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  #1   ^
Old Thu, Mar-27-08, 06:40
2bthinner!'s Avatar
2bthinner! 2bthinner! is offline
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Default ‘SUPERDRUG' DEATH LINK? (statins)

http://www.thecnj.co.uk/camden/2008...s011008_01.html

Quote:
Inquest blames cholesterol pills for psychic disturbances

A WONDER drug prescribed to millions caused “psychic disturbances” which plunged a Hampstead schoolmaster into a living nightmare and drove him to his death under a train, an inquest has ruled.
Students and colleagues at University College School were mystified and distraught when chemistry master Dr Allan Woolley, 53, was killed while standing on the tracks at North Wembley railway station last April, holding a note which read: “Just burn my wretched body without ceremony.”
But his family and friends were so convinced that suicide was out of character they insisted that his inquest examine the role played in his death by cholesterol-lowering statins, prescription “superdrugs” taken by 2.5 million people in Britain at risk of heart attacks.
On Tuesday, after hearing how the outgoing house-master’s character had been transformed by nightmares, hallucinations and blackouts in the days before his death, a jury at Hornsey Coroner’s Court rejected a suicide verdict.
Instead, they recorded a narrative verdict describing the circumstances of his death and concluding: “At the time of his death Allan Woolley was suffering from psychic disturbances, a known side-effect of the drug simvastatin.”
Coroner Andrew Walker summoned an expert witness from the $6 billion-per-year drug company that manufactures Zocor, the brand of simvastatin prescribed to Dr Woolley, after the teacher’s sister Lorraine Bubb wrote: “My brother had no history of depression and was in full-time employment. The family believe that Allan did not intend to kill himself. My brother had had nightmares which were so terrible he could not distinguish between them and real life.”
On behalf of Zocor manufacturer Merck Sharpe and Dohme, Dr Fredric Steinberg said psychic disturbances were among the “rare” side effects, adding: “That is an unspecified term, psychic disturbances. It is lumped together in that term because these events are very rare... [But] it could be depression, it could be hallucination, it could be anxiety.”
He said: “Simvastatins have been licenced since 1988 and the accumulated tablets have been in the billions... Millions of people have taken it; the number of incidences – over the 20 years it has been diagnosed – of psychotic symptoms is in the range of 1,500. The number of suicides is 52.”
Asked by the Woolley family’s lawyer, Alan Weir, whether cases could be underreported, Dr Steinberg said: “I cannot answer that.”
Statins, of which simvastatin is the cheapest of five types prescribed on the NHS, have been hailed as a superdrug for their effect on reducing cholesterol by up to 60 per cent.
Dr Woolley, who lived in Inglewood Road, West Hampstead, was prescribed simvastatin be~cause as a diabetic with above average cholesterol he was at risk of cardio-vascular illness, despite his active lifestyle.
But friends, struggling to explain his sudden death, recalled his complaints about side-effects from Zocor shortly before his death.
Fellow UCS “deme warden” Steven Hawley said Dr Woolley had been pre-occupied and had suffered 15-minute “black-outs” when he could not recall his actions.
Mr Hawley described a conversation with Dr Woolley on the night of his death: “Everything had changed in that phone call. I can only say he was at his wits end.
“He said he couldn’t carry on. He said he’d remembered the 15 minutes and it was awful. I could tell he was desperate; he said I called to say I love you and to say goodbye. I said we could talk tomorrow – he said maybe, maybe not. It was not an Allan Woolley I’d ever spoken to before.”
Mr Hawley also gave evidence that the note found on Dr Woolley’s body was not in character for a man described by his UCS headmaster as “immensely popular and inspirational”.
The partly illegible note, read to the court by the coroner, said: “Woken up four... I hadn’t... at least the pain has now gone. The pain I have caused is incalculable, I am sorry but it is not enough. Just burn my wretched body without ceremony. I was unborn for 15,000 million years there was no pain then, being dead won’t be any different. I would like to write more but there isn’t time.”
Coroner Dr Walker directed the jury to name the drug in their verdict. He said: “I have decided that this is not a case where you can return a suicide verdict. You must not say that Allan Woolley killed himself... or that he took his own life.
“You must include that the drug simvastatin was involved.”
After the verdict, the group of Dr Woolley’s friends whose internet researches into the effects of statins had prompted the coroner’s summons to the drug company issued a joint statement. They said: “We are delighted by the verdict because it emphasises the role of his medication in the tragic change in Allan in the days before his death. We hope this may contribute to a greater understanding and investigation of the potential dangers of these statins, especially given the pressure to prescribe them ever more widely.”

