A new study on heart health is touting statin drugs as the best thing since the iPod. But before you head off to your doctor asking for a prescription, let’s take a closer look at the facts.
The JUPITER (Justification for the Use of Statins in Prevention: an Intervention Trial Evaluating Rosuvastatin) study is not a clinical trial. It’s a ruse to promote drugs as vitamins. Dr. Timothy J. Gardner, president of the American Heart Association, was so excited by the study that he insisted, “this one is pretty clearly a winner for statin therapy.”
The New York Times gave us the infomercial, scripted response of, “Taking the statin Crestor, also known as rosuvastatin, slashed the risk of heart attack by more than half according to the JUPITER results.”
But most popular media missed the truth. Here are three important points that you need to know:
- Crestor’s maker – AstraZeneca – funded the study. When a company pays for a study, they pay for the interpretation of results, which always involves statistical trickery. Cardiovascular events were reduced by a paltry but absolute 0.9 percent with Crestor use. Using a few tricks of the statistics trade, this bland number was converted into the more lucrative “relative risk reduction” of 53 percent.
Dr. Mark Hlatky of Stanford told the New England Journal of Medicine that “absolute differences in risk are more clinically important than relative reductions in risk in deciding whether to recommend drug therapy, since the absolute benefits of treatment must be large enough to justify the associated risks and costs.”
- It would cost beaucoup bucks to follow JUPITER’s recommended Crestor protocol. The drug giant stands to pocket an estimated $500,000 per patient (over a patient’s lifetime), courtesy of insurance companies, if the drug is used as recommended by the study.
- Crestor users risk the particularly nasty side effects of liver failure, rhabdomyolysis, diabetes, and more. This, in itself, is a great reason to say no to Crestor: It’s a seriously expensive way to get sick.
I’ve said it before – you don’t need drugs to be healthy. For a healthy cardiovascular system, take hawthorn and folic acid, both available at Walmart.[Ed. Note: Shane Ellison is a two-time recipient of the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Grant for his research in biochemistry and physiology and is a best-selling author. He holds a master’s degree in organic chemistry and has firsthand experience in drug design. Get the benefit of his knowledge and insight with his no-BS, practical guide to living young naturally without dangerous, prescription drugs.]