Recent Research Sparks Debate Over Benefits vs Side Effects of Statins

Recent Research Sparks Debate Over Benefits vs Side Effects of Statins

There is significant debate over the benefits vs side effects of statins and this is perhaps best illustrated by the ongoing debate between two of the UK's most prominent medical publications.

In 2013, The British Medical Journal (BMJ) published papers by Harvard Medical School's John Abramson and UK cardiologist Aseem Malhotra claiming up to 20 percent of statin users get side effects.

The 20 percent figure was later retracted after the BMJ said it was based on flawed data, but this and other reports affected patient confidence and have contributed to the large contingent of bloggers who highlight the negative side effects of statins.

Reuters quotes David Webb, president of the British Pharmacological Society, saying he feared many patients who should take statins had been persuaded against them by exaggerated claims of harm:  “It is likely that many lives have been lost based on a perceived view that statins are dangerous and ineffective,” he said.

On September 8th, 2016, a string of articles appeared in US and British news outlets summarizing the findings of a 30-page paper published in The Lancet by Dr. Rory Collins (University of Oxford). The review found that statins benefits were underestimated and that the side effects had been exaggerated, to the detriment of public health. It said that statins prevent 80,000 heart attacks and strokes a year in the UK alone.

Our review shows that the numbers of people who avoid heart attacks and strokes by taking statin therapy are very much larger than the numbers who have side-effects with it,” review author Dr. Rory Collins, of the University of Oxford, in England, said in a press statement. “In addition, whereas most of the side effects can be reversed with no residual effects by stopping the statin, the effects of a heart attack or stroke not being prevented are irreversible and can be devastating.

Co-author Dr. Liam Smeeth, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, adds: “The best available scientific evidence tells us that statins are effective, safe drugs that have a crucial role in helping prevent cardiovascular disease: the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide.”

The review found that lowering cholesterol by 2 millimoles per liter with a statin, such as a daily 40-milligram tablet of atorvastatin for 5 years in 10,000 patients would prevent major cardiovascular events in 1,500 people and cause problematic side effects in around 200. (Reuters)

You should hear both sides of the debate so we’ve linked you to articles and sources on both sides. You can find a good review of the controversy at CardioBrief.

The fact is that many of you have been or will be prescribed a statin therapy by your doctor to help you control your high cholesterol.   When this happens, and if you encounter side effects like muscle pain or low energy, there are steps you can take to help you deal with them (as suggested above by Dr. Roy Collins from Oxford University).  One such step you should consider is taking a high absorption coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10, supplement as an adjunct to your treatment.

According to a survey of U.S. cardiologists conducted May 2016, “CoQ10 is recommended by more cardiologists than any other  supplement to all of their patients and especially to statin patients.”1 In addition, 89% of those cardiologists also recommend you take a CoQ10 supplement that is soluble in both water and fat over regular supplements that are only soluble in fat.

For more information, you can also read:

Can CoQ10 Help With Statin-Caused Muscle Pain?

Statin Users, CoQ10 is Your New Best


  1. AlphaImpactRx Provoice Survey 2016

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