The Destruction Statins Leave After Them

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January 19, 2015 | 16 Comments


  1. As an Irish man over 50 with a cholesterol of 262 US – 6.8 everywhere else – i can imagine a primary care or other doc slavering with anticipation hoping to get me on a statin. I know a lot of insiders who even if they had a heart attack or stroke wouldn’t take one.


    • I’d keep that number to yourself while traveling in the States, doctor. It’s only your lack of an insurance card that’ll keep you safe from emergency intervention! Mine is only about 212, and I’ve nearly been mugged a couple of times.

      Someone on Twitter this morning said OK, there’s more people harmed than helped, but the things statins prevent are so fateful (strokes, heart attacks) and the harms are not that serious! Well that surely wasn’t true of Hazel’s dad … but even for the majority of patients who may get “mere” fatigue and muscle aches, there’s a bitter irony in the argument. Most honest authorities would agree that regular exercise, even a ten-minute walk per day, has more preventive power than a statin. So what are we to make of a “cardio-protective” medicine that makes this modest level of exercise more and more difficult to get, for the older folks who need it the most?

    • My Cholesterol was checked 5 years ago and then it was 7. I’m proud to say that I have always kept mine on the high side. My doctor at that time told me that if I take statins and I was lucky to live 30 years then the statins would add a few more days. I asked him if he would take them and he said never and would not let his family or friends take them.

    • Doc, I am glad you at least are aware of this and are brave enough to acknowledge this! My fathers best friend from childhood, died as a result of Statin induced ALS, at 69 years old, having been on lipitor for less than a year. I myself became disabled at 34 due to the unpublished mitochondrial effects of these poisons. Brain Biopsy with electron microscopy revealed neuronal apoptosis, mitochondrial changes most similar to that of Mitochondrial Encephalomyopathy with Lactic Acidosis and Stroke-Like Episodes (MELAS) I was hospitalized it UW Madison for 28 days, with symptoms consistent with a 90 year old with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. It wasnt until I was evaluated by a visiting professor from Harvard who suggested a mitochondrial cocktail including a robust dose of CoQ10..when shortly after I was no longer incontinent of bowel and bladder, I could feed myself, ambulate with assistance, and could now speak coherently and answer simple questions. Several days later, the nursing home placement was cancelled and I went home with aggressive rehab, and diagnosed with “Viral Encephalitis”…a few weeks after discharge, my wife and I saw an interview with Dr Beatrice Golomb of the UCSD Statin Effects Study, and per my wife’s insistence, I reluctantly enrolled. I had been a critical care RN for the 12 years up to this point, and I was emphatic that Lipitor had nothing to do with this. However, the Statin Effects Study concluded that my Apoptosis and Mitochondrial Mutations we the likely result of my Lipitor use. I have been disabled more than 12 years now, Cognitive problems, Continued Muscle pain, Myoclonus, Profound fatigue, etc…

  2. Doctors seem to be pro active, rather than re active…

    I, too, was offered a statin and, of course, could have dealt the doctor a body blow when this new surgery had not read my previous drug history….

    My level was 5.1. Is this a bad result, for a petite person?

    I suggested I might try and bring this measure down myself with a few changes to my diet. This was another Indian doctor who wore very expensive suits, had a six bedroom mansion, a Porsche, a 4 x4 and an attitude problem….beautiful azure blue turban. He told me it was impossible to change Cholesterol readings with any lifestyle changes…

    I ‘had’ a next door neighbour, until a couple of weeks ago. For over a year he was complaining he couldn’t breathe, had pains in his arms and legs and functioning was becoming impossible. This lovely man who was kind, generous and a gentleman discussed his pills with me. One day last summer he got up, went into his caravan and brought out a bag full of packets and little bottles. I said, my god, John, what is all this stuff….he said he didn’t know…he was told to take all this for…one of the pills was Lipitor…he died a sad and lonely death in his apartment, in, of all places, a district in Glasgow called Anniesland….

    Attracting people with pill problems seems power for the course when your radar is up….a previous next door neighbour in Kent, who I stay with when visiting my mum in her nursing home..was chatting over the fence years ago…as you do…about her husband who was deranged and psychotic…he had tried to commit suicide 26 times.

    My radar was up…I told her about Seroxat in a little detail. She asked me if I would try and talk to him…I went round and this man was sitting in a white dressing gown in his sitting room, sweating, panic stricken, huddled over his laptop…he was searching…..

