Okay, I was listening to Dr. Emily Senay this morning on the Early Show talking about a Denmark study that followed 60,000 people with existing coronary disease over several years. I think she said existing coronary disease.
Maybe someone can help me because the info was given so fast. I think she said low doses of statins were not effective, only higher doses, and to get maximum benefit the statin had be taken at least five years. Statins taken in this manner lowered the risk by 30 percent.
More than half the people in the study stopped taking the statins drugs in the first year. Dr. Senay said this is probably because they felt they did not need the drugs or didn't like the idea of taking a pill. No mention of side effects.
If anyone is familiar with this study I would appreciate their thoughts.
Sounds to me like the Dutch (Netherlands, not Denmark) study I read about on Reuters this a.m. That article says the study was published in the European Heart Journal.
They followed 60,000 new statin users over a 2 year period and found that about 1/2 stopped taking the meds; "roughly a third were on a high or intermediate dose."
"Hospital admissions for heart attacks dropped by 30 percent in statin users compared to patients not complying with the treatment, the study found."
So this study is showing (no surprise to me) that if you take your meds, you stand a better chance of NOT having a heart attack than if you stop taking them.
The article I read didn't say anything about the study population...how many had already had heart attacks, age range, etc...that can always affect how one interprets a study result, though if they actually studied 60,000 people over a 2 year period the results are probably pretty conclusive.
I'm off to see if I can find an English abstract rather than just a news article.
An abstract of this study can be found by searching for the above referenced journal and clicking under advance access...the primary author is Fernie J.A. Penning-van Beest. The one thing the abstract says that is not in the news article I read is that the higher the dose of statins, the higher the protective affect (meaning the higher the dose the person was taking, the better his chances of not being hospitalized for a heart attack).
I just watched the clip you're referring to (online from the early show site) and Dr. Senay did say Denmark...but it has got to be the Dutch study...who knows; maybe some Dutch authors did research in Denmark...
And they did flash a statement across the screen about needing to take statins for perhaps 5 years to see benefit, but I doubt that had anything to do with this particular study since she didn't mention it and the study only seems to have followed people for 2 years.
.... So this study is showing (no surprise to me) that if you take your meds, you stand a better chance of NOT having a heart attack than if you stop taking them. ......
You would probably also find that people who continue taking their meds are a lot more aware of their health. So they eat better foods and get more exercise, reducing their chances of heart attack. This of course exagerates the protective effect of taking statins. To get a true picture of the benefit, you need a a bunch of people taking a placebo too.
Type 1 since 1977. On Lantus, Novorapid and Actrapid.
I like the part about people needing much higher doses of statins. People tend to be scared by numbers....like cholesterol numbers. They also are in awe over the reduction of heart incidents or attacks..or what ever they want to call them. 30% of WHAT? 30% of 2, 30% OF 10..??? What some people don't realize is that most of the studies use heart incidents...that includes angina, palpitations, chest pains (even though they might not be associated with the heart). This study too has some serious flaws. COuld be the group given the statin, was the most healthy group to begin with. Too many variables...too many unknowns.....not enough time..... AND most importantly no placebo group.
I just read the full report that was published on Dutch statin study. It is such a mish mash of assumptions and calculations based on assumptions. People took this statin and that statin, and that statin with other durgs and this statin with yet other drugs.....???? What a mess!! Some dropped out early , some later, some never.....It is not know why they dropped out..but study stated maybe the cost...maybe the higher dosage...because it costs more. They have so many variables in the study, it would take a sample size of North America just to do the study. Mainly, there were no controls...only hospital records and prescription records. And many assumptions. The trial stated that the results were from independent investigators.. HOWEVER, it was financed (openended), by the pharmaceutical industry. It was an absolute waste of money. The reporting of this "study" by networks and news agencies...is just more of reporting what is told to you by p.r. departments. Next, they'll be trying statins to improve jet fuel preformance.
Lenin, I think you are the ideal person to be taking Lipitor. It is helping your angina and you haven't had the horrible side effects. My problem with lipitor is the horrible long-lasting side effects that others, including my husband, have experienced that affected their quality of life AND his doctor's silence on Lipitor even being the problem.
While looking for the Denmark study I did find another one concerning statins and neuropathy, also done in Denmark. It said there is a 15 percent chance of developing nerve damage in the first year of statin usage and a 25 percent in the second year. My husband was fine taking low doses of Lipitor for the first few years. He hit the wall in his ninth year.
I repeat, I am glad you are doing so well. I only object to the stampede to get everyone with slightly elevated cholesterol on a statin drug.
I agree with you...people should not be placed on statin or other cholesterol lowering drugs or supplements willy-nilly just because they have elevated cholesterol levels. And doctors need to do a better job of warning people about and monitoring the side effects if a person does decide to use the drug.
In otherwise healthy people, there are many alternatives that can be tried before drugs are tried, and much depends upon a careful assessment of ALL the risks for heart disease, not just cholesterol levels. I think it is the careful assessment of risks that is the most lacking element, both in terms of how risks are assessed, and in conducting research that will more clearly identify the risks and how to assess risk. I scored as relatively low risk on the tool that is most frequently used, except I actually had many factors that made me high risk.
Finally, if a person experiences serious side effects, especially the dangerous variety related to muscle weakness, they should stop taking the drugs.
That said, in retrospect, in some ways I wish I had had a doctor who wasn't quite so conservative in not considering the drugs. I was overweight, peri-menopausal, in a very stressful job, with a strong family history (at least paternally) of heart disease and a diet consisting too often of too many visits to the Taco Bell drive thru. My blood pressure was "normal" (but borderline high normal) and my cholesterol was in what was "high normal" (but my HDL was low and my triglyercides were sometimes off the charts).
Shortly before my 54th birthday, I began having classic angina symptoms and was lucky enough to recognize the pattern, be in denial for only about 10 days before I called the doctor, and have a doctor who said "you're too young for it to be your heart, but let's do these tests just to make sure." After two days of various tests, a 99% blockage of my LAD was found and a stent placed. The doctors and nurses were amazed I wasn't dead or didn't have a heart attack. (I am very lucky...I know several female co-workers my age or younger who are dead or had severe heart attacks).
I have been on statins for more than 2 years and have had no side effects. I have taken CoQ10 from the beginning and have no clue whether it has helped, but it doesn't seem to hurt. My numbers are just about perfect. I suspect I will be on some version of my current regimen the rest of my life unless I experience side effects, or science shows there is a high risk of long term use that outweighs the obviously very high risk I have of early death from a heart attack.
There is no such thing as the perfect research study...large scale "real world" studies like the one that is the subject of this thread have a place. The point is not that this or that study has flaws - studies of any type on any subject always do - but that many different types of studies consistently show that the statins are beneficial in reducing one of the known risk factors for heart disease.
Each individual needs to carefully weigh their risks vs. benefits before beginning to take a statin (or any drug or supplement, for any reason), watch closely for side effects, and re-weigh the risk vs. benefit if they experience side effects.
What is right for me is not right for everyone.
Lenin....so you've actually been on Lipitor for 9 years??? I do worry about long term usage of any drug since there is so little data on anything long term. (Like our stents
Connie, I agree with you totally. I think the cookie-cutter approach to statin usage is where I have a problem. You, obviously, are a prime candidate for the use of statins, as is Lenin. My husband went from an active athlete to a man who could barely get out of bed in the morning in the 8 plus years on Lipitor. I only wish his doctor would have raised the possiblity that Lipitor was at fault instead of ordering heart monitors and referring him to all kinds of specialists before we finally put two and two together.