Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Statins are bad for the blood pressure

Or mine, at least. I do so hate starting the day in a bad temper.

Unfortunately, the first news article to meet my eye today was on prescribing statins for all - a subject about which, as regular readers will know, I have strong feelings - though it goes some way to mitigate the fury that the Telegraph article has over 500 comments, the vast majority of which condemn the idea.

Aside from a deep mistrust of blanket prescription in general, my main objection that the many known side-effects of statins - liver problems, kidney failure and muscle weakness to name but a few - can mask the effects of serious disease; we will never know how many people have suffered as a result of doctors dismissing their symptoms as statin-related until it was too late, but I certainly have no intention of joining their ranks.

The pill-pushers insist that medicating a whole population is justified because 'the benefits outweigh the known risks', which may well be true - though it's scant comfort for those who are effectively killed off in order to protect ten strangers from potential heart attacks - but what of the as yet unknown risks associated with long-term medication for all?

By the time I recovered my equilibrium, the eminently sensible Longrider had got there first with a post that says all that needs to be said on the matter, so I shall confine myself to a quote from the BBC's version, in which Prof Colin Baigent makes an asymptote of himself:
"We've been taught over the years that high cholesterol is the thing that matters; you mustn't have high cholesterol. But what we've actually learned is that, whatever your level of cholesterol, reducing it further is beneficial."
Now that's what I call marketing!  However healthy you are, they want you to join the happy band of prescription junkies and be grateful to them for preventing the heart attacks you were never going to have.


  1. ScienceDaily (Jan. 25, 2012) — The death rate from heart attack in England has halved in the last decade, claims a research paper published recently on the British Medical Journal website.


    Is this a trend that everyone wants to claim credit for, including big pharma with their statins?

    Cynical me wonders if statins are being pushed because the death rate is going down, not to push it down further.

  2. Do they come from Stain Island, in NY harbour?

  3. An interesting chicken/egg conundrum, AKH - can we expect the anti-smoking lobby, the low-fat food brigade and the purveyors of plant sterol 'nutraceuticals' to hop on board the bandwaggon too?

    JH, I'd say not - though crossing the inhabitants of Staten Island, by coincidence, can also lead to muscle damage and distressing symptoms.

  4. To someone like me who knows statins side effects, I will not take that. I would rather ask my doctor to give me an alternative ways, something organic because I will not take a drug with lots of side effects.