Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Statin side-efx? Start complaining

…For several years, HA has been muttering about the great national drug trial of putting everyone in the country on cholesterol-lowering statins.

…The gist of her mutterings has been, “Sure, try these on everyone, whatEV!”

…Even the TV commercial says potentially serious muscle weakness can be a side effect of Lipitor and its cousins.

…When HA’s (ex-) doctor said, “Time for statins” (not knowing her cholesterol
level), she said, “I won’t want muscle weakness.”

…The doc said, “If you get that, you stop taking them.”

…Yeah? What if HA is crossing an interstate or something? (OK, lame example.)

…The WSJ’s head health scribe Tara Parker-Pope got on this subject in the October 3rd issue.

…Statins are the largest selling drug in the world and have been shown to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attack.

…The rest is a little vague….Those muscle aches and oh, memory loss, too!

…The Univ of CA-San Diego has now set up a Statin Side Effects Survey site (

…Apparently – funny story—statins were approved without reliable side-efx data.

…The system isn’t perfect. The FDA does have an Adverse Event Reporting System that collects reports from docs, pharmacists, pharmcos and patients.

…Again, funny story, but the reports are dropping due to a procedural change that dropped “nonserious” events off the database.

…Too, men are the largest users of statins, and women are the largest users of “reporting in.”

…The tiredness, aches, and memory lapses may be written off to “aging.”

…In fact, that’s what some docs tell complainers—instead of reporting to the FDA.

…There have been some little studies, At the Univ of Pittsburgh, cognitive functions in some of the 308 adults studied were worse on statins than placebo.

…So far, 60% of those complaining on the new website talk about muscle weakness and half mention cognitive problems.

…Want to help the rest of the country throwing down these pills? Sign up with the Statin Effects Survey site and then spill.

…They say they started the site because doctors were blowing off complaints and many patients wanted to explain how they were faring.

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