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Statins

Only Half on Statins See ‘Appropriate’ Reduction in Bad Cholesterol

About half of people prescribed statin medications fail to achieve an appropriate reduction in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels two years after taking the drug. Researchers in the UK examined data on more than 165,000 people prescribed a statin between 1990 and 2016. They had not been treated for a heart…

For Elderly, Multiple Meds After Heart Attack Come at a Cost

Elderly nursing home patients prescribed a multitude of medications following a heart attack may live longer compared to those given just one drug, but it can come at a cost: It may negatively impact their quality of life. Researchers examined claims data from nearly 4,800 nursing home residents, most of…

Using MedShadow to Become Better Informed About Your Meds

Over my career as a pharmacist, I’ve been very conscientious about filling prescriptions accurately as prescribed. I’ve also made it a priority to focus on counseling patients on how to take their medications properly and informing them of potential side effects to look out for. Now that I’m on the…

Experimental Drug Lowers Cholesterol Without Statin Side Effects

Although statins are a mainstay of treatment for high cholesterol, many people who take the drugs experience side effects. But a new drug appears to lower the body’s “bad” cholesterol levels, but without side effects, such as muscle pains, seen with statins. The new drug, bempedoic acid, works by targeting…

5 Things to Know About Statin Alternatives

Statins are used to lower cholesterol, but some people have side effects or don’t want to take meds. Find out about alternatives and their effectiveness. More than 30 years have passed since the first cholesterol-busting statin drug hit the market in the United States, and the medications remain blockbusters. If…

So, Your Doctor Wants You to Take a Statin. What Are the Risks?

If you have high cholesterol and cardiovascular risk factors, you may be prescribed a statin. Should you be concerned about the risks of these drugs? Seems my doctor wants me to take one too. I had my annual check-up with my physician a few weeks ago and was disappointed when…

AHA: Statin Side Effects Rare, Benefits Outweigh Risks

The benefits of statin medications outweigh their risks, the American Heart Association says, responding to a study that came out last week that argued the cholesterol-lowering drugs are overprescribed. The AHA said that about 10% of Americans on a statin stop taking it because of side effects that they believe…

Statins’ Benefits Beyond CV Unclear

New research is casting doubt on the benefits of statin medications beyond reducing the risk of cardiovascular events. Statins, such as Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Crestor (rosuvastatin), are commonly prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs that can help to reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Some studies had indicated that…

Some Statins May Be Associated With Memory, Cognitive Issues

A type of statins, drugs which are used to lower cholesterol, may increase the risk for memory loss and other cognitive issues, according to a new study. The drugs in question are known as lipophilic statins. Common ones are Lipitor (atorvastatin), Zocor (simvastatin) and Mevacor (lovastatin). Compared to other types…

Yes, Statins Work. But Who Should Take Them?

Statin drugs that lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes are among the most-prescribed drugs in the U.S. About 28% of people aged 40 and over take one. That number rises to 50% of people aged 75 and over. The evidence is overwhelming that statins work:…

Stuck with Statins? Try a Plant-Based Diet to Cut Back

The solution to a lifetime of statins could lie in a diet based on vegetables, whole grains, beans and fruit. The medical community recommends statins as a front-line (first-choice) treatment for high cholesterol levels that may also cut your chances of having a heart attack. Yet studies show that other…

Statins May Accelerate Onset of Parkinson’s

Statins, which are widely used to lower cholesterol, may end up accelerating the onset of Parkinson’s disease in some patients. Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine examined insurance claims data from 50 million people. They found 22,000 people that were diagnosed with Parkinson’s, though only 2,322 were newly diagnosed….