    His original problem was a back operation…if you saw the photograph my friend had taken of her kitchen table piled high with more packets and bottles than you have seen in your life, you would not believe it. He ended up in and out of hospitals, acutely akathisiatic on morphine, anti-depressants, benzodiazepines and god knows what else.

    He eventually succeeded in killing himself….it was in the local friend still has the pain etched all over her face. She couldn’t save him and neither could I.

    She told me how embarrassing it was when she tried to take him out for tea. He would be waving his arms and legs about and he was a big man, and she was petite.

    I don’t know how she got through all that…

  3. This past Sunday (February 15, 2015) the Sunday Express in the UK published a headline story stating that Oxford professor Dr Rory Collins, whose research had been used to support putting millions of patients on statin drugs, was reassessing the data behind those studies for possible drug side effects they might have missed previously. Dr Collins is head of the Cholesterol Treatment Trialists’ Collaboration. The CTT was set up purely to get hold of and review all the data on statins; it has no other function. Amazingly, Dr Collins who has run the CTT for nearly 20 years claims he has not seen the full data on side effects. In an e-mail to the Sunday Express he stated that “his team had assessed the effects of statins on heart disease and cancer but not other side effects.”

    I also recommend Australian Maryanne Demasi’s documentary on the statin wars in her country. Hard to access videos online because on the outcry from pharma, but you can find them.

  4. My brother got put on statins, about age 38 that seemed the only thing that changed in his life, a few years later he had become an alcoholic, a couple of years after that he was dead. The only tablets he took were those damn statins.

  5. I know that statis cause nerve pain in back hands and feei. I have superficial varicose veins and had a lot of therapy on plantar area problem on foot. Have had test no blockages. Very active. YMCA walk clean cook bake. Also have tinnitus . Well long story short. I keep busy. My first statin was about 3years ago. Dizzy, weak. Couldn’t think right. Went off statin. Only on it for 3 weeks and went off. Had blood done. . Everything o. K. Was told all my other problems. We’re to blame. Not so! I refused to just sit so I worked out and it took a few months and o.k. Weird. 2nd time they said try a very low dose 5mg. Scared and really tried to diet healthy. Again after about a week just so tired. And thought to myself, Don’t a Panic! Your just old and if statins help you live then sleep. That wasn’t,t the end. So cold hands and feet. It was this past fall. Bought pricey good lined shoes and gloves made for the Alp. Climbers. Thought I would get a head start on our winter, Well finally when chills through body. I just stopped statin. Again blood work o.k. Forgot to mention. Dizzy and off balance. Blood work o.k. ,, so it’s not the statin. It’s all my other problems they say. Well after about 2 weeks started feeling like my old self. Of course I am I presume they. Doctors think I.,m an old nutcase. Not so ! After a few weeks it was our n.e. Winter. And the Alpine boots made my feet sweat. Gloves were ugh! Back to my semi warm boots and gloves. I know what did this annd know my body. Of course with blood work o. K. Told you have to try to take another one. Well I researched. And found one that is processed differently and insurance wouldn’t pay so I got the papers from the pharmaceutical company and figured maybe this one that’s processed different. Went for my spring checkup and told the doctor I wanted to try this particular statin. And Have the papers from the company. He told me he had samples he can give me. I felt this my do it. Willing to try. Well I was on this one for a matter of 5. Days and got up after day 3. So sick. Dizzy. Thought it was the statin. Again. And thought to myself. You have to try. Maybe I thought the weather change. By day five. Numb arms and fingers. And back to cold numb feet. I don’t see the sense because of such a short time on the statin but over Easter dinner my daughter told me to call and go for blood work, I am going to the YMCA and walking. Getting. A little better everyday. Feet are still a little tingly. But a lot better. Knowing when I call the doctor will tell me it’s all upstairs. It,s not believe me. Can the 2mg statin I took for 5 days. do this? After these 13 days. I am improving. And I believe it due to not paying attention to the doctors on my own. I believe that if I took this for a month I would have died. Today April 6th I am just starting to feel like myself. Doctors will blame all my other problems. and tell me it’s not the statin. I forgot to mention I have a thyroid problem. GP and endo look at me like I am crazy. I am now writing this post at almost 11 p.m. I do have problems and lead a full life and active with them. Taking a statin is like suicide. Believe me. I walked 3 miles today and of course tired when done but a nice tired. Sat with my glass go lemon water and proud that I didn’t take that suicide pill they fancy by calling a statin. Aging people all have some problems but statins on tp throw them in nursing homes and rockers. Maybe insurance companies. And I think it’s called. FDAshould do something because these pills are making semi healthy people be put in nursing homes by blaming all their other problems and costing the government and insurance companies a lot of money. whatever problem they have they are going to say it’s not the statin causing. It. Only prolonged use I imagine will show on blood work. By that time you are practically dead.


