Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Statins--yes or no

Anna Wilde Mathews (WSJ, June 15, 2010) writes that some docs are taking a broader view of who should take a statin.

As it is, they hand this stuff out like Tic Tacs. I even interviewed several cardiologists who thought this stuff was so smokin’ it should be put in the water supply.

My sister, for one, had bad leg pains. I would never take it myself. But you know how I am.

Now, some doctors are calculating a patient’s overall danger of stroke or heart disease instead of trying to hit a number for “good” cholesterol or “bad” cholesterol using the drugs.

They factor in family history, diabetes, hypertension, weight, age, etc. More people would end up taking a statins, and some would be those who would not have taken it before.

Many doctors think this is a bad idea. Far from mainstream.

For high risk patients, LDL should be less than 100, with closer to 70 being ideal for really high riskers. For moderately high risk, 130. For patients with limited risk, LDL of under 160 would be recommended, with a statin justified if it stays at 190 or more.

Using this approach, 53 million people would be taking a statin, about 13% of which might not get such aggressive treatment under today’s standards.

The docs say 86,000 fewer heart attacks, too.

I don’t know. I still don’t like the sound of these things. Brain fog, pains… Don’t go by me, though—talk to your doctor.

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