A sorry little patient tale

Working as a GP in England becomes increasingly difficult as the drive to put more and more people on statins gathers pace. Virtually every day I see a patient taking statins who is suffering a clear adverse effect.

I know that this is a very biased sample, because patients in the area know that I am ‘the doctor who writes stuff about statins.’ So there is a degree of self-selection going on here. People who think they may be having adverse effects choose to see me.

However, there is another degree of self-selection going on here. When I see that a patient is on statins, I tend to be on high alert for any mention of statin related adverse effects. Whilst most other doctors happily dismiss such things as: tiredness, memory loss, joint pains, muscle pains depression, irritability, impotence, stomach pains, skin rashes and the like as ‘nothing to do with statins.’ I tend to think the statin may be the cause.

I then usually say. Stop the statin for a couple of months and see what happens to your, tiredness, memory loss, joint pains etc etc. Very often these symptoms go away. Then what? Then the practice statin prescribing statistics start to look quite bad. The senior partner (who is pretty sympathetic to my cause), has had words. The practice is losing money. I have had to ‘exempt’ more and more patients from the cardiovascular disease indicators.

The prescribing lead from the local Clinical Commissioning Group has also had words. It is clear that my non-prescribing of statins is very much frowned upon. Although nothing concrete has yet happened, the pressure to conform cranks up. At times I wonder why I bother. Should I just focus my anti-statin efforts at a more global level? Writing articles, lecturing, speaking to journalists, writing books, and the like. .What difference can I make with a few patients in the practice?

Yesterday, however, I saw a lady who had been admitted to hospital with severe abdominal pains. So severe that she had scans, tests, and was very nearly taken down to surgery for an exploratory operation. Did she have galls stones, appendicitis, cancer? Nothing could be found.

She was discharged with strong painkillers, and follow-up appointments were arranged. She came to see me between Christmas and the New Year to get more painkillers to tide her over. I suggested that the statin may be causing her stomach pain, and that she should stop them, which she did.

Guess what. Of course, the stomach pains have gone. She also reported that she’d had three episodes of Transient Global Amnesia whilst taking statins. This is where your memory goes, you wonder about as if in a fugue, and can remember nothing of what went on. She had not reported these episodes to anyone, but since being made aware that stains can cause them, she now knows what happened.

Since stopping the statins she also reports that her energy levels are back to normal, and that she feels human again. Her life, her quality of life, has returned.

After thanking me for helping her, she then asked. ‘What do you think I should do, doctor. Should I go back on them again, the other doctors say that I should, but I don’t want to.

160 thoughts on “A sorry little patient tale

  1. DWS

    Technically, for the sake of clarity, in order to rule out natural regression, she should go back on statins and see if the symptoms return. But ethically, knowing what a giant hoax the whole statin industry is, she she never take them again. The question is: is she willing to risk personal injury for the sake of clarity?

    Reply
  2. Sue Richardson

    There’s obviously only one honest answer isn’t there? You’re ever so definitely between a rock and a hard place Dr K. I’d be tempted to ‘give up the day job’ if it weren’t for the poor people who need you. Perhaps you should start your own ‘Statin Free Practice’. Is there such a thing or is it simply not possible? PS You’re my hero.

    Reply
  3. Linda Collier

    Nobody an make you take statins. If everybody was well informed of outcome results of statins, which are very poor, I reckon no one would take them!

    Reply
    1. Linda Collier

      Nobody can make you take statins. If you are well informed on poor results of statins on cardiac health and negative side effects on general health. Very few would want to take them, but research results are skewed by big Pharma and perceived wisdom of many unthinking doctors.

      Reply
    2. Dawn davis

      I am 43 and began 20 mg of pravanstol last fall, gradually my health diminished rapidly. Migranes,fatigue, depression, mood swings, no sex drive, forgetfulness, heart palpitations, muscle soreness and weakness.. Hair shedding and loss..After numerous blood tests my gp suggested to quit taking it for a few weeks.. I have been off for 5 days and I am starting to feel better.

      Reply
  4. Mark Johnson

    The patients whom you advise to stop the statins seem to be lucky for two reasons:

    1. The fact that there is/b> a doctor who is prepared to go against the statin prescribing grain.

    2. That their adverse statin side effects seem to go away so quickly.

    Keep on doing what you’re doing. The madness has to stop one day.

