In 1987, Mevacor, the first statin cholesterol-lowering drug, was introduced in record short time. Within a decade, Zocor, Pravachol, Lescol, Lipitor and Baycol were added. In August 2001, after 31 deaths from a muscle-destroying side effect, Bayer of Germany withdrew Baycol.
While clinical studies have demonstrated a small benefit among people with active, late stage heart disease, the threat of muscle-destroying side effects, liver damage and cancer are on the rise.
As reported in the Felix Letter, in the “supposedly successful” Simvastatin trial (Zocor), where the average life extension in the treatment group after 5 years was 24 days, Dr. Louis Krut is quoted as saying:
“If we were to set a very modest goal to extend their average life by only 1 year, it would require them to take simvastatin for 83 years.”
In the CARE study (Pravachol), 12 women in the treatment group developed breast cancer compared to just one in the control group (not taking the drug). And blood levels in the patients taking statin drugs were close to those that cause cancer in rodents.
Why take a chance with muscle-destroying side effects, liver failure and cancer? That’s what I asked my now deceased mother-in-law several years ago when she started taking Zocor.
Doris’s total cholesterol was 285. She was a little overweight but, at age 72, she was enjoying life and had no history of chronic illness. She drove a car, went shopping, and was even looking for a boyfriend!
As she lay in ICU one year later with elevated liver enzymes and a serious blood infection, her doctor took her off of Zocor. Once she stabilized, suspecting the drug had caused harm, we asked her doctor to recheck her cholesterol.
Yes – Doris was dying, but why not see if the drug treatment nonetheless had succeeded in lowering her cholesterol. When the doctor reluctantly complied – it took a letter from the family – Doris’s cholesterol was 130 – a drop of 155 mg/dl in less than a year.
After a few more agonizing hospitalizations, Doris was dead – Zocored within a year of starting the drug. Her doctor said she died of leukemia. Women – don’t let this happen to you. There are no circumstances – ever – when a woman should take a drug to lower cholesterol.
Women with higher cholesterol – live longer. Also, you must ask your doctor for a complete lipid evaluation. Just focusing on total cholesterol is a serious medical mistake. The ultimate price you may pay is an agonizingly slow death from cancer, liver failure or leukemia.
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