Currently, 60 million Americans take these drugs, and another 36 million should be taking them, according to experts. The 36 million who should be taking them are people whose total cholesterol levels are not high at all.
But if more people take them, the drug companies stand to profit even more than they already do.
Thirty years ago, the medical literature said that candidates for cholesterol medication were any middle-aged man whose cholesterol was over 240 with other risk factors, such as smoking or overweight.
After the Cholesterol Consensus Conference in 1984, the parameters changed: anyone (male or female) with cholesterol over 200 could receive the dreaded diagnosis and a prescription for pills. And recently that number has been moved down to 180.
The problem with statins is that cholesterol is an important component in the body for maintaining cellular health, and if inhibited by medications, can cause the body to develop blood sugar problems, edema, mineral deficiencies, chronic inflammation, difficulty in healing, allergies, asthma, reduced libido, infertility and various reproductive problems.
And that’s just the problems caused by inhibited cholesterol production in the body. That doesn’t even take into account the dangers of the statin drugs themselves.
The most common side effect of the drug is muscle pain and weakness. One study found that 98% of people on Lipitor developed muscle pain and weakness.
Other side effects of the various statins include peripheral neuropathy – tingling, numbness, weakness and pain in the hands and feet; nerve damage; liver damage; heart failure; dizziness; memory problems; lower intelligence; cancer; pancreatitis; depression; and suicide.
Lipitor doesn’t even stop heart disease or heart attacks, as the package insert for the drug says.
But it can cause serious problems. And one of the chief problems of the statins is that by inhibiting cholesterol production in the liver, they’re also inhibiting cholesterol production in the brain, and without cholesterol being produced by the brain, the brain’s function decreases. Hence the nerve problems, along with the mental/cognitive problems that are side effects of the drug.
Many studies have shown no benefit, and much potential harm, from taking statins. In one of the largest studies of the drug, the five-year death rate for treated subjects was reduced by a mere 0.6 percent. To achieve that slight reduction, about 165 healthy people had to be treated for five years to extend one life by five years. The cost for that one life comes to 1.2 million dollars.
The reason for the high cost to save one life is that statins are very expensive–a course of statins for a year costs between $900 and $1400. If you have insurance, your insurance company may pay most of that cost, but costs are always passed to consumers, through higher insurance premiums.
But of course, like all other drugs, statins are well-marketed and well-promoted, which convinces consumers that they are necessary.