In the UK, 2.5 million people take them –
but are statins safe?

“BE assured it is not the drug that is on trial here...,” Coroner Andrew Walker told Tuesday’s inquest into the death of Allan Woolley, who became psychotic as a side-effect of taking cholesterol-lowering statins.
But the inquest’s finding, which acknowledged psychic disturbances caused by the most popular variant of the drug, will inevitably fuel debate over their safety.
Statins are so spectacularly successful at combating heart disease – the UK’s biggest killer – that some experts have called for them to be ~prescribed automatically to everyone over 50.
Not only do they interfere with the process which forms harmful cholestorol in the body, they have been associated with lower rates of stroke and the prevention of dementia, prompting the National Institute for Clinical Excellence to call last year for an additional 3.3 million UK patients to become eligible for the drugs.
The NHS has made a major push to ensure that doctors prescribe simvastatin, the form of the drug taken by Dr Woolley, as it is out of patent and therefore significantly cheaper than some ~other forms. It is also available over the counter.
More than 70 per cent of Camden Primary Care Trust prescriptions of statins are for the cheaper drug, in line with NHS policy. Camden PCT said yesterday that they did not hold records of the number of patients prescribed with the statin.
A PCT spokesman added: “It is considered to be safe from data reported from ~clinical studies and post-~marketing surveillance.
“The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency [MHRA] monitors and collates national safety data relating to drugs, as does the European Medicines Evaluation Agency [EMEA].”
Major studies have consistently found that the benefits of statins, the world’s biggest selling drug, ~massively outweigh the side-effects, which can also include liver and muscle ~damage.
But dissent against the $12.6 billion-a-year statins business has been expressed on the scientific peripherary, led in the US by former NASA physician Dr Duane Graveline who experienced Transient Global Amnesia (TGA) while on a statin variant. It was his work and other internet sources which led Dr Woolley’s friends and family to push the inquest to examine the role of simvastatin in his death.


Quote:
Your Comments:

I HAVE read very carefully the Heart Protection Study. I am surprised at the claim "Statins are so spectacularly successful at combating heart disease". According to Heart Protection Study 3 patients per thousand are saved. ie estimated 156 "saved"/~10265 {Therapy group size}*100/5.5 (run time of study) = 0.28% p.a. = approximately 3 per 1000 p.a.. 7.5% died despite treatment! (~781)
90+% did not need treatment
Diagnosis? Somewhat awry <10% actually at risk . 1/6 saved, 5/6 died 17% success in therapy! for how long? Not defined
~17% of those proven to be at risk is not what I would describe as "spectacular"
M. Cawdery
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  #2   ^
Old Thu, Mar-27-08, 09:13
MizKitty's Avatar
MizKitty MizKitty is offline
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Plan: Very high fat LC/HCG
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My attention was caught by that statement too.
"Statins are so spectacularly successful at combating heart disease – the UK’s biggest killer – that some experts have called for them to be ~prescribed automatically to everyone over 50.
"

That is spectacularly irresponsible journalism. Statins haven't been spectacular at combating heart disease... if anything they've been moderately successful at lowering cholesterol, but heart disease has not gone down, and the whole lipid hypothesis is finally starting to crumble.
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  #3   ^
Old Thu, Mar-27-08, 14:21
amandawald amandawald is offline
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Read "The Great Cholesterol Con" by Dr Malcolm Kendrick. Statins - according to him - do work with a very small and very specific (male) group of patients, but he argues that it is not their cholesterol-reducing properties that cause this, but that another mechanism is at work.

For most people statins are not going to help with anything at all. Lowering cholesterol appears to have all sorts of nasty side-effects, one of them being depression. Depressive types have naturally low cholesterol. Very low cholesterol levels have also been linked to Parkinson's.

