Statin Drugs – One of the Greatest Failures of Modern MedicineDr. David Brownstein, MD February 1, 2016
I am frequently hammered by my conventional colleagues because they claim that I do not follow evidence-based medicine. Of course, I disagree with that statement as I am always reading the medical literature and I am happy to point out the evidence that supports my use of holistic medicine. My books and other articles have numerous citations supporting the medicine that I practice.
However, I take issue when conventional doctors claim that evidence-based medicine supports the use of statin drugs in treating/preventing heart disease. In fact, evidence-based medicine, when studied objectively, would reveal that statin drugs should not be prescribed for either treating or preventing heart disease.
Let’s look at statin guidelines. The new guidelines recommend that nearly half of Americans over the age of 40 – more than 50 million people – may qualify for taking a statin drug in order to lower their heart attack risk. Yet I have written in my blog posts, newsletter, and in my book, The Statin Disaster, that statin drugs fail nearly 99% of those who take them – they neither prevent heart attacks nor have they been shown to help people live longer.
On October 6, 2015, an article in the New York Times was headlined, ‘Heart Scan Can Fine-Tune Risk Estimate for Patients Considering Statins’. The article stated that a new study on CT scans of the coronary arteries, which can identify calcium deposits in the arteries, can help guide health care providers about whether or not to prescribe a statin drug. If there is not much calcium in the coronary arteries, the authors found a reduced risk of heart attacks. A cardiologist profiled in the article states that he uses the coronary CT scans because: “All the other biomarkers get blown away compared to the calcium score [of the coronary arteries].”
Statin Drugs and Artery Calcification
So, is there evidence that increased calcium in coronary arteries is associated with an increased risk of heart disease? The answer is yes. Where is the evidence that statins help lower coronary calcium levels? There isn’t any. In fact, the opposite is true: research has shown that statin use actually increases the deposition of calcium in coronary arteries. Yes, you read that right. In fact, researchers reported, “…coronary artery calcium progression was fastest among participants using statins…” This wasn’t the only study to report that fact. Other researchers have concluded: “Independent of their plaque-regressive effects, statins promote coronary atheroma calcification.”
I would venture a guess that you just read that last paragraph again.
To be fair, the authors of the second study claim that statins may stabilize coronary plaques. However, that has never been proven and, even if that is true, it is hard to make a positive argument for using statins at all when they fail nearly 99% of those who take them. And, I am not even discussing the horrendous side effects, nor the tremendous cost of statin drugs.
Folks, evidence-based medicine should be used and embraced; it is too bad that conventional medicine fails to use it when it comes to statins (as well as many other drug therapies). The evidence behind the statin studies should expose statins as one of the greatest failures in modern medicine.
More information about statins can be found in my book, The Statin Disaster, available at http://tinyurl.com/jsew9gv
(Editor’s Note: This article is reprinted with permission from a blog by Dr. Brownstein, a holistic family physician. We thought you might also find interesting some of the comments that were posted at the end of Dr. Brownstein’s blog by his readers):
1) “Thanks for continuing to bring truth to this topic. I have many friends who won’t even read your blog because their doctor said they needed statins to prevent heart attacks. It is fear that is being used to promote this drug, not reason.” – S. Denny
2) “I had used Google to check out statins at least 10 years ago. I also read what Duane Graveline, MD, had to say about the side effects that he, personally, had experienced on Lipitor, along with other downsides that he discovered.” – Mary
3) “Mary: I also agree whole-heartedly (sorry for the pun) with Dr. Brownstein and Dr. Graveline! Unfortunately, I didn’t learn about Transient Global Amnesia (TGA) until I experienced a terrifying episode myself and learned about Dr. Graveline’s experiences with multiple TGAs. Needless to say, I never took another Lipitor pill after my hospitalization to rule out suspected stroke. I had two CAT scans and an MRI of my brain which showed that nothing was wrong, except probably too low cholesterol, which is needed for proper memory function. When I followed up with my cardiologist, he pooh-poohed my concerns about statin involvement! I could not convince him otherwise, and he is still probably pushing statins.
PS – I was also taking high quality Co-Q10, and still am for muscle weakness support. The irony is that I am a Registered Nurse and I believed that my doctors knew what they were doing!” – Karen
4) “Dear Dr. Brownstein, thank you for your extraordinary work! Dr. Matthias Rath comes to mind immediately upon hearing of the dangers of statins. Dr. Rath worked closely with Dr. Linus Pauling, studying vitamin C and arriving at the conclusion that heart disease is related to scurvy. Lipoprotein(a) has been implicated in heart attacks, not high cholesterol as we have been led to believe. Dr. Rath has done lots of informative YouTube videos trying to educate the world as well. We owe you doctors many thanks!” – Eileen
(David Brownstein says: “Eileen, Drs. Rath and Pauling are true pioneers.”)