No Cardiovascular Prevention Benefit Seen With Statins in Seniors

New evidence indicates that doctors may want to think twice before prescribing a statin to seniors with no history of heart disease for prevention of heart attack. A new study finds that the cholesterol-lowering medication does not appear to reduce that risk, and the mortality rate was higher in those…

Study Finds Statin Side Effects the Result of ‘Nocebo’ Effect

Adverse events such as muscle pain and weakness that some people taking statins claim may be overblown and are the result of a “nocebo” effectshaping people’s negative opinion about a drug. Researchers in the UK say a new study they conducted shows that people are much more likely to say…

Statins Linked to Higher Risk of Back Problems

Use of a common class of drugs used to lower cholesterol may increases one’s risk of developing back problems. Researchers examined data on 14,000 adults more than 30 years old who were enrolled in TRICARE, the military’s health care program. Half had taken a statin drug an average of 3.7…

Drug Combo May Boost Bleeding Risk for Irregular Heartbeat Patients

Two commonly prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs taken along with a blood thinner used by patients with an irregular heartbeat may significantly increase the risk for internal bleeding. Mevacor (lovastatin) and Zocor (simvastatin) are two popular statins, a class of drugs used by millions of Americans to lower cholesterol. Pradaxa (dabigatran) is…

New Guidelines Set to Expand Statin Use, Despite Some Concerns

Just-issued guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s (USPSTF) could greatly expand the number of people taking the cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins. However, some doctors are criticizing the more aggressive position, citing concerns about side effects and the efficacy of the medications. The USPSTF is now recommending that…

Be Aware of Potential Interactions With Statins and Heart Drugs

Doctors and patients need to be aware of drug-drug interactions between medications used to lower cholesterol and those used to treat heart disease, according to new recommendations from the American Heart Association (AHA). Statins, which are used to lower cholesterol, are among the most popular drugs prescribed to American adults….

Do the Benefits of Statins Outweigh the Risks?

The benefits of using the cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins greatly outweigh any risks associated with them, as side-effect rates have been greatly exaggerated, according to a new analysis of studies. The review does concede that serious side effects can be caused by long-term statin use. These include muscle pain…

The Risks of Taking Statins

Is your cholesterol high? Has your doctor suggested you might be at risk for heart disease? If so, you have some decisions to make. You need to know that you can likely improve your health and lower your cholesterol by simple lifestyle changes like exercise and changing your diet. You…

Mediterranean Diet May Be Better Than Statins For Heart Disease

Eating a Mediterranean-style diet — one that is rich in fish, olive oil, nuts and vegetables — may be more effective at cutting the risk of death in people with cardiovascular disease than statins — and without the side effects. Findings, presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in…

Quick Hits: Drugs That Boost Heart Failure Risk, Crestor Goes Generic, & More

Many commonly used medications can lead to heart failure or worsen existing heart failure, according to a scientific statement from the American Heart Association (AHA). Many of the drugs that the AHA identified increase heart failure risk due to their high sodium content. Some of these drugs are: Fosamax (alendronate),…

Need to Know: Statins

Doctors prescribe statins to lower cholesterol. Here are upsides and downsides to consider when taking them. Common Names Lipitor (atorvastatin), Crestor (rosuvastatin), Zocor (simvastatin), Pravachol (pravastatin), lovastatin (Mevachol), Lescol (fluvastatin), Altoprav (lovastatin), Livalo (pitavastatin) Side Effects and What to Do About Them Muscle Aches and Pains: Based on observational studies,…

Industry Payments Boost Brand-Name Drug Prescribing by Docs

If a doctor insists on prescribing you a brand-name drug even if there is a generic version available, it may be because he or she is getting a kickback from a pharmaceutical company to do so. Harvard Medical School researchers examined the prescribing rates of statins, the popular cholesterol-lowering drug,…

Are Statins Overprescribed?