    Reply
  5. Marilyn

    Do not give up Dr…..other patients will make your efforts worthwhile….I listen to you and passed info on to family and the did too….

    Reply
  6. Nanj51

    A very interesting post and quite timely as I’m trying to persuade my OH to come off statins. He’s been on them for around 20 years and his last test showed a result of 5.2. He mentioned coming off statins but doc suggested another 6 months trying to get it to 3. We both follow Zoe Harcombe’s way of eating and have read her thoughts on cholesterol along with your book. In terms of side affects my OH is forgetfull, tired, has recurrent problems with pains and swelling in his right foot and CKD. I can’t nag him to stop as it has to be his choice but more and more I feel that we are just £ signs walking in when we go to see the doctor!

    Reply
  7. Christine Dattilo

    One Dr. like you practicing, caring, trying to do your best gives hope that there are many others. The courage of your convictions, will hopefully embolden others (even here in the US).
    I had 3 rounds of pancreatitis as a side effect of Lipitor. Lots of hell, before Lipitor was figured out to be the cause. Still have high cholesterol, high LDL (190), but high HDL of 87. Triglycerides – 47. No other risks. It is a BATTLE to keep off statins. Finally, begged for a coronary calcium scan. Zero!!! Dr. said she would give me a one year reprieve from the statin discussion:)

    Reply
  8. GG

    Does this not demonstrate the terrible state of medical practice? Doctors are being highly pressurised into giving patients drugs that can have extremely negative, life-changing side effects. The doctors that do not toe the line are increasingly pressurised into following the pack or face the consequences. GPs say that they are less and less likely to step out of line for fear of being struck off. This is a ridiculous state of affairs.

    Why would it be desirable to give patients drugs that cause them such terrible side effects? And importantly, why would it be desirable for doctors NOT to be linking reported symptoms to known side effects? This smacks of pressure from Big Pharma not wanting to reduce the profits on statins and other drugs that cause so much misery to patients.

    How can patients feel confident in their doctors treating them if GPs are not allowed to think for themselves and treat their patients according to their needs? As a patient I don’t want to be treated according to what Big Pharma or the government want me treated as. I want to be treated as an individual with a choice whether to subject myself to the side effects of drugs or not.

    Dr K you are in a profession that is being pressurised from all sides. But patients need doctors like you who are willing to see beyond Big Pharma and the ignored side effects. We need doctors who want us to feel well.

    It is not surprising that you wonder at times. ‘why you bother’. You are making a real difference to the patients that you are helping and to them that is the world. I am sure many patients wish we had a doctor like you. But you must also carry on all your other activities and banging the drum to encourage doctors to open their eyes and minds to what you have to say so that they too can make a positive difference to their patients.

    You are doing a great job.

    Reply
    1. Christine Whitehead

      Absolutely agree with this.

      That a medical pracice is losing money by not giving patients a drug that is clearly causing problems is truely shocking, and disgusting. Further more – what the hell has it to do with the Clinical Commissioning Group – that’s even more worrying.
      I dumped statins about ten years ago, having gone through just about all of them. Joint pain was my problem and I suspect the whole thing has left me with some permanent damage. Proving that is another matter. To give my GP his due he has never pressured me to resort to cholesterol lowering drugs again. Now recording about 9 point something. (it was 8.9 over 20 years ago so dumping them certainly didn’t result in instant death!!)
      Much sympathy with the position you are in Dr K. The more I read about prescribing behaviour the more I dispair.

      Christine

      Reply
    2. shirley ward

      Statins have been on my medical list for years, but within the past year I was put on creator. Since then I have experienced pain in my knees, hips and groin, some memory problems, etc. My doctor feels it best I take stations because of my history of heart and high cholesterol. I have an appointment with my GP next month. Because, after speaking with my bone specialist, he thinks i should discontinue taking stations , but gradually. If my GP tells me to continue, would it be advisable to cut the dosage of Creator?

      Reply
  9. steve

    The world has of course gone stark raving mad and not just the world of health.

