How’s your thinking?
If it’s clear, not cloudy, then answering the following question shouldn’t be hard.
Recently, an FDA Consumer Update asked… “What should patients do if they fear that statin use could be clouding their thinking?”
The answer is so obvious, it seems like it must be a trick question. But no. It’s actually a setup for a trick ANSWER.
Here’s the proper response, according to an FDA safety official…
“Don’t stop taking the medication; the consequences to your heart could be far greater.”
Now THAT is some cloudy thinking. Especially when you consider just how thoroughly statins can impair cognition.
This is your brain on statins…
Cloudy thinking? FDA officials know we’re talking about more than just a few passing clouds.
How about “total global amnesia?”
Seven years ago, I told you about Duane Graveline, M.D. He’s a former NASA astronaut. Soon after starting Lipitor, Dr. Graveline experienced two bouts of total global amnesia (TGA). That’s when all memory vanishes for several minutes to several hours.
Dr. Graveline launched his own investigation of statin-related TGA. He found hundreds of people who shared their experiences of memory loss while using statins.
He also discovered the mechanism behind this process. Dr. Graveline explains that certain brain cells produce their own cholesterol. Neurons need this cholesterol to function properly. When something impairs cholesterol production, it can compromise thought processes.
The result… Cloudy thinking, TGA, and just about everything in between. Including depression.
More than a decade later, the FDA has finally caught up. The Consumer Update notes that memory loss, forgetfulness, and confusion “span all statin products and all age groups.”
Of course, the update refers to these cases as “rare.”
Riiiight. If they were truly rare, the FDA wouldn’t be addressing the issue at all.
A few years ago, The Wall St. Journal ran an article about memory loss linked with statin use. Many readers posted comments about cognition problems and TGA. One reader suffered a crippling depression while taking statins. But her symptoms disappeared when she quit.
From that point, it was an easy decision. She said that risk of a heart attack “would be preferable to life on statins.”
Given that statin benefits are wildly exaggerated, that’s what I call sharp thinking.
“Popular Cholesterol Drugs Get New Warnings About Memory, Blood Sugar” Scott Hensley, NPR, 2/28/12, npr.org
“FDA Expands Advice on Statin Risks” FDA Consumer Update, fda.gov
“Do Statins Dull the Minds of Some Patients?” Jacob Goldstein, Wall St. Journal, 2/12/08, blogs.wsj.com