    I could have put this link in any one of 20 places – it concerns misuse of data as much as anything else. I read Dr Kendrick’s blog as he has fought a very similar battle around the statins – and Rory Collins and Pfizer. This latest post cogently and powerfully lays out exactly the same problems as all of us fighting the good fight around psychiatric meds. No access to the data. Arrogance and loads of dosh. Same old, same old.

  7. I am sorry for your loss. My idiot family allowed the doctor to put my 82 year old mom on statins and she is now well on the way to being mindless and bedridden.
    In the future I see factions and movements against Big Pharma and Govt. because of all the deaths caused by doctors pushing their pharmaceuticals. Relatives takes law into their own hands with retribution kills of doctors who they saw as responsible. Big Pharma have gotten much powerful than they are now to the point that many governments are controlled by them. Blind faith in doctors are no more and pharma labs are bombed. New drugs will be marketed that causes even more dastardly harm against citizens designed to make them controllable and pliable, especially those citizens viewed as a threat vs. Big Pharma as bombing of their labs and offices becomes prevalent. It starts in UK and USA soon follows.

  8. I am a 60 year old female. Admittedly, I am overweight. I have a family history of arteriosclerosis; I have taken medication for hbp for 15 years. Two months ago I was instructed to begin taking generic Crestor. Initially, the side effects were limited to mild headache. Three weeks ago, I began having muscle pain (periformis and calf), flatulence, fecal incontence, worsening heartburn, fatigue, andchest pain. When it got to the point I couldnt walk without pain and was worried I’d have a “bathroom” accident in public, I decided to stop taking the statin. Within 18 hours, I felt much better. Symptoms are improving, but not reversed. I’ll go back to my PCP to discuss. Is it possible, another statin could be tolerated?

    • Your PCP would likely say yes
      But the real question is should you really be taking a statin?
      Unless you have had a cardio-vascular accident and smoke, the answer is probably not


  9. Husband and I were put on 20 mg Simvastatin 11 years ago, just because our cholesterol was high. We were both in our early 50s and in good health otherwise.
    After a year or two we started experiencing peripheral neuropathy but didn’t know the technical term. He suddenly felt like his legs were 100 pounds and had a hard time walking. I felt such pins and needles in my feet that I could only walk on the outside edges of my feet. We stopped taking the Simvastin after 4-5 years. My husband’s legs went back to normal but he feels nerve twitches he never had before. My feet at night have been unbearably cold from the ankles down for the past 10 years or so. I had my doc X-ray them etc…all she said was that I had strong pulses and couldn’t find anything wrong. I have to wear HeatHolder socks and wrap my feet in a hot electric blanket (or microwaved corn bag) and it still takes an hour or two to fall asleep because they are frozen solid. Yup, researched that and finally discovered the myelin sheath must’ve been destroyed. Doctors all Pooh-Pooh my insights. Agreed to go to cardiologist who put us on a different med called Zetia. We’ve now decided we will discontinue that. Joined FaceBook group called Stopped Our Statins and have learned a lot from others about why cholesterol isn’t the problem. Also read Dr. Stephen Sinatra’s book.

  10. RxISK Retweeted
    Nick Norwitz
    Dec 21, 2020

    …tales of broken marriages, destroyed careers… In almost every case, the symptoms began when they started taking statins, then promptly returned to normal when they stopped [the statin]…

    Backtracking a few years – thebmj editor set up a so called independant investigation to decide whether the article they published on Statins should be retracted.

    Statins: BMJ investigates claims over side effects

    Two articles claiming cholesterol-reducing statins may be unsafe are to be investigated and could be retracted by the British Medical Journal.
    The authors have withdrawn figures suggesting up to 20% of users would suffer harmful side effects such as liver disease and kidney problems.

    British Medical Journal (BMJ) editor-in-chief Dr Fiona Godlee said it was publicising the withdrawal of the side-effects figures “so that patients who could benefit from statins are not wrongly deterred from starting or continuing treatment because of exaggerated concerns over side effects”.