    It’s very easy to be part of a system and just do as the system tells you to do. A small touch of cognitive dissonance is easily dismissed because everyone else is doing it, so it must be okay. IE Very easy to justify especially where money is concerned.

    Asking hard questions bred out of us by an educational system that teaches one to behave, to trust in authority, and get your head down and study the almost pointless lessons. We may also lose our natural curiosity and ability to really explore ourselves and our world.

    To stick ones head above the parapet is fraught with dangers. We may be ostracised. lose our livelihood, get struck off or what ever happens in your profession. The public tend not to question because no one is taught how to think or to think for themselves (education again).

    With danger though comes real life. To go against the flow is in some respects very liberating and is perhaps as close to freedom as anyone will ever experience.

    I’m not sure I have any real advise apart from a Vulcan saying, “live long and prosper.” My version is simply this; Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

    Thanks for the story and kind regards from a perpetual questioner…

    Reply
  10. Maureen Berry

    It’s quite easy really, give out Statin prescriptions and let your patients know that the sensible thing to do with the tablets is to flush them down the lavatory! Everybody’s happy! The patients don’t take a drug they neither want nor need, they don’t have the side effects, the Clinical commissioning Group has lots of big bills to pay for useless medication (nothing new there then). The practice meets its target and gets paid for meeting its targets. The Pharmaceutical companies keep making their profits. The NHS continues to be ever more strapped for cash. I wonder how many statins are actually flushed down the lavatory, I know several people who tell their doctors that they are taking statins and actually they’re not. They just don’t have the courage to keep refusing them. I suppose, on the downside, as water goes round and round, eventually it will mean that we are all taking statins in our drinking water.

    Reply
    1. Lee Phillips

      I was going to say something very similar, except for the flushing them bit. Just don’t get the prescription from the pharmacy.

      I got my dad off simvaststin this year thanks to Dr Kendrick’s writings and the other guys in THINCS. Hopefully his cataracts and muscle weakness will have reversed or at least won’t get any worse.

      Reply
      1. Pauli

        In Finland the doctor can see what you have piked up from the farmasy, its all electronic, the entire system can see what you are treated for and what you have piked up, dont know how it is at your place but maybe pick them up, and before exiting depose of them in the bin by the door for old drugs.

      2. Agg

        Imagine – you take the prescription, get the statins at the pharmacy, then throw them away. You do your bit to stay fit and in good health – good food, some exercise and no stress – but the statistics show something completely different – you are on statins (according to GP and pharmacy records) and healthy, therefore statins work. Nice bit of propagnda built around that.

      3. spareribs

        I agree with Agg, the stats will be skewed to show that the little bag of pills makes patients go away, they’re satisfied = the pills must work – not! Just like antidepressants (in mine and a few other anecdotal non-evidence based cases) – wouldn’t want to upset the doc now would we? never know when we may need one…

    2. Judy B

      Actually, you should NOT flush them down the toilet as the damn stuff gets in the water supply…. (Dr. Reckless, anyone?)

      Reply
  11. Peter Francis

    Dear Dr Kendrick – I think this situation is appalling. You are being pressurised to act in a way which in your view, backed by your experience, is not in the interests of your patients. I have reached the age when doctors have started talking to me about statins (my cholesterol level at the age of 51 is 5 and that is apparently enough information for that recommendation) . Which I have no intention of ever taking – but whether I will tell them that and be labelled uncooperative is another matter. I should also say that what doctors do matters very much to their patients. I always thought that any honest system should seek out evidence that things are not working as expected but this is the opposite of what is happening here.

    Reply
  12. Fiona Weir

    Dear Dr Kendrick

    Would you, nevertheless, prescribe a statin to an 86-year-old woman who has a leaking heart valve? I’d like to forward your blog to her, but perhaps her condition is an exception.

    Reply
    1. Fiona Weir

      You might also like to look at today’s blog by Dr John Briffa, “Is the editor of the BMJ suffering from statin-induced amnesia”.