When one considers all the massively important jobs cholesterol does in our bodies - for example, it is a main component of brain cells, if I recall correctly - then the LAST thing we should be doing is messing about with our cholesterol levels, and lowering them could prove to be extremely dangerous.

I'm waiting for some big class action suits over these drugs.
amanda
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  #4   ^
Old Thu, Mar-27-08, 22:14
2bthinner!'s Avatar
2bthinner! 2bthinner! is offline
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Plan: Paleo Gluten free
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Quote:
Depressive types have naturally low cholesterol
My DH has lowish cholesterol (149, I said in another post that it was 168 but he said no, it's 149) He is very moody and has been depressed off and on. Maybe it depends on where his cholesterol is riding.

Quote:
Read "The Great Cholesterol Con" by Dr Malcolm Kendrick. Statins - according to him - do work with a very small and very specific (male) group of patients, but he argues that it is not their cholesterol-reducing properties that cause this, but that another mechanism is at work.
I keep meaning to get this but haven't yet. It seems to me though, that another board said that the other mechanism it helps is inflammation. There were some other articles that said yes, it lowered your cholesterol count, but INCREASED your plaque!! I'd think it'd be healthier to have a higher cholesterol and less plaque! I can't believe Doctors still prescribe these things. What happened to "First, do no harm?"

ETA: The post is here. It's both the anti inflammatory and plaque increased.

http://forum.lowcarber.org/showthre...ighlight=plaque

Last edited by 2bthinner! : Thu, Mar-27-08 at 22:23.
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  #5   ^
Old Thu, Mar-27-08, 23:39
Kisal's Avatar
Kisal Kisal is offline
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Plan: It's anybody's guess!
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Simvastatin is the drug my doctor took me off of yesterday, because it was causing me horrible muscle and joint pain. I took it for years, and had awful pain all those years, but never connected it to the dratted drug! I thought it was because I needed a new mattress (which I did.) The only reason I figured out it was the drug was because I stopped taking it without her permission. I told her I would start it again if my cholesterol went up. I felt really great while off the drug, (new bed, you see), but within 5 days of starting back on the garbage, the horrid pain came back.
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  #6   ^
Old Fri, Mar-28-08, 08:53
MizKitty's Avatar
MizKitty MizKitty is offline
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Plan: Very high fat LC/HCG
Stats: 310/155.4/159 Female 67 inches
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Kisal, I took lovastatin for 2 years, and it all but dissolved my muscles. Every visit to my doctor I'd complain about fatigue, weakness, and muscle/joint pain, and he'd brush it off. Hey, you're fat, you're diabetic, what do you expect? I reached the point where I couldn't walk to the end of my driveway, couldn't get myself off the floor from a kneeling position, had to stop and sit down every 10 minutes during even the lightest physical activity like vacuuming, couldn't even hold my arms up long enough to brush my hair or put on mascara without them trembling and bad pain, was even having suicidal thoughts and cognitive thinking issues, when I stumbled across the spacedoc.net site and figured out what was happening. That was September '06.

When I told my doctor, even having written him a long letter explaining all the problems I was having, and printed off the letters Dr. Graveline has on his site for giving to doctors, and asked him to report it to whoever doctors are supposed to report cases of side effects to, he wouldn't do it, and flat out denied that the statin could have caused it. He said if the statin was causing it, it would have all cleared up within 24 to 48 hours of my stopping taking it.

Well I did start to recover as soon as I stopped taking them, but I'm still recovering today, almost 2 years later. I can finally exercise, and do weight training now trying to recover my lost strength. Still not joint-pain free, though.

Do you think your doctor reported your side effects to simvastin? Seems to me like the primary reason the % of people who experience side effects looks so minuscule, is because doctors don't report.

Glad you figured yours out and quit them, too.
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  #7   ^
Old Fri, Mar-28-08, 14:37
Rose1942's Avatar
Rose1942 Rose1942 is offline
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Plan: Bernstein-ish
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Location: Charlotte NC
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MizKitty and Kisal - I am so sorry to hear that you both had (and are still having) such a terrible time with the statins. I would possibly be in your company if not for the recent surge in media expose's detailing the side effects and the dangers, because I am supposed to be taking Lipitor right now (but I refused to fill the prescription). I am not sure what I am going to do, if anything - but my total cholesterol is 200 and that is not high, plus I am a woman, and 65 - no benefit possible for me. Whether the doc will listen is another story - if not, he can sue me. I'm not taking it.

