Do You Want Fries with That Lipitor?
My Care2 blog on Wednesday, Statin Cholesterol Drug Muscle Toxicity, discussed the new FDA warnings attached to statins, the world’s best-selling drugs. Side-effects include—the new safety labels caution—memory loss, confusion, and elevations in blood sugar levels. One prominent cardiologist described the Faustian bargain to the Wall Street Journal: “1 to 2 out of 100 patients at risk for a heart attack will avoid one” by taking statins, but research now suggests “for every 200 people who take a statin, 1 will develop diabetes.”
The conclusion that the benefits of statins outweigh the risks is based on a patronizing presumption that fully informed patients would be unwilling to sufficiently improve their diets to eliminate the problem in the first place. This fatalistic attitude is prominently displayed in the American Journal of Cardiology paper featured in my NutritionFacts.org video pick, in which cardiologists suggest that cholesterol-lowering statin drugs be given out free with fast food meals (see above).
Michael Greger, M.D.
Image credit: davetron5000 / Flickr