16 September 2013
Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs are doing more harm than good, and should be abandoned as the primary therapy for heart disease prevention, a major review has concluded.
Instead, coenzyme Q10 antioxidants are more effective and with fewer—or no—side effects, say researchers at University College Hospital in Galway.
Statins dramatically increase the risk of diabetes and cataracts in younger patients, and cancer and neuro-degenerative diseases in the elderly. And the benefits don’t outweigh the risks, say the researchers. Even for patients with advanced heart disease, the drugs may extend life by a further nine months at best if the drug is taken for 30 years.
Analysing previous studies on statins, the researchers discovered that some had never been published because the results were so alarming, while others had obscured the real risks. One study, the Illuminate trial, was shelved after researchers discovered the statin drug increased the risk of cancer and sudden death. But it’s unlikely the researchers will be heard: the statin market is worth £20bn a year and rising.
(Source: Journal of Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases, 2013; 3: doi: 10.4236 / ojemd.2013.33025).