Remember - one statin has already been taken off the market (Baycor) and another is under scrutiny now (Vytorin) - let's hope that the rest of them come under fire soon. There is a lot of evidence now, and the media is on it, for once. These drugs are BAD NEWS.
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  #8   ^
Old Fri, Mar-28-08, 22:25
2bthinner!'s Avatar
2bthinner! 2bthinner! is offline
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Posts: 3,345
 
Plan: Paleo Gluten free
Stats: 242/216/130 Female 5'7.5"
BF:too/dang/much
Progress: 23%
Location: Florida
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Quote:
MizKitty and Kisal - I am so sorry to hear that you both had (and are still having) such a terrible time with the statins. I would possibly be in your company if not for the recent surge in media expose's detailing the side effects and the dangers, because I am supposed to be taking Lipitor right now (but I refused to fill the prescription). I am not sure what I am going to do, if anything - but my total cholesterol is 200 and that is not high, plus I am a woman, and 65 - no benefit possible for me. Whether the doc will listen is another story - if not, he can sue me. I'm not taking it.

Remember - one statin has already been taken off the market (Baycor) and another is under scrutiny now (Vytorin) - let's hope that the rest of them come under fire soon. There is a lot of evidence now, and the media is on it, for once. These drugs are BAD NEWS.
Actually, two were taken off the market, right around the same time. I only remember because my doctor wanted to put me on a statin. My TC was 235, but my HDL was 75. I flat told him no. I wouldn't even ACCEPT the prescription, much less fill it. And remember, the doctor works for YOU. There is no law that says you have to do what he RECOMMENDS. We forget that, because they usually talk to us like we are children. (sometimes we deserve it). But that doesn't change the fact that they are recommending. You don't HAVE to do it. But, I'm very glad you didn't.

And MizKitty and Kisal; I hope you find a solution soon. There has to be something that can reverse this for you. (something natural, of course!)
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  #9   ^
Old Tue, May-13-08, 16:06
Kisal's Avatar
Kisal Kisal is offline
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Stats: 350/250/160 Female 70 inches
BF:
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I've been doing a lot of research lately about better ways of lowering cholesterol. I've found many articles that say niacin is quite effective. However, it is not without side effects, and at the dosages necessary to control cholesterol, it must be monitored by a physician. There are 3 types of niacin used for cholesterol control: IR (immediate release, which can cause intense flushing and has some danger of liver toxicity), ER (extended release, which causes less flushing and has the least potential for causing liver toxicity), and SR (sustained release, which causes about the same amount of flushing as the ER, but in tests has shown a very high incidence of liver toxicity.)

I suggested niacin to my doctor, and she agreed, but was going to prescribe the SR type. I briefly explained to her that the ER was the better choice, so now she wants me to come in and show her my research. My appointment is for next Monday, the 19th, and I am well armed with 6 really excellent studies that I printed out, all from official peer reviewed medical and pharmacy journals.

On another subject, while I was doing my research, I stumbled across a report of a study that seems to indicate that calcium supplements can increase heart attack risks in postmenopausal women. I'm going to give her that one, too.
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  #10   ^
Old Wed, May-14-08, 01:56
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Rheneas Rheneas is offline
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Do you ever get the feeling that doctors think we are all too stupid to have independent thought and reason. I get the impression that if there is something that they do not know or understand that they assume that we don't know or understand it either and if we arm ourselves with knowledge that is beyond theirs they use their power as an 'authority' to dismiss us and threaten us with removal from their practices. It is time their God complexes were well and truly stamped on.
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  #11   ^
Old Wed, May-14-08, 07:36
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Angeline Angeline is offline
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Kisal you should point your research towards some rather smart people who insist that cholesterol does not even need to be lowered. Cholesterol is like firemen. You generally find them when there is a fire, but they don't cause the fire.


One of the reason that this whole cholesterol hysteria gained so much momentum is that that it gives doctor something to treat. Our modern medicine is very result oriented, so treating a number gives the both the doctor and patient the illusion of progress.