    In the Lancet
    CORRESPONDENCE| VOLUME 388, ISSUE 10057, P2237-2238, NOVEMBER 05, 2016
    Lessons from the controversy over statins – Authors’ reply
    Jane ArmitageIntended for healthcare professionals
    Independent statins review panel report
    The independent panel of internationally renowned experts asked by The BMJ to review its handling of two articles that contained the same error has reported its findings, and were unanimous in their decision that the two papers do not meet any of the criteria for retraction, endorsing The BMJ approach.
    After a two-month review, the panel has advised The BMJ that its handling of the two articles was appropriate and that its proceses were timely and reasonable.
    They have made some recommendations to strengthen our processes, and we will address those. They have also called for the the individual patient data to be made available for independent scrutiny. Patients and their doctors need access to all relevant information to make informed decisions about their health.

    BMJ critical event audit: outcomes
    The independent Statins Review that was convened to consider issues around the publication of two articles, by Abramson et al. and Malhotra, recommended that “The BMJ editorial staff should implement a significant event audit in relation to the need for the correction. The aim of the audit would be to try and identify what would need to have been in place to ensure that the correction was made in a more timely fashion.” The editors undertook an end-to-end critical event audit of the handling of the two papers and their associated corrections. This document describes this e BMJ’s audit and its recommendations.

    This audit was completed by current and former senior editorial staff of the journal, with oversight of the Editor-in-Chief, Fiona Godlee. The following staff contributed:

    Intended for healthcare professionals
    Independent statins review panel terms of reference
    Independent panel established to review articles published in The BMJ by

    1. Background

    In October 2013 The BMJ published an article by John Abramson and colleagues that questioned the evidence behind new proposals to extend the routine use of statins to people at low risk of cardiovascular disease. [1] Abramson et al set out to reanalyse data from the Cholesterol Treatment Trialists Collaboration. Their contention was that the benefits of statins in low risk people were less than has been claimed and the risks greater.

    In their conclusion and in a summary box, they said that side effects of statins occur in 18-20% of people. This figure was repeated in another article published in the same week in The BMJ by Aseem Malhotra. [2] The BMJ and the authors of both articles have now been made aware that this is incorrect, and corrections have been published withdrawing these statements.

    The corrections explain that, although the 18-20% figure was based on statements in the referenced observational study by Zhang et al –which said that “the rate of reported statin-related events to statins was nearly 18%,” [3] the BMJ articles did not reflect necessary caveats and did not take sufficient account of the uncontrolled nature of Zhang et al’s data.

    The BMJ was alerted to the error by Rory Collins, professor of medicine and epidemiology in Oxford and head of the CTT collaboration whose data are reanalysed by Abramson et al. Professor Collins has called for the retraction of both articles.

    As explained in an editorial, [4] The BMJ’s editor in chief Fiona Godlee has decided to pass the decision on whether to retract one or both of the articles to an independent panel, whose membership and terms of reference are given below.

    Chair: Iona Heath (as the ex President RCGP 2009-2012 . Iona retired in 2010 becoming oddly enough the first and only president of the college held by a non practicing GP)
    Iona Heath, former chair, Royal College of General Practitioners; former chair, The BMJ’s ethics committee.

    The Report
    Report of the independent panel considering the retraction of two BMJ papers

