"Statins: Did your doctor tell you . . . "
the short version

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They don't increase your odds of living longer.

A review of 10 major statin studies showed the same number of deaths and adverse effects in groups taking statins and not taking statins. In order to prevent one heart attack or stroke, 71 people needed to take statins for 3 to 5 years. Despite this slight (1.4%) benefit, longevity was not increased in the statin group.

There has never been benefit shown for many groups.

However benefit to survival with statins or other cholesterol-lowering agents has never been demonstrated in women (even those at high cardiac risk), in the older elderly, or in men at lower cardiac risk . . .[emphasis added]

Statins deplete the body of Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone or CoQ10).

Statins work by interrupting the biosynthesis of cholesterol. They also interrupt the biosynthesis of CoQ10.
Widely available as a supplement, CoQ10 is needed by every cell of the body for energy production. It is a potent anti-oxidant and is especially important for the heart muscle.

Depleted CoQ10 in the body can lead to congestive heart failure (possibly fatal), polyneuropathy (including muscle weakness, muscle breakdown, cell breakdown and nerve conduction defects) and possibly cancer.

Supplementation of CoQ10 protects against statin-induced depletion.

As with HRT, there are no long-term studies of the effects of statins.
Statins may have the following adverse effects:

Cognitive problems, including confusion, disorientation and memory loss, from mild to global amnesia.

Polyneuropathy, including fatigue, loss of muscle function or feeling in the muscle, difficulty walking or using the arms or feet, and sensation change, including pain, burning, tingling, numbness or decreased sensation. These symptoms may be progressive or recurrent.

Myositis -- chronic or persistent inflammation -- affecting hips, arms, legs, eyes, joints, or organs. There is no cure.

Possible increase in cancer.

Statins interrupt the biosynthesis of cholesterol.
Your body needs cholesterol . . .

. . . to form the sexual hormones -- no cholesterol, no sexual hormones, no humans.
. . . to form the adrenal hormones (including cortisol) that deal with stress and regulate glucose.
. . . to maintain cell wall integrity in every cell of the body.
. . . for proper brain functioning --the brain has the largest concentration of cholesterol in the body.

Given the importance of cholesterol in our body, how could statins not affect essential bodily functions?

Information compiled by and Copyright © 2003 by Michael Babcock


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A few quotes regarding statins . . .

Statins & Overall Mortality

"Do Statins Have a Role in Primary Prevention" is a review of 10 major statin trials conducted by the Therapeutics Initiative of the Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics of the University of British Columbia. Here are their conclusions:

  • "If cardiovascular serious adverse events are viewed in isolation, 71 primary prevention patients with cardiovascular risk factors have to be treated with a statin for 3 to 5 years to prevent one myocardial infarction or stroke."
  • "This cardiovascular benefit is not reflected in 2 measures of overall health impact, total mortality and total serious adverse events. Therefore, statins have not been shown to provide an overall health benefit in primary prevention trials." [emphasis added]

Statins & Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone or CoQ10)

"A Significant decrease in plasma CoQ10 levels in patients treated with Mevacor and other statins has been observed in short-term clinical trials. The clinical significance of a potential long-term statin-induced deficiency of CoQ10 has not yet been established."

  • Required warning on statin drugs in Canada, quoted by Nicholas Regush in Red Flag Daily's "Health Trend Forecast," May 16, 2003.

"Ubiquinone in a slightly altered form known as ubiquinol is found in all membranes where it has a vital function in maintaining membrane integrity. Compromise of this important role is thought to be involved both in muscle cell breakdown and nerve conduction defects associated with statin drug use"

  • Duane Graveline, M.D., M.P.H., in "Transient Global Amnesia Associated with the Statin Drugs."

Statins & Polyneuropathy

"The authors note that their study showed that long-term exposure to statins may substantially increase the risk of polyneuropathy. These findings suggest that statins may have a toxic effect on peripheral nerves. One possible mechanism may be that by interfering with cholesterol synthesis, statins may alter nerve membrane function."

Statins & Brain Function

"Total Global Amnesia, once so rare that most physicians have never seen a case in their entire careers, is now quite common in our emergency rooms associated with simply being on a statin drug. But amnesia is only the tip of the iceberg. For every amnesia case report there are hundreds if not thousands of cases of confusion and severe memory disturbance associated with being on statin drugs."

NOTE: The highest concentration of cholesterol in the body is found in the brain and nervous system.

FDA as Protector

"Watchover [a program of the FDA] was informed of each Baycol [a statin drug] death as it occurred during these past two years but bureaucratic inertia allowed over fifty fatalities to occur before action was taken placing the credibility and effectiveness of FDA in serious question."

NOTE: The FDA has been informed of hundreds of cases of cognitive problems related to statin drugs. They have issued no warnings.


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Last Updated 9 September 2003.