Does it really make sense to put a large group of people on a drug whose effectiveness hasn’t been proven for that group? What at first looked like a creeping increase in statin prescriptions is turning into a gallop. Despite the significant and life-altering side effects that this class of…

ACHOO! MEDSHADOW IDENTIFIES COMMON RISKS OF COLD AND FLU REMEDIES

Nonprofit educates the public about the side effects of medication, encourages the public to weigh risks and benefits first NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 2, 2015 – MedShadow, a nonprofit advocacy website that educates consumers on the side effects of medication, has expanded its coverage of the side effects of…

Statins May Dampen Response to Flu Vaccine

Two studies suggest that statin use decreases the effect of the flu vaccine, according to findings published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases. One of the reports shows that many senior statin users had a significantly reduced immune response to the vaccination, compared with those not taking statins. In the…

Statins Do Not Protect Against Cancer: Quite the Opposite

In a cohort study of statin-treated patients and nontreated controls, Cardwell et al concluded that statin treatment may prevent colon cancer. However, a recent study showed that 10 years of statin therapy increased women’s risk of invasive ductal carcinoma (most common type of breast cancer) by 83% and their risk…

Scientists identify mechanism behind statin-induced muscle weakness

Researchers, from Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center in the Netherlands, discovered 25% of patients taking statins had unpleasant side effects in the form of muscle weakness, pain and cramps, without any sign of damage to the tissue. Research suggests that muscle weakness and related side effects that can arise from…

Statins Linked With Heightened Aggression in Women, But Reductions in Men

A study examining the effects of statin therapy on levels of aggression suggests that men and women may respond differently to the lipid-lowering medications. A University of California San Diego Statin Study included 1016 adults undergoing randomization to placebo, simvastatin, or pravastatin for 6 months. In women, treatment with statin…

Do Statin Drugs Need a Re-Think?

Have you heard of PCSK9 inhibitors? If you read our FDA Watch post about them, you know that this new class of medication just received preliminary FDA approval as a cholesterol-lowering agent. In a 2015 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, participants taking PCSK9 inhibitors had LDL…

Statins can be stopped toward the end of life

Researchers from Duke University School of Medicine recruited 381 people who were not expected to live for more than a year. About half the participants were randomly assigned to stop taking statins. According to researchers, the group that stopped taking the drugs did have a small improvement in their quality…

Statins May Seriously Increase Diabetes Risk

Statins may increase the risk of diabetes by a considerable amount. In a study published in Diabetologia, scientists from Finland found that men who were prescribed statins to lower their cholesterol had a 46% greater chance of developing diabetes after six years compared to those who weren’t taking the drug….

Plaque Buildup in Those Who Respond Poorly to Statins

A new analysis has shown that 1 in 5 patients with coronary artery disease receiving a statin failed to have a significant LDL (low-density lipoprotein)-lowering response to treatment. These patients experienced a significant progression of atherosclerosis (plaque build up inside the arteries) over a follow-up period ranging from 18 to 24 months….

Statins may not protect against Parkinson’s after all, study finds

Previously, studies have found that the cholesterol-lowering medications statins may offer protective benefits against Parkinson’s disease. However, a new study led by researchers at Penn State College of Medicine and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences found an increased long-term risk of Parkinson’s disease among statin users. Via Medical…

Statins expert to put drugs’ side-effects under the microscope

Oxford professor plans to study thousands of patient records to discover how many may have suffered issues. Sir Rory Collins of Oxford University has previously carried out studies showing that prescribing statins more widely could save lives and prevent 10,000 heart attacks and strokes. However, he has acknowledged that his earlier…

Certain Antibiotic/Statin Combos May Be Unsafe Mix: Study

In a new study, Canadian researchers looked at more than 104,000 people aged 66 and older who were taking one of two common antibiotics — Biaxin or Zithromax — along with one of three statins: rosuvastatin, pravastatin or fluvastatin. People who used Biaxin plus one of the statins had a…

No Fracture Benefit From Statins

Statins do not reduce risk of osteoporotic fractures, a prespecified secondary analysis of the JUPITER trial determined. The study included 17,802 men and women with no history of atherosclerosis. The mean age was 66. During the study, 221 incident fractures occurred in the participants on rosuvastatin and 210 occurred in…

Statin Drugs Raise Risk of Cataracts

A study, published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, looked at more than 207,000 adults with cataracts and more than 1.1 million without them. Those who took statins for at least a year had about a 27% increased risk of developing cataracts that needed surgery, compared with people not taking…

Do Statins Up a Woman’s Risk for Thyroid Cancer?