5) “Statins cause muscle weakness as a side effect. The heart is a big muscle. How can the heart benefit from being weakened? My husband was on Lipitor a few years ago and we had huge fights over it. Finally, he acknowledged that he felt as weak as a kitten. He told his doctor that he would not take the drug anymore.
Recently, he had a Transient Ischemic Attack (mini-stroke) and the young doctor thought the immediate and only solution was Lipitor. When my husband said he would not take it, the doctor suggested Cresta as an alternative. She recited the many benefits of statins, including gluing plaque to artery walls. After my husband had finished all possible tests, the results showed that he had very little plaque and nothing else wrong.
We came to our own diagnosis that he’d had an overdose of caffeine.” – Marg
(David Brownstein says: “Marg, you said, “Statins cause muscle weakness as a side effect. The heart is a big muscle. How can the heart benefit from being weakened?” You need to go and lecture to the statinophiles out there.”)
6) “At least 15+ years ago, my brother and sister were both independently put on statins. Around that same time I found the Weston A. Price website and the book Nourishing Traditions through a Yahoo group that I belonged to. I learned that statin drugs are dangerous. I told both my siblings about it. My sister read the information I provided and got off the drugs soon. My brother, though, thought his doctor knew what was best for him.
My brother was an avid bike rider and he kept in shape riding to work (over 10 miles each way), close to 200 days / year. But about 2.5 years ago he had to have a couple of stints inserted for blocked arteries. A couple of months later, he needed open heart surgery to repair one of his tri-valves. The doctor later admitted that the statin drug might have damaged the valve. Shortly after the heart surgery, my brother had weakness in his legs and eventually found out that he had contracted Guillian Barre Syndrome triggered by the heart surgery. It turns out that he has the worse recurring CIDP version. While not directly caused by the statin, those other things shouldn’t have happened, so neither should the CIDP have happened. He now admits that doctors don’t know everything. He went from being a healthy bike rider to riding a wheelchair in less than 6 months, and he may never get out of it.” – Carol
7) “Dr. Brownstein, I have a question. I understand that statins work through synthetic pathways which cause more harm than good, hence why they fail 99% of those who take them. But what’s your opinion on taking vitamin B complex + vitamin C + niacin (1000/or 500 mg), 3X per day to lower cholesterol? I find it’s incredibly effective at normalizing cholesterol levels, without the side effects of, say Lipitor, etc. Do you think that this is a safer alternative to normalizing cholesterol levels? – Benjamin
(David Brownstein says: “Benjamin, when you take the supplements that you list, there are a whole host of positive effects that go with it. The lower cholesterol number may be secondary to a lowered level of inflammation caused by taking the supplements. The safest way to optimize cholesterol levels is to eat healthy and maintain hydration.”)
8) “Dr. Brownstein: I was recently in the hospital due to arrhythmia and dizziness and am on Propafenone 150, 3 times per day. Testing showed quite low potassium and I also had a CT brain scan and a heart echo, both of which came back normal. My cardiologist tried to talk me into taking Coumadin or Zarelto. I refused them both after looking up the side effects. I don’t remember you writing anywhere about these blood thinning drugs. If statins are bad for you (I don’t take them because of your information), I have to wonder about blood thinning drugs too, as I was told that they prevent strokes.
What is your opinion on blood thinners, and is there a natural alternative? I am not aware of reading anything from you on this. I just don’t trust most doctors anymore for the truth on pharmaceuticals. Also, about a year ago I asked my doctor to test my iodine level. He refused, stating he has never done that and the local hospital doesn’t even run that test. Of course, when I checked, I found out that isn’t true; they do run the test.” – Ruth Ann
(David Brownstein says: “Ruth, blood thinning drugs are sometimes needed as they can prevent strokes. There are also natural blood thinners such as nattokinase. I would suggest working with a knowledgeable health care provider.”)
9) “What do you recommend to help someone who quit statins but is still suffering the damage caused by them? Specifically muscle and joint pain – she is taking extra magnesium and CoQ10. I am sure there are a lot of people who need this information!” – D. Roemisch
(David Brownstein says: “Debrah, yes, I see these people. A complete hormonal, nutritional, and toxicity evaluation should be done. Then, correcting nutritional and hormonal imbalances and detoxification may help.”)
 J Am. Heart Assoc. 2015; 4:e001726
 J Am. College of Cardiol. 2015; 65:1273-82
David Brownstein, MD is a family physician and medical director of the Center for Holistic Medicine (West Bloomfield, Michigan) and has lectured internationally to physicians and clinicians about his success in using natural hormones and nutritional therapies in his practice. He has authored eleven books: including Overcoming Arthritis, Overcoming Thyroid Disorders, The Miracle of Natural Hormones, The Guide to a Gluten-Free Diet, and The Soy Deception. To learn more about his books, articles, and blogs, visit: www.drbrownstein.com