      Reply
  13. Jennifer

    That is such a tale, and I can understand where your patient is coming from, as I am constantly reviewing my reclaimed magnificent state of health. Am I mad? Am I imagining my new found energy? happiness? and youthful rejuvernation?
    My actual evidence? core conditioning 3 times a week, yoga twice a week, the odd go on the gym equipment, none of which I could even contemplate on statins, B/P meds etc, and which I now look forward to.
    My quality of life is superb, and YET I am constantly wondering if I am doing the right thing coming off all my meds.
    Should I go to the GP to be told I am well? That would be a strange turn of events for the NHS, because we used to go to the doctor when we felt poorly. Years ago there was the concept of the ‘worried well’ draining resouces. These days it seems mandatory to clog up the surgery with the fit and healthy….because if you are actually poorly….you trot off to A&E.
    I have re-read your book and remain convinced, so why do others, well trained in A&P, not see what I see? Am I just gullable? Am I thick? Am I a demented old fuddy duddy? Certainly not.
    My close family have witnessed my recovery, and I have one disappointment…all are afraid to follow my anecdotal lead, because they are oppressed and coerced by current NHS guidelines, (threatening doom and disaster, for conditions they do not actually suffer from….yet), into consuming statins, etc, etc. That is, except for my husband (how on earth did he manage to escape?).
    I can’t fight that force, but I urge you, Dr Kendrick, to keep up the fight.

    Reply
  14. laurip

    Wait, you have to prescribe meds or it looks bad and you get a talking-to? Is that why I have been on a physician merry-go-round, jumping from doctor to doctor as they each try to run unlimited tests in the hopes of finding a treatable condition?

    I’m sorry.

    Reply
  15. Brenda Wyse

    Dear Dr Kendrick

    Yes, you can find yourself in a scary, lonely place when you stick to your convictions. Allegations of being a maverick are probably mild compared to the threats you perceive hanging over you right now. But please, be sure of this: your book, blog, lectures have probably helped thousands of people to take responsibility for their own health, with life-changing results (I’m one of those people). You may feel a bit isolated at the moment and it can’t be easy but wherever there’s a truth which needs to be told, there are good folk willing to back the tellers. If that group becomes a big enough voice, it can be powerful, eventually.

    Meantime, you have to earn your living and protect your career. This morning’s blog sounds as if you are struggling with the weight of your dilemma and you are indeed in a hugely difficult situation. I’m sure I speak for everyone who shares and learns from this blog when I beg you not to give in to pressure. It’s not easy to “do what is right and let the consequence follow…” but attitudes are changing and maybe you just need to hold out for a bit longer. “First, do no harm….”

    And once again, thank you for the huge benefits which have come to me personally from reading your work. I’m certain I’m just one of many. That’s a great thing.

    If there’s anyone in the hierarchy to whom we can write voicing support for you and the stance you adopt, then please let us know.

    Yours sincerely
    Brenda Wyse

    Reply
  16. Suzanne Looms

    I’m even lower on the food chain in a medical practice. I see people with all sorts of symptoms (physical and mental), who are not in the target group for statins, but are taking them anyway. I was once sharply told by a doctor that ‘we don’t deviate from Department of Health guidelines’, when I’d been talking to diabetic patients about medical evidence from doctors about how to reduce blood sugars/insulin intake through dietary changes. I could be sacked. Ethically I find it impossible to keep quiet when I see patients with memory problems, muscle pains, lingering depression and worsening diabetes (especially elderly people). I take care to give patients information from doctors, rather than sounding off as a non-medic/nurse. If I go, patients won’t have anyone supporting their health and well being with scientific evidence.

    Reply
    1. jojo

      I feel the same Suzanne. I’m low in the food chain of the NHS, but the targets, guidelines, tick boxes, QOFs and all the other nonsense is actually what is costing the NHS money – even the clinician training is a joke and really not designed to “heal the sick” – more an exercise in PC and litigation avoidance!

      Reply
  17. Professor Göran Sjöberg

    As a cholesterol sceptic this tale for sure makes you sad.

    At what level is this patient representative – 90%?

    And what does it take from a patient to question the authority of a GP?

    Reply
  18. Dr.Garry Lee, Cork.

