First, the negatives:
Statins may cause muscle pains:
Musculoskeletal conditions, injuries may be associated with statin use
Potency of Statins Linked to Muscle Side Effects
Research Finds Link Between Statin Use and Progressive Muscle Disease
But taking Coenzyme Q10 may eliminate or minimize these risks:
and taking Coenzyme Q10 has other benefits as well:
and the overall risk of Diabetes may be worth it:
Statins' Heart Benefits Outweigh Diabetes Risk: StudyStatins may cause fatigue,
Patients taking statins who were not at risk for diabetes had a 52 percent lower risk of developing heart disease and no increased risk of developing diabetes.
Statin Use Tied to Possible Boost in Cataract Riskand impair memory:
Statins cut cataract risk in men by 40%
Statins prevent cataracts
Statin medications may prevent dementia and memory loss with longer use
High dose statins prevent dementia
And to summarize:
Statins can lead to an increased risk of liver dysfunction, acute renal failure, myopathy (musclepain) and cataracts.
Statin use linked to few side effects
Statins -- the popular class of cholesterol-lowering drugs used widely to prevent recurrent heart disease or stroke as well as risk for having a first cardiac or stroke event -- appear to cause few side effects, according to new research reported in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. Researchers conducted the largest meta-analysis on statin side effects to date, reviewing data from 135 previous drug studies to evaluate the safety of the seven statins on the market. They concluded "as a class, adverse events associated with statin therapy are not common."And:
At a time when the wider prescription of statins is under renewed public scrutiny, a substantial analysis of placebo-controlled randomized trials of statins has found that only a small minority of side effects reported by those taking the cholesterol-lowering drugs are actually attributable to them. Almost all the side effects reported in these trials "occurred anyway when patients were administered placebo," say the investigators.The study, a meta-analysis involving more than 80,000 patients and reported today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology,
Now the benefits
(Red Yeast Rice -may be an alternative to statins)
Statins are available over the counter in Great Britain, without a prescription. Some advocate for even wider distribution:
Free statins with fast food could neutralize heart risk, scientists say
Wider Utilization of Statins in Prevention and Treatment of Heart Attacks and Strokes?
The available data suggest that there is no threshold for low density lipoprotein cholesterol below which there are no net benefits of statins. Therefore, there are new and emerging clinical challenges to healthcare providers suggesting the need for wider utilization of statins in the prevention of heart attacks and strokes.
Wider statin use could be cost-effective preventive measure
A new analysis suggests that broader statin use among adult patients may be a cost-effective way to prevent heart attack and stroke.
But others advise caution (Although I'm not quite sure why after reading what they have to say:)
Statins should be prescribed with caution in those at low risk of cardiovascular disease
Combined data from eight trials involving 28,161 patients that provided data on deaths from all causes showed that statins reduced the risk of dying from 9 to 8 deaths for every 1000 people treated with statins each year. Statins reduced fatal and non-fatal events, including heart attack, stroke and revascularization surgery, as well as blood cholesterol levels. However, the researchers say that the conclusions of their review are limited by unclear, selective and potentially biased reporting and that careful consideration should be given to patients' individual risk profiles before prescribing statins.
Statin RX may be overprescribed in healthy people without evidence of diseased arteries
Rolling back suggestions from previous studies, a Johns Hopkins study of 950 healthy men and women has shown that taking daily doses of a cholesterol-lowering statin medication to protect coronary arteries and ward off heart attack or stroke may not be needed for everyone.
Statin Effects in Women Versus Men
Conclusions: Statin therapy is associated with significant decreases in cardiovascular events and in all-cause mortality in women and men. Statin therapy should be used in appropriate patients without regard to sex.
Coronary Heart Disease
Lowering Cholesterol Reduces Stroke, Heart Attack Risk
People whose cholesterol improved after one month on cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins reduced their risk of stroke and heart attack. For each 10-percent decrease in LDL, or low-density lipoprotein “bad” cholesterol, the risk of stroke was reduced by four percent and the risk of heart attack was reduced by seven percent. The average decrease in LDL cholesterol after one month on atorvastatin was 53 percent.
More Intensive Statin Treatment Reduces Heart Risk Further
Beginning Statin Use Earlier = three-fold greater reduction in the risk of CHD
Coronary atherosclerosis – a hardening of the arteries due to a build-up of fat and cholesterol – can lead to heart attacks and other forms of coronary heart disease (CHD). Lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad" cholesterol, reduces the risk of CHD, and researchers found that lowering LDL beginning early in life resulted in a three-fold greater reduction in the risk of CHD than treatment with a statin started later in life, according to research presented today at the American College of Cardiology's 61st Annual Scientific Session.
Statins Helpful, BUT Take Time To Work
Over the long term, treatment with cholesterol-lowering statins reduces the rate of mortality and cardiovascular events such as heart attack, for people with and without heart disease. Still, it is unclear whether these drugs take effect rapidly when the risk of these dire events is highest. A systematic review of randomized controlled trials found that death, stroke and heart attack did not decline significantly in the first few months after starting the drugs, but indicated that statins might reduce the likelihood of severe chest pain during this period and are quite safe in any case. Adverse effects were “very rare” in both statin and control groups, Briel said. Signs of muscle damage—the most severe risk of statin therapy—were limited to patients in a single study who received a particular statin, simvastatin, at a dosage known to carry a relatively high risk of this side effect.