    Supporting documentation
    SP28 Declarations of interests of panel members

    In Lancet
    Virginia Barbour states in her letter that, with respect to the submission to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) in October, 2014, by a group of senior doctors and scientists, she had “recused myself because of a potential conflict of interest”. However, that is not strictly accurate; Barbour only recused herself in September, 2015, 8 months after she had adjudicated on the submission in January, 2015.
    In that adjudication, Barbour had not addressed any of the specific concerns that had been raised about failures of editorial integrity at the British Medical Journal (BMJ), and had not reviewed any of the supporting material that was provided as links within the submission, so she was asked in February, 2015, to address these issues specifically.
    Barbour was then also responsible for sharing the submission with the BMJ several months before recusing herself. In June, 2015, a response from the BMJ was addressed in a second substantive submission from the group of senior doctors and scientists, which reiterated their concerns and again asked that COPE address each of them specifically.
    It was only in September, 2015, that Barbour stated that she was recusing herself because she had a potential conflict of interest. The nature of that competing interest was not made clear (and it is not disclosed in her letter), but what is clear is that Barbour did not recuse herself before having determined the outcome of COPE’s review. Indeed, conclusions from Barbour’s report are being used as the basis for asserting that COPE has conducted a properly independent review of the issues raised.1
    After Barbour did recuse herself, it took until April, 2016, before COPE eventually stated that it felt the BMJ had taken steps to correct its mistakes. However, COPE still did not address any of the specific concerns raised about failures of editorial integrity at the BMJ or the adverse effect on public health of the misleading claims that the BMJ had published about side-effect rates with statins.
    COPE was again asked to address these points specifically. However, it refused to do so and also refused to allow the matter to be considered by its Ombudsman, writing in July, 2016, that it regarded “this matter as closed as there is nothing further that we can usefully bring to this debate”. Therefore, it is difficult to understand Barbour’s other assertion that Richard Horton was incorrect in stating that COPE declined to act further.2
    In parallel with Barbour, the Editor of the BMJ has suggested in a Letter3 that Horton’s Offline Comment2 was incorrect because he had not had access to the material submitted to COPE (including by the BMJ) and its responses. However, that is not correct: a detailed description of this sequence of events, along with links to the submissions to COPE and its responses, was made available at the Cholesterol Treatment Trialists’ Collaboration website4 in June, 2016, and other related material was also provided to The Lancet.
    Our Lancet Review5 provides a detailed explanation of the reasons why the available evidence from the randomised controlled trials provides a more reliable basis for assessing the safety and efficacy of statin therapy than does observational evidence from case reports or health-care databases. Its intention is to help ensure that doctors and their patients are properly informed about the safety and efficacy of statin therapy (and not, as stated by the BMJ’s editor,6 to shut down debate).
    As Barbour’s letter demonstrates, Horton’s proposal for a tribunal that could address such matters of public health importance independently of the journals does need to be explored further. However, in the meantime, the failure of the BMJ to deal properly with the seriously misleading claims about the effects of statin therapy that it published, and then the failure of COPE to deal properly with editorial failures at the BMJ, is continuing to have an adverse impact on public health worldwide

    A year later Fiona defends Virginia,,,,,,, and so on
    Remediating “Lessons from the controversy over statins”
    March 2017The Lancet 389(10074):1101-1102
    DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)30720-1
    John Abramson
    Harvard University

  11. I realize that this is an older thread, but I am doing some research and wanted to add a few cases just in my small circle of family and friends.

    1) my father, now deceased, was put on Lipitor shortly after they came to market. I was waiting in pharma and, as yet, had no knowledge of…the reality.

    He suffered a scary incident of Temporary Global Amnesia that lasted several hours. The neurologist at the local hospital knew of TGAs, but not the connection to statins (or didn’t mention the possibility). My dad was told it was just a brain blip, not really understood and not a TIA, and that people only ever have one.

    Approximately 10 years later, he had another. Still not tied to statins.

    He also tore his hamstring muscle while casually walking in the yard. He underwent extensive surgery and months of PT to repair the muscle. He was an avid golfer up to age 90, so he was fairly fit. He suffered bad leg cramps for years.

    He died of chemo induced opportunistic pneumonia at 91 (lymphoma and CLL). He had just survived Legionnaires Disease a year prior.

    He was previously adamant about not being treated for any illnesses, so I’m not sure how the oncologist convinced him about chemo. We just lost my only sibling to lung and bone cancer and he was exposed to secondhand chemo, but I can’t prove anything, of course. My dog also developed hemangiosarcoma after being around her, but, again, it’s speculation.

    2) a friend who was struggling to get off of SSRIs was put on them after she became suicidally depressed and hospitalized. She had no previous psych history, but was recently put on Lipitor. The doctors did tie her suddenly lowered cholesterol to the suicidality.

    3&4) 2 other close friends had TGAs in their 50s. My first question was about statins. Yes for both.

    5) a relative has SEVERE leg cramps. His endocrinologist (diabetes) said it couldn’t be related to statins or any meds. (He is the #1 or 2 endocrinologist on Dollars for Docs, Las Vegas).

    My question.. I know about the Cholesterol Myth and recent study in JAMA. Doctors have people convinced that if it is “genetic”, they need statins. Also, that if the cholesterol is the “fluffy” type, it’s better (or worse?). Is there any truth to that and is there ever justification for statins? What number is dangerous, if any?

    I suffered rhabdomyolysis and dystonias with Zoloft. I’m assuming that my dad also had some degree of it, though I don’t have his medical records. Is there a genetic component to rhabdo? I know that I’m ultrarapid at CYP2D6 and have an MTHFR mutation (a1298c). I realize that Zoloft does not use 2D6.

    Thank you for ALL you do, Dr. Healy.


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