Statins – Number Needed to Harm

Just this past week there were two studies reporting that statin drugs were not effective in reducing death in people that are at risk for cardiovascular disease.  How could this be when that is all we see in commercials on tv about the advantages of lower cholesterol.  Does lower cholesterol really prevent strokes and heart disease?

Here is a study where data from eleven studies on statin drugs were pooled and it was found that there were 1447 deaths in the group taking a placebo and 1346 deaths in the group that were taken statins.  The writer concludes that there is no statistical significance in the difference.

Business Week June 28, 2010 – Statins May Not be as Helpful to Those Without Heart Disease

In another article as reported by Mike Adams, The Health Ranger; there were more people harmed than helped when taking statins.  Out of every 10,000 people tested there were 271 fewer people with heart disease.  However, out of every 10,000 people tested there were 443 harmed.  Attributed to the statin use were cases of cataracts, muscle weakness, liver damage, and kidney failure.

Also here is Dr. Mercola’s take on statins:  New Bombshell of Diastrous Statin Side Effects from Statins.

Number needed to treat and number needed to harm are the most important thing that you should know about a drug before deciding to take it.  Ideally, the number needed to treat should be one.  That is it benefits everyone that takes the drug.  Also you would expect the number needed to harm should be zero.  These are ideals and no drug will live up to this.  Antibiotics most likely have the best outcomes in number needed to treat.  However, they can be very damaging to the body and the number needed to harm may be large.  The FDA has required that medical providers most make this information available to you on request.  If you ask your doctor about this, he may not have the information at hand, but he can look it up for you.  Also a great source for this information is your pharmacist.

I have written previously on heart disease and cholesterol and it may be worth your time to read this post again.  Thinking about Cholesterol

It may just be that statins are a poor substitute for vitamin D.  It has been found that people with statins have on average a higher serum level of vitamin D.  Most people that I know have found that when they take vitamin D their cholesterol levels go done.  This makes a lot of sense.  Vitamin D is made by exposing cholesterol on your skin to UVB and it converts to pre vitamin D.  Once your body becomes replete with vitamin D; your liver and skin will stop producing so much cholesterol.

Try getting your serum level to that of a sunny country with vitamin D (25(OH)D between 54 ng/ml to 90 ng/ml) and see what happens to your cholesterol levels.  – Pandemic Survivor

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