Preventative medicine has gone completely mad and it is only going to get worse. One of the most depressing articles I have read recently (and there was plenty of competition for this particular accolade) was in the Journal of Palliative medicine. It was entitled:
‘Statins in the last six months of life: A recognizable, life-limiting condition does not decrease their use.’
Statins, as you probably know, are used to reduce the risk of dying of heart disease, strokes and suchlike. Now, I am not exactly a fan of these drugs, to put it (very) mildly. But I thought that even the most fanatical ‘statinator’ might feel that if a patient is dying of terminal cancer, then there is little point in continuing with a drug designed to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Wrong. It seems that patients with terminal cancer are prescribed statins up until they draw their final breath on this Earth. What exactly are their doctors trying to prevent here? Well, at least they didn’t die of a heart attack first? Thank God for that.
I have had personal experience with this particular madness. I was visiting a lady of one hundred and one years old in a nursing home. The nursing staff asked me if I could change her statin from a tablet to a liquid form, as she was no longer able to swallow tablets. This lady was so severely demented that she could not speak, was unable to remotely recognise any of her relatives, and was lying immobile in her bed – doubly incontinent.
I felt that, in the circumstances, it was probably best just to stop the statin, especially as they are one hundred times more expensive in liquid than tablet form. So it all seemed like an expensive action in futility. For this action I was severely criticised by the nursing home, and another doctor involved in her care. I believe I was, at one point, accused of being ‘ageist.’ Well, I didn’t really know how to respond. I wondered where we drew the line with preventative medicine, and it appears we no longer draw the line, anywhere.
We carry on forever. We give drugs to the terminally ill, the extremely old and severely demented. Once started we never, ever, stop, no matter what, until the patient is dead. Perhaps at that point I should scatter statins on their ashes, just to make absolutely and completely certain that I am not missing a trick. After all, I would hate be thought of as ‘deadist’.
Delighted to see that you’re blogging, Dr Kendrick. I am a GP from the UK, currently working in New Zealand. I read “The Great Cholesterol Con” a couple of years back, amongst other things, and since then have (largely unsuccessfully) been trying to convince my colleagues of the scientific fraud that is the diet/cholesterol/heart disease hypothesis. I echo your comments about the terminally ill — I was also criticised when working in oncology in the UK for stopping statins in those with limited prognosis from their cancer.
Thank you for your insightful writing, it has changed my practise hugely.
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A friend has given me, The Great Cholesterol Con book to read: how true! For 20 years, until I stopped taking statins myself, nearly 2 years ago (told my GP that I cannot find any law forcing me to take drugs!) my health has greatly improved!!!! In having taken statins (lipitor, zocor, lipex and ezetrol) I diagnosed (as our medical professionals refuse to learn and understand how nature has provided us all with electrical energies that can be ‘read’ from each cells’ 6g memory) that my muscles, liver, pancreas and heart valve tissues were all damaged, through medicines’ chemical intervention. The oversized molecules of medicines only kill cells and their receptors and more!
Firstly, I detoxed the ‘chemicals’ from my body – not very pleasant – having weeks of burning and itchy skin from my groin up to my neck and arms. I showed my GP’s nurse my inflammed arms and she told me I had cellulitis – how wrong! [Our medical professionals need challenging – as nobody holds ‘absolute knowledge!] GP’s only respond in ‘silence’ – isn’t this their whole attitude?
Secondly, I took a few drops of 100% pure therapeutic oils to repair all my damaged tissues: confirmed by xray that I had no damage! This was carried out last year.
Since then, I have taken a few more oils, to reduce excess bile salts (chole = bile), atherosclerosis and currently, reduction of LDL – on reading about LDL receptors in the Great Cholesterol Con dialogue. I shall see the results when I have my lipids test next month.
To date, I am very happy with my ‘improved’ health! For one to take drugs (chemicals) of any description for prevention is a complete CON. The motivation of power and greed for money is an absolute human failing. Science does NOT hold the true key to good health rather a poor second, in the manner laboratories manipulate nature’s own compounds.
Take this, antibiotics failed to kill a ‘superbug’ in my ear canals – after 18 months – had it not been for nature’s own resources, killed the bugs in 3 days and they have never returned.
I can not help but see – medicine is on a slippery slope – through having the sole direction for mere economic outcomes.
If health was the true motivation, then very few medical drugs would need to be manufactured and used. 100% pure therapeutic essential oils are not man-made compounds and they have existed since nature began it’s processes – much longer before drug companies came into existence.
To Dr Malcolm Kendrick:
I have been invited to talk to a group of people. Would it be acceptable to copy this article and hand out – your name would be prominent on the sheet?
Yes, sure, no problem. copy away.
Just found this blog, and am looking forward to following it. I’m no expert, just someone who read Dr K’s book and found it made total sense as well as making me laugh. I am also dodging the ‘GP Statin gun’ referred to by James Alexander – good way to put it, it’s perfectly true. Thanks Dr Kendrick for a voice of sense in a world where we are bombard almost daily by the media, who must surely have shares in the statin-making industry!
Hi Dr. Kendrick,
I found you on THINCS and finding that your articles stopped around 2006, I thought the worst – that you had accepted a glass of statin-laced Cool-Aid and had completely lost your memory. Glad to see that you are still with us. I appreciate your humor laced facts (or is it the other way around?) and I feel that we are kindred spirits in that I dislike jargon and those that hide behind it. My doctor tried to put me on statins and after I refused I asked her if there was a visual test to check for the atherosclerosis she was worried about. “Yes,” she replied, “but there’s no point in administering such a risky procedure because in the vast majority of cases, the results of the visual test (MRI?) correspond exactly with the cholesterol tests.”
I am not making this up! Well, I don’t have to worry about her prescribing any more statins to me. She quit a few months later for a more lucrative career than GP…. she went to work for a pharmaceutical company.
I am a GP in South Wales – I had already started to wonder about statins when a patient of mine developed completely reversible dementia – reversed by stopping his statins. Then my brother, a retired anaesthetist put me on to your book, and rather than take your word for it I checked the original so called ground breaking studies myself – SSSS, WOSCOPS and the others and I agree with your findings – some (not very) statistically significant benefits for men with proven IHD, within a tight age frame, but bugger all else. Butter, sausages, and goose fat roast spuds taste delicious now that I am eating them again, especially when well salted. My main point of replying is that I would like to point out something that has always annoyed me about preventative medicine, which is that its proponents always justify the huge money spent on preventative medicine, in particular primary prevention of CVD by statin treatment and medicating mild to moderate hypertension (which along with my third bugbear, CKD, contribute to a huge waste of GP time and state money, in my opinion) by saying how much secondary care money we save by preventing these strokes and heart attacks – but these patients, even if ‘saved’ from this fate still have to die of something, and yes, they still do, and the same secondary care still ends up looking after them – so how has any money been saved?
Keep it up.