It looks like the media is taking us on another trip to Fantasy Island, where statin drugs cure every problem known to man.
This time we’re being told they can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Well, if WebMD, CNN and all the other outlets who are reporting this actually believe that, I’ve got a great bridge to sell them!
But while this so-called study is total nonsense, some doctors are chiming in with the idea that these new findings are just the icing on the cake. Statins are practically a Swiss Army Knife in a pill, they claim, so why hesitate to take them?
But you don’t have to look too far to find out the real truth about your brain on statins.
And it’s not a pretty picture.
If the companies that make statins had done this study themselves, they couldn’t have done a better job of coming up with a new sales pitch.
A team of three researchers, led by an economics professor from the University of California, sliced, diced, and shuffled statin-use data collected on nearly 400,000 people enrolled in Medicare.
When they were done, their results tricked plenty of news outlets into thinking that statins are some kind of magic Alzheimer’s shield.
As one headline shouted: “Statins FIGHT Dementia.”
But nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, four years ago the FDA required drugmakers to add new warnings to meds such as Lipitor, Crestor and Zocor about side effects that include “memory loss and confusion.”
Well, there’s nothing like a little memory loss and confusion to prove a drug is preventing dementia, right?
But the flaws in this new study should have hit anyone who actually read it smack in the face.
For example, the statin takers were only followed for five years to “examine onset of Alzheimer’s.” Five years!
Also, Alzheimer’s tends to be hereditary. But that increased risk wasn’t examined at all in this study.
But those are relatively small problems compared to this one: the researchers didn’t compare Alzheimer’s rates between statin users and non-users. So the ridiculous idea that “statins fight dementia” appears to have been snatched out of thin air.
Of course, that’s nothing new when it comes to these drugs. The hysteria to get as many men, women and even children as possible on them has reached a fever pitch. In this past year, we’ve been told that statins can fix everything from eye disease to sleep apnea. And now, they can prevent Alzheimer’s!
But along with risking liver, muscle, and kidney damage — and the memory loss and confusion I mentioned – here’s what else we found out this year:
- Statins can have serious interactions with numerous other heart drugs. Combining them with commonly-used meds such as digoxin, Norvasc and Entresto can super-intensify statin-induced muscle damage. And that warning came straight from the American Heart Association.
- The AHA also warned that mixing statins and certain blood-thinners, like warfarin (a.k.a. Coumadin) and Brilinta can up your chances of bleeding to death.
- And only last month researchers from the Penn State College of Medicine confirmed previous findings showing that statins can increase your risk of Parkinson’s.
Look, this isn’t the first try at selling us on a risky med by calling it a cure-all — and it certainly won’t be the last.
But the best advice I can give you where these drugs are concerned comes directly from the deputy chairman of the British Medical Association.
He said that the dangers of taking statins are “far greater than any potential benefits.”
And that holds true no matter what other supposedly amazing statin benefits we may hear about next.
“Are statins a key to preventing Alzheimer’s disease?” Jacqueline Howard, December 15, 2016, CNN, cnn.com