Dispute cholesterol-lowering drug: a doctor explains who you more harm than good

Statins lower cholesterol. However, Doctors prescribe the drugs too frequently, criticized a scientist from Switzerland. He noted that the side-effects of cholesterol-lowering agents predominate in some cases, a possible Use: liver damage and Diabetes threaten.

High cholesterol can damage the blood vessels and cardiovascular disease promote. The level at which cholesterol is detrimental, it is different for everyone. Today, many scientists agree that the level of cholesterol depends only to a certain part of the diet. The biggest part of it is genetic.

However, as a rising cholesterol-levels then? Helpful so-called statins. The prescription drugs inhibit an enzyme that produces cholesterol. Worldwide, approximately 20 million people take statins. The are to many estimates, Milo Puhan, Professor of epidemiology at the University of Zurich.

Doctor warns: side-effects under-estimate

The drugs are considered to have few side effects and are therefore largely harmless, but Puhan warns: "In the end, it is avoided [by a treatment with statins] only a few people a heart attack or a stroke. But all the people can potentially suffer side effects from cholesterol-lowering drug."

One of the possible side effects it muscle pain, cataracts, liver damage and Diabetes. That statins can promote these diseases, is known, and for many experts, nevertheless, there is no reason to abandon the regulation of statins. The American Heart Association estimates that the proportion of patients taking statins and then to type 2 Diabetes sufferers, to just 0.2 percent.

Nevertheless, Physicians should weigh the individual Benefits of statins and their risks for each Patient carefully, asks Puhan.

Who has so far statins?

Yet Doctors look at certain risk factors of their patients – such as cholesterol levels, Body Mass Index, and nicotine consumption and to calculate the probability that the patient will suffer in the next ten years, a heart attack or stroke.

The risk is ten percent or higher, recommend the most of the guidelines, the intake of statins. Some guidelines advise starting with a risk of 7.5 percent to the drugs, other only 20 percent.

Use of statins, especially in the case of seniors overestimated?

Milo Puhan, under the current study together with his Team, able to the advantages and disadvantages of statins. In his study, which was recently published in the journal “Annals of Internal Medicine” that he criticizes: “Many of the policies the expected risk for cardiovascular disease in the next ten years as the basis for recommendations for the use of statins […]. However, it is often unclear how damage is considered and the Benefits weighed.“

The Swiss scientists analysed data from people aged 40 to 75 years, who have not suffered from a cardiovascular disease. You come to the conclusion: Depending on the gender and age of the patient, the Benefits of statins outweigh the potential side effects.

According to the study, men aged 40 to 44 years from a risk-factor of 14 per cent, of statins, older men from 70 to 75 years, but only at a risk factor of 21 percent. In the case of women the Benefits of statins outweigh the possible side effects in the age group 40 to 44 is only a risk factor of 17 per cent, in the higher age only 22 percent.

“Especially for seniors, the Benefits of statins have been overestimated up to now it seems to be strong,” – said in a press release from the University of Zurich.

A difference was also evident, depending on the type of statins: Atorvastatin and Rosuvastatin achieved a better so-called "Nettonutzen" for the patients as Simvastatin and Pravastatin.