Also higher cholesterol has been shown to be PROTECTIVE in older women.

So don't let your doctor obsess over your "numbers".
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  #12   ^
Old Wed, May-14-08, 09:28
CAKron55 CAKron55 is offline
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Plan: CAD
Stats: 168/158/125 Female 5'2"
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Yes, high cholesterol gives doctors something to treat. And from what I understand you then need to get your blood tested fairly often to make sure it's not causing liver damage, thus also having to makie more frequent doctor visits to check the results (although I don't know if the doctor tells you this is why your blood is being tested while on statins).

I refused to take them. My doctor said he had NOT heard that older women in particular should not take statins, that high cholesterol may protect older women against cancer.
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  #13   ^
Old Wed, May-14-08, 10:21
pamlynn's Avatar
pamlynn pamlynn is offline
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Plan: LC
Stats: 248.4/245.4/170 Female 5' 6 "
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kisal
I've been doing a lot of research lately about better ways of lowering cholesterol. I've found many articles that say niacin is quite effective. However, it is not without side effects, and at the dosages necessary to control cholesterol, it must be monitored by a physician. There are 3 types of niacin used for cholesterol control: IR (immediate release, which can cause intense flushing and has some danger of liver toxicity), ER (extended release, which causes less flushing and has the least potential for causing liver toxicity), and SR (sustained release, which causes about the same amount of flushing as the ER, but in tests has shown a very high incidence of liver toxicity.)

I suggested niacin to my doctor, and she agreed, but was going to prescribe the SR type. I briefly explained to her that the ER was the better choice, so now she wants me to come in and show her my research. My appointment is for next Monday, the 19th, and I am well armed with 6 really excellent studies that I printed out, all from official peer reviewed medical and pharmacy journals.

On another subject, while I was doing my research, I stumbled across a report of a study that seems to indicate that calcium supplements can increase heart attack risks in postmenopausal women. I'm going to give her that one, too.


My doc gave me a niacin script for this and told me it might cause a "mild" flushing sensation. Well I was supposed to take it at night and I did around 11 p.m. and around 1 or 2 a.m. I woke up on FIRE. My face, neck and torso were fire engine red and it felt like someone had rubbed jalepeno (spelling?) peppers on me. I had to use cold wet towels to try to stop the burning. It lasted about 2 hours. Well needless to say I never took the pills again. I'm very leery of all these new drugs. I also refused to take Lipitor - just don't believe all the hype.
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  #14   ^
Old Wed, May-14-08, 10:35
Hutchinson's Avatar
Hutchinson Hutchinson is offline
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Plan: Dr Dahlqvist's
Stats: 205/152/160 Male 69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pamlynn
My doc gave me a niacin script for this and told me it might cause a "mild" flushing sensation. Well I was supposed to take it at night and I did around 11 p.m. and around 1 or 2 a.m. I woke up on FIRE. My face, neck and torso were fire engine red and it felt like someone had rubbed jalepeno (spelling?) peppers on me. I had to use cold wet towels to try to stop the burning. It lasted about 2 hours. Well needless to say I never took the pills again. I'm very leery of all these new drugs. I also refused to take Lipitor - just don't believe all the hype.
See Dr Davis Heartscan blog particulary the blogs entitled
Niacin and hydration
and
No-flush niacin kills
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  #15   ^
Old Wed, May-14-08, 10:49
Hutchinson's Avatar
Hutchinson Hutchinson is offline
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Plan: Dr Dahlqvist's
Stats: 205/152/160 Male 69
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Progress: 118%
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amandawood
Read "The Great Cholesterol Con" by Dr Malcolm Kendrick. Statins - according to him - do work with a very small and very specific (male) group of patients, but he argues that it is not their cholesterol-reducing properties that cause this, but that another mechanism is at work.
Those who are interested in Kendrick's work may like to listen to his presentation on YouTube - MONICA and the series begining with YouTube - Part 1: Cholesterol (BMA Leeds)

Very enjoyable to those of us who have sussed out that much of what is presented as evidence based medicine is no more than Medical Dogma. If you like Taubes you'll enjoy Kendrick.

We need more proper scientists and fewer people who simply rehash current medical dogmas by manipulating the facts to fit the theory.
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