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