I read an article recently about a new 'wonder drug' for treating high cholesterol in those people that don't tolerate statins. A common response I hear from patients is that statins cause them problems with their muscles, gut, headaches and sleep. Despite having raised cholesterol levels, they refuse to take the medications.
It is these industry sponsored studies that have resulted in the prescription of statins to tens of millions of healthy people worldwide driving a multi-billion dollar industry... It's instructive to note that the drug company, Pfizer's own patient leaflet states "common side-effects that may affect up to one in 10 patients include sore throat, nausea, digestive problems, muscle and joint pain."
At the very least, there is a significant proportion of US doctors who use these guidelines in everyday practice. Although the evidence so far has supported the widespread use of statins to reduce CVDs, I would only re-emphasise the importance of caution in the US and elsewhere: statins eligibility is not a closed case just yet and it may take some time before we fully understand how statins can be best prescribed.
The fact is, roughly 90% of people taking cholesterol-lowering drugs do not really need them. Their cholesterol problem is caused by the cholesterol and animal fat in the foods they eat. If they were to eliminate animal products and other fatty foods from their diets, the problem would vanish for the vast majority.
Smoke and mirrors, the truth behind 'the great polypill', each un-medicated individual simply an untapped resource to the pharmaceutical industry. For we live in the era of medicine creep, a generation where healthy lifestyle and root causes have been relegated to an inconvenience, and Big Pharma are more than willing to endorse this perilous and short-sighted philosophy.