Statins reduce CV events in CAD patients with very low LDL-C
Statins accelerate depletion of plaque in arteries
Statins: Reduced Risk of Recurrent Cardiovascular Events in Men, Women
Most At-Risk Patients Don’t Adhere To Statin Treatment, Despite Real Benefits
A new study from North Carolina State University shows that the vast majority of patients at high risk for heart disease or stroke do a poor job of taking statins as prescribed. That’s especially unfortunate, because the same study shows that taking statins can significantly increase the quality and length of those patients’ lives.
“We found that only 48 percent of patients who have been prescribed statins are taking their prescribed dose on a regular basis after one year – and that number dips to approximately 27 percent after 10 years,” says Jennifer Mason, a Ph.D. student at NC State and lead author of a paper describing the study. Statins are a component of many current cardiovascular medical treatment guidelines. They lower cholesterol levels and may significantly reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, particularly in patients that are considered to be at high risk.
The researchers also found that, for high-risk patients, high adherence to a prescribed statin regimen may increase quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) by as much as 1.5 years compared to low adherence – and up to two years compared to not taking statins at all. Low adherence means a patient is taking the statins irregularly or at less than the prescribed dosage. QALYs are established metrics for measuring the effect of health conditions, such as heart disease and stroke, on quality of life.
Prolonged statin use may lower risk of lung cancer death
Lung cancer patients who used statins in the year prior to a lung cancer diagnosis or after a lung cancer diagnosis had a reduction in the risk of death from the disease.
Journal in Which the Study was Published: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research
Recently there has been much interest in the potential for exploring new therapeutic uses for existing drugs, in part, because existing medications are relatively inexpensive and have known side effect profiles, according to Cardwell. This study investigated whether lung cancer patients who received statins had improved cancer outcomes.
How the Study Was Conducted: Cardwell and colleagues used data from nearly 14,000 patients newly diagnosed with lung cancer between 1998 and 2009 from English cancer registry data. They gathered the patients' prescription records from the U.K. Clinical Practice Research Datalink and mortality data up to 2012 from the Office of National Statistics.
Results: Among patients who survived at least six months after a diagnosis, those who used statins after a lung cancer diagnosis had a statistically nonsignificant 11 percent reduction in lung cancer-specific deaths. Among those who used at least 12 prescriptions of statins there was a statistically significant 19 percent reduction in lung cancer-specific deaths, and among those who used lipophilic statins such as simvastatin there was a 19 percent reduction in lung cancer-specific deaths as well.
Among all patients in the study, those who used statins in the year before a lung cancer diagnosis had a statistically significant 12 percent reduction in lung cancer-specific deaths.
Cardwell noted that the outcomes were not different between non-small cell lung cancer patients and small cell lung cancer patients in this study.
In an interview, Cardwell said, "Our study provides some evidence that lung cancer patients who used statins had a reduction in the risk of death from lung cancer. The magnitude of the association was relatively small and, as with all observational studies, there is the possibility of confounding--meaning that simvastatin [a type of statin] users may have differed from simvastatin nonusers in other ways that could have protected them from death from cancer, for which we could not correct. However, this finding is worthy of further investigation in observational studies. If replicated in further observational studies, this would provide evidence in favor of conducting a randomized, controlled trial of simvastatin in lung cancer patients. We hope to conduct a similar analysis in a large cohort of lung cancer patients from Northern Ireland."
Statins Tied To Reduced Cancer Deaths
Statins may protect against esophageal cancer
A new study from Denmark found that people who regularly used statins to lower cholesterol and then received a cancer diagnosis were 15% less likely to die from cancer or any other cause than cancer patients who had never used statins.
Men who take statins are less likely to die from prostate cancer
Statin and Aspirin Use Linked to Improved Survival in Women with Endometrial Cancer
Statins = improved survival in inflammatory breast cancer
Statin use associated with statistically significant reduction in colorectal cancer
Statins associated with lower cancer recurrence following prostatectomy
Low Cholesterol=Lower Prostate Cancer Risk
Statins Can Help Prevent Skin Cancer
Two large cardiovascular clinical trials have demonstrated a significant reduction in skin cancer among patients taking lipid-lowering drugs. Although clinical data do not consistently show a decreased risk of skin cancer with statin use, various human trials and preclinical studies suggest that statins may have chemopreventive activity against skin cancer.
Other Specific Benefits:
Many Statin Benefits
Fitness + Statins Lowers Mortality Risk
Benefits of statin therapy include eliminating blood clots as well as lowering lipids
Pneumonia Death Rate Lower Among People Who Take Statins
Reduced glaucoma risk in patients who take statins
Statin significantly reduces lung damage in severe abdominal sepsis
Statin therapy associated with lower risk of pancreatitis
Statin use appears associated with modest reduction in Parkinson's disease risk
Statins = reduced mortality in flu patients
Statins May Boost Your Gums' Health, Too
Statins may prevent pneumonia
Statins may slow human aging
Statins may slow prostate growth
Statins reduce deaths from infection and respiratory illness
Those taking statins when admitted to the hospital with serious head injuries were 76 percent more likely to survive
Chronic Statin Therapy Associated With Reduced Postoperative Mortality
Cholesterol-lowering statins boost bacteria-killing cells
Regular statin use is associated with a reduced risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis
Statins decrease risk of clot-related diseases
Statins may slow progression of multiple sclerosis
Statins fight gallstones
More Evidence Statins Fight Parkinson's
Statin drugs may have a protective effect in the prevention of liver cancer and lead to a reduction in the need for gallbladder removals
Statins can protect against Alzheimer's disease
Statins reduce loss of lung function, keeping old lungs young - even in smokers
Statin Use Benefits Multiple Areas of Urologic Health