The terrible damage that statins are capable of in some individuals still remains one of the world's best-kept secrets and all due to the inevitable depletion of CoQ10 followed by mitochondrial DNA damage to various tissues throughout the body.
If brain tissue is primarily involved, cognition deficit results. If muscle be primarily involved it is weakness and loss of muscle mass that results. If nerve tissue has the major thrust of mitochondrial DNA damage, neuropathy will result with burning pain being one of the more common symptoms.
Tens of thousands have been permanently damaged, some, including myself, to wheelchair disability. We do have a system for post-marketing drug surveillance but one would never know it was in existence from the statin warnings thus far.
Is it possible that these reports from seriously damaged citizens are just being logged in with nothing else done; no compilation of lists of damage types by dose or time of onset from the time the drug was started? No warnings to the thousands of doctors writing prescriptions for these drugs with no awareness of the real side effect hazard?
Is it possible that our doctors are being told only what their drug rep tells them? You can bet it will not be amnesia problems or rhabdomyolysis from the statin or the tragedy of peripheral neuropathy.
At first I thought that this was all about inertia, the glacial slowness by which radical and tragic news about adverse drug reactions find their way into the media stream.
But then after 10 years of trying to feed this information to the media my interpretation became more sophisticated - this is not a glacier in action, this is about money!
I have not added up the annual profit to the drug companies from each of the statins, nor have I attempted to estimate the benefit to the medical community by being kept in the dark about the truth of statins adverse effects or the truly fabulous profits to the food industry by playing along with all this but I think statins have become the first of a new kind of drug - a class of drugs that is feeding so much money into the gravy train that it has an uncontrolled life of its own.
How can this be I wonder, knowing cholesterol causation was fundamentally false, a bit of favorable politicking on the part of one, Ancel Keys?
Five years ago I made the prediction that the geniuses in statin marketing would slide cholesterol out and inflammation in and never miss a statin sale. Along came JUPITER to prove me right. Now, even though your cholesterols are all well within normal, if your CRP (C-reactive protein) is elevated, you are a candidate for a statin drug, for atherosclerosis is an inflammatory process and CRP is an excellent marker for this condition.
Cholesterol has no relevant causation but it is part of the healing process. Drug companies are all too familiar with the fact that there are many people with "normal" cholesterol but "CRP elevations" walking about out there. We have barely begun the statin drug use now being envisaged now that CRP has been validated as a marker.
It is about time for doctors to become familiar with the side effect profile of statins. They have been denying it much too long now. Going after cholesterol was never a rational move but going after inflammation IS! The side effects were coming from cholesterol-lowering dosing (when cholesterol was never the problem) - you figure it out!
Now that doctors can begin to think rationally about optimum dosing they will find that significant anti-inflammation will result from doses much less than what has been used. High doses provoke adverse effects by blocking the mevalonate pathway.
Statins are the first class of drugs where the gravy train effect is so pervasive, underlying truths have remained ignored. As they now move away from cholesterol towards inflammation with CRP as the new justification for treatment, many more millions of people will be placed on statins when they are still in their 30s and 40s.
Hopefully soon we will have an anti-inflammatory statin that does not block the mevalonate pathway. That will be true medical progress.
Duane Graveline MD MPH
Former USAF Flight Surgeon
Former NASA Astronaut
Retired Family Doctor