is pushed or denied to the ‘subconscious and unconscious’ or denial habit and denied but active, and much of this is dumped in the body – being unable to move and find acceptance as communication. This essentially sets up a jack in the box of feared or negative threats and outcomes that mask themselves in all kinds of avoidance and displacement patterns – including sickness and susceptibility to sickness. This perspective is likely to trigger defensive rage in those who equate awakening responsibility with blame and penalty. Who find protection from deeper fears by which a propensity for guilt calls their integrity and validity into question. But with this temporary reprieve comes subjection to the ‘power’ that provides the protection.

            When symptoms arise we are trained to fear something has gone wrong and to project the negative expectation forward and seek help to avoid that projection. This is the power of the mind-training of a fundamental distrust of self and Life – in short a communication breakdown of ‘separation trauma’ re-enacting itself.

            One easy to observe experiment is to purposefully align with choosing to act on joyous choices that will inevitably open a truly joyous or unified sense of life and wellbeing – into which the separation-belief pattern interjects itself as a loss of power, worth, relationship, inspiration and perspective. Upon this ‘death’ is raised a power born of sacrifice that demands a joyless obedience masked perhaps in forms of kindness or mitigated from exposure of its underlying pain – and the hate or rage or fear that is associated there.
            None of this has any real cultural understanding in a jack whose persona is manipulated, conformed and coerced to fit an inhuman sense of life – arbited by an elitism to which one cannot possibly engage in communication with – let alone challenge. For everything has been repackaged into complex financial or medical ‘instruments’ that are traded in a system that is rigged from behind the scenes to make sure clarity or indeed sanity cannot occur – and any instances that cannot be subverted to serve the existing model, will be walled out, demonised and invalidated.

            So there is a basis for doing ‘nothing’ not even taking a placebo, when symptoms arise – in outward terms – while bringing a genuine willingness to notice, acknowledge and open to the symptoms – not just as presenting to initial interpretation – but as a result of an intimate defenceless communication. For there are ‘layers’ or facets of relational ‘dis ease’ that come up to be undone and released – simply by truly listening and living from the result of a real communication – that may include taking advices of any kind arising within that communication. And here there is a ‘both/and’ quality rather than an ‘either/or’ mind of invalidation and denial.

            I don’t suggest this is many people’s current responsibility to live up to – in fact I don’t have a sense of living up to so much as responsibility to align truly or honestly rather than being deceived by conditioned reactions that prevented me checking in to find out.

            The dangers in the redefining of drug trials into terms of existing and distorted or filtered narratives of ‘best treatment’ will mean that bad things can be promoted as excellence relative to worse, and be sanctified by a ‘focus on patients’. I see a reversal approach in yet another step that outsources our Life in pacts that draw us into ever deeper dependencies and indebtedness. Mario Negri may have all the best intentions but the principle expounded astounds me.

            While in the field of psychological dysfunction – the principles embodied in the Open Dialogue approach (youtube) are what I would call revolutionary – or indeed open a truly evolutionary culture for attending health needs. The power relationship in psychiatry is of course different from medicine generally – but both are state protected and state sponsored – where the line between the Corporate Medical Establishment and the State is no clearer than the Banking sector – or for that matter the military industrial complex.

            Statins are part of a mindset of engineering a revenue stream of power and influence – and the protection of that narrative to evidences dismissed as anecdotal or non-clinical is fraudulent or at best the addiction to a model in which one’s reputation and status in society depends.

            Too big too fail is becoming part of an increasing insane system that cannot or will not accept radical revisions. Being sick, impoverished and warring has become essential for the Economy that is poised to bring in a new world order where sickness and war will of course be eradicated. Well they wont. They will be much more deeply suppressed and channelled into regulatory sacrifice.

            Utopia and dystopia go hand in hand when the invalidation of what is here is fuelling the assertion of a power that promises a better future. We can only really evolve what is here and what we have or we operate from a mis take that appeals because it hides what we don’t want to know or feel.