The regular use of statins, particularly among women, was associated with an increased risk of thyroid cancer, Taiwanese researchers reported. Compared with controls, patients who routinely used statins had an adjusted odds ratio for having thyroid cancer of 1.40 according to Shiu-Dong Chung, MD, of Far Eastern Memorial Hospital in…

Genetic variants influence a person’s response to statins found

A study led by researchers at Queen Mary University of London found two new common genetic variants in 40,000 individuals which significantly affected the degree to which bad cholesterol was lowered during statin treatment. A followup study of a further 22,318 individuals confirmed the findings. One of the identified genetic…

This Would Be Funny If It Weren’t True

I urge everyone to listen to this BBC Radio 4 interview conducted by a persistent female News Presenter, as they’re called in the UK, and Professor Mark Baker, the director of the UK’s drug-regulatory organization. The presenter’s bold and naive-sounding questions are exactly the questions that should be asked, and Professor…

Stopping Statins May Benefit Terminally Ill Patients

People in the late stages of cancer and other terminal illnesses are not only unharmed by discontinuing statins for cholesterol management, they may benefit, according to a new study. The research team enrolled 381 patients who faced the likelihood of dying within a year. Among the 192 study patients who…

Men Who Take Statins May Exercise Less

A new study suggests that older men taking the cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins appear to be slightly less active than those who do not take them. According to the study, statin users logged about 40 fewer minutes of moderate activity each week compared to nonusers. These findings confirm those…

Side Effects of 5 Drugs Seniors Commonly Take

When Beverly Wilkerson, 58, Sherman Oaks, CA, woke up with a pounding headache and jaw pain last summer, she popped two Aleve. (The recommended dosage is one at a time.) She forgot to take water and food with the pills. Later on, she took two more, again forgetting the water…

Statins: How Safe Are These Life-Savers?

Two years ago Sally Bell, now 67, started noticing weakness and achiness in her legs. “Maybe I’m not working out enough,” she thought. But then again, perhaps something else was wrong. “Yes, I’m older and I’m more sedentary than I used to be, but I’m not that out of shape,”…

Statin Confusion, Worry & a Little Anger

I’m confused about who should take statins when. And frankly, I think the medical community is too. This worries me. It defies logic that more than 40% of men and 20+% of women would need to take a drug every day. Are we all sick? Certainly nature did not intend…

Studies: Statins raise risk of cataracts, lower dementia

A study of patient records in the military health care system over a 9-year period has found a correlation between statin use and cataracts. This does not prove that statins caused cataracts. However, those on statins were 27% more likely to develop cataracts. JAMA Opthamology via Philly.com In a completely…

Statins my not mix well with certain antibiotics

Very important – If you are taking statins, avoid erythromycin and chlarithromycin. Both can increase the concentration of statin in your blood stream, leading to muscle or kidney damage, possibly death. If you need an antibiotic, use azithromycin instead. From WebMD –MedShadow Staff

What to Believe

It’s not easy being a consumer. The information available to the public is often contradictory and confusing. For example, take the issue of statins (Lipitor, Crestor, Zocor, etc.). There are many known side effects of statins, some beneficial, some not so much. When reading on-line discussions of statin side effects,…

High Potency Statins Linked to Kidney Injury

The British Medical is reporting on a study that links high potency statins with acute kidney injury. The Canadian studyconcludes that the “use of high potency statins is associated with an increased rate of diagnosis for acute kidney injury in hospital admissions compared with low potency statins. The effect seems…

Statins During Chemo Lowers Heart Problems

Women with breast cancer, undergoing anthracycline chemo, have a significantly lower rate of heart problems in a retrospective study published in Journal of American College of Cardiology, December 2012. Link here to report on Breastcancer.org.

Statins May Lower Glioma Risk Over Time

New research indicates long-term use of statin may reduce the risk of brain and spine tumors, called glioma. (Wikipedia: a glioma is a type of tumor that starts in the brain or spine. It is called a glioma because it arises from glial cells. The most common site of gliomas is the brain. Gliomas…