Statins are the medical equivalent of global warming: A great theory, dubious evidence but believers still want to shove it down all our throats anyway. Statins are cholesterol-lowering drugs and are supposed to prevent heart attacks. And there are proposals to make everybody take them.

Don’t laugh: We are already compulsorily medicated with iodides, vitamin D and folates by having them added to our table salt, butter and bread. And that really gives the knowalls who want to dictate to everybody an erection. They are always looking for something else that they can make us take. The fact that folates in bread have given lots of American men bowel cancer is rarely mentioned: “Shut up and take it! It’s good for you” is the attitude. And there is now a new study out that is giving the health Fascists a big boost. Like global warming theory, however, it overlooks a lot.

The big problem with statins is that they often have severe and unpleasant side-effects. So lots of people who are given them to take only take a few tablets before they leave the rest sitting untouched in their medicine cabinet. So the limited evidence for the benefits of statins is severely polluted by that. You have to be pretty robust to start with in order to tolerate taking statins. And so the takers (compliers) have fewer heart attacks not because of the statins but because they were more robust to start with!

The latest study shows some dim awareness of that. They actually managed to find out whether people were taking their prescribed pills or not. And they found — surprise! — that the compliers did indeed get fewer heart attacks. You might think that that finding would kick the whole statin craze up the behind but it is the reverse. It is being hailed as great new evidence for the benefit of statins and the heath fascists are really having an orgy over it. See here, for instance. So don’t be too sure that you won’t be taking them soon in some way and wondering why you do not feel as well as you used to.

Fuller details are on my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. The citation for the new study is: Shalev, V. et al. (2009) “Continuation of Statin Treatment and All-Cause Mortality”. Arch. Intern. Med. 169(3):260-268

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