Statins: Are They Safe or Not?
Primary Care Blog
Depending upon to whom you listen, medications are either poison or miracles. Personally, I think the truth is somewhere in between. I believe there's a large but misguided attempt to label anything natural as better for you than something manufactured by Big Pharma. After all, as I noted in a recent post earlier this week, would you wipe your behind w/poison oak or poison ivy just because it's natural? Along those lines, there are those who believe red yeast rice is better & safer than dangerous statins as promulgated by those uninformed lackeys of Big Pharma, us physicians. But if you read some of the recent literature on red yeast rice, you'll find that its manufacture leaves much to be desired in terms of safety & contaminants (which isn't to say that Big Pharma and even compounding pharmacies are blameless).
Of course, this makes us easy targets for others to point out the side effects of the poisonous statins we're prescribing: diabetes, elevated liver functions, muscle soreness/breakdown, memory loss, etc. And so whenever there's an outcry about some new side effect, many patients stop their statins just like that, rather than considering whether the risk is worth the benefit (prevention of some cardiovascular, cerebrovascular or peripheral vascular event). So it's good to the some good news come out of the statin camp in the form of a review & meta-analysis published online yesterday in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, in which the authors concluded that side effects of statins are not at all common.
Alvin B. Lin, MD, FAAFP
Dr. Lin is an associate professor of family and community medicine at University of Nevada School of Medicine and an adjunct professor of family medicine and geriatrics at Touro University Nevada College of Medicine. He also serves as an advisory medical director for Infinity Hospice Care and as medical director of Lions HealthFirst Foundation. Dr. Lin maintains a small private practice in Las Vegas, NV. The posts represent the views of Dr. Lin, and in no way are to be construed as representative of the above listed organizations. Dr. Lin blogs about current medical literature and news at http://alvinblin.blogspot.com/.