            I am not opposed to any modality of health care so much as open to a unified and integrative approach. What is best treatment for one may be toxic for another. Mere aggregates do not serve the individual situation and classification and diagnosis may no less serve the professionals anxiety appeasement to be able to seem to have answer rather than including “I/we do not know” as a valid and honest feedback to a request for help. Then working for the State or indeed under its dictates as arises in cancer treatments allowed or else… (UK) means one is not paid for or serving the patient’s needs excepting as defined and determined by the State – (which is not so separate from pharmaceuticals and allied lobbies such as food processing industries).

  • Goldacre’s writing certainly used to be very powerful. Then he tried medical research himself: it turned out to be a lot more complicated than fulminating in the newspapers.

  • O.K. – what is all this focus on muscle pain? This isn’t the only side effect of taking statins.

    From my personal experience I ceased Simvastatin because it turned me into a zombie – recovery in about 24 hours from mental fog and physical extreme tiredness.

    When I came off the replacement, Pravastatin, to baseline myself by spending 6 months drug free my partner told me that I had been very irritable whilst on the statin but she hadn’t told me because if I was reliant on the drug there was nothing I could do about it. Amazing person!!

    In neither case did I suffer from any sort of muscle pain.

    So where are the studies of the other equally serious side effects?

    Bottom line, of course, is that as long as the drug companies conduct their own trials to prove (or until they can prove) that their patent medicines are wonderful and should earn them billions you cannot have absolute trust that they are completely without bias.

    There is always the issue of life saving new drugs being held back from the public, but if the drug companies knew that each drug they put forward as successful would then be tested by independent laboratories to replicate their results then they might be a little more up front about any side effects that had temporarily slipped their minds. Perhaps a controlled release during independent testing? With penalties if the trial results cannot be replicated?

  • There are indeed other statin side effects than muscle pain. However, in my view, the very expression, “muscle pains” was devised by someone in pharmaceutical marketing. In my case, they took the form of severe cramps most mornings in my right leg that had been weakened by polio – together with pains and extra weakness at other times. A better way to describe the effects of statins on muscles, would be “potentially permanent muscle damage, sometimes leading to loss of mobility”. Indeed, for a small number of people their muscles waste away so fast that it overloads their kidneys – causing rhabdomyolysis, which is sometimes fatal.

    Furthermore, I had not realised until I starting reading Malcolm Kendrick’s blog, that some people don’t recover properly from the damage that statins do. Fortunately I did recover completely – indeed it was the reversible nature of my problem that left me certain that Simvastatin was responsible!

    My symptoms suggested Post Polio Syndrome – particularly since I had taken Simvastatin for 3 years before all this started. I am sure that this experience generalises to the fact that doctors can easily explain muscle/skeletal problems in people over 60 – as indeed they can symptoms that look like dementia.

    I don’t want to minimise any of the other problems caused by statins, I am only writing this to point out that those “muscle pains” aren’t quite as trivial as they sound!

  • I Have a passion for prevention
    Biological variability in cholesterol measurement.Sometimes is difficult to find a vein,the tourniquet is applied for longer than usual and this can lead to higher cholesterol level because water temporarily filters out of the veins as a result of the pressure.

    Physiological variation
    Age and gender can affect it.For men, the average blood cholesterol level rises until the age 50 years when it starts falling slightly.I am a woman I have reach menopause so my cholesterol level is a little higher than before…as long I am aware and understand the reason why my cholesterol level has changed. Why in the winter is higher?because I eat more meat and roast potatoes.

    Lifestyle.
    I am aware general principles of a cholesterol lowering diet
    Key points
    eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables at leat five portions per day,flush out the heavy accumulation of toxic poisons.
    Limit two ounces red meat,more fish, and chicken.
    eliminate milk.
    Stop smoking ,drink alcohol in moderation,maintain a healthy body weight,take regular exercise .
    Our bodies are fine instruments and the cleaner they become through the toxic less diet body purification we will absorb more oxygen which is the source of all life.I have no intention to take the powerful lowering drugs know as statins.Who benefits?If you want to stay healthy keep asking questions until you find out for yourself.

    The question I have does cholesterol lowering do any harm?
    What about people who have naturally low blood cholesterol level?Are at increased risk of other diseases,such as cancer,as a result.
    What about the internal healing forces that are within every human body?
    Nafsica Kelly

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