    When the newspapers still talk of artery-clogging dietary fat etc., and the Anointed ones at the top of the tree in Britain persist in their nonsense of the Low Fat HC diet, despite all the evidence against it, I don’t know what you can do that will be easy. I don’t know if you’re in alliance with Timothy Noakes, but if not, get aboard. The bigger the ship, the stronger the crew, the better chance of prevailing. You could say, of course, that your informed medical conscience does not allow you “to prescribe what you believe to be not in the patient’s interest”

    Reply
  19. Tom Welsh

    Maybe if all your patients who have recovered better health after abandoning statins were to get in touch with one another, they might hire some of m’learned friends with a view to suing the prescribing lead from the local Clinical Commissioning Group and everyone else responsible for this pernicious practice. Given a little attention from the media, there might eventually be millions of people participating in a grand worldwide class action.

    After all, we have the precedent of the Nuremberg Trials.

    Reply
  20. Annie

    It’s a tragedy that many people are so frightened of upsetting their GPs and so confused by all the messages telling them they should take statins and eat the ridiculous pyramid diet etc, that they don’t feel able to heed what their body is clearly saying to them. Thankfully there are the few, like you, who help sort it out for at least some of the population.

    Reply
  21. celia

    I need some clarification. How does a practice lose money if the doctors don’t prescribe statins? There’s something very wrong here…

    Reply
    1. amieres

      I would also like to understand how that works. Where does that drug related money come from?
      It sounds as if doctors have a quota to fulfill, when did they become part of the pharmaceuticals sales force?
      Also Dr. Kendrick do you ever prescribe statins? Are there any situations when you do prescribe them, whether because you think the patient needs them or because you are under pressure to do so?. Do you tell all your patients currently taking statins about your misgivings about the drug or only those that complain of side effects?

      Reply
      1. amieres

        Anyway, keep up the good work and do not give in nor give up. If the situation ever becomes too difficult and you are put on the spot for not falling in line with the accepted medical guidelines then we should unite and start a petition to support you and raise awareness of the situation.

      2. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        In the UK, around 30% of GP income comes from the Quality Outcome Framework (QOF) payments. You can see them all here http://www.eguidelines.co.uk/eguidelinesmain/external_guidelines/qof.php#.UvexifmKVcY You have to reach certain percentage thresholds on things like BP lowering, cholesterol lowering etc. in order to trigger payments. This money comes from the Dept of Health (well, it really comes from taxpayers). So, if you do not prescribe when the QOF says you should the practice loses money.

      3. amieres

        Thanks for the clarification Dr.
        Specifically for statins I found 2 entries:
        – CVD-PP001: “… the percentage who are currently treated with statins” 10 points
        – CHD006: “The percentage of patients with a history of myocardial infarction … currently treated with … and statin” 10 points

        Cholesterol (which MUST be treated with statins) is in 6 more entries including recording cholesterol levels for diseases like schizophrenia & diabetes, but interestingly NOT for depression, dementia or cancer which have been linked with statins and low cholesterol levels.

        There seem to be lacking a section about patient reported improvement or deterioration on the therapies.

        The complete version of the document
        http://www.nhsemployers.org/Aboutus/Publications/Documents/qof-2013-14.pdf
        mentions statin 68 times and cholesterol 64 times making them some of the more common words in the document. The word heart is found only 58 times.
        We can call this the cholesterol/statin school of medicine.

        I think it all stems from a poor understanding of what clinical studies and meta analysis can and cannot “prove”. It is all based in associations, correlations. Controlling a specific indicator like cholesterol with drugs gives the doctors and patients a false sense of security, of doing something to control the future.

      4. celia

        Amieres, a petition sounds like a very good idea to me. Maybe we should seriously look at this. I would certainly sign one. We could send a copy to all government ministers wherever they may be. Patient Power may be just what we need…

    2. Gordon

      I read in the ny times a couple of months ago that Drs are rewarded with $350 .00 for every patient they turn on to stattins dispite the high
      Blood sugars side effect. Having been on stattins for. 15 years my
      Memory is a litle shakey so the compensation might have been even
      Higher.

      Reply
  22. Maureen Thompson

    Dr. Kendrick, I am very sorry to hear of the intense pressure you are being subjected to, to conform to the status quo. I am just one of very many I am sure, who has you to thank for avoiding statins. I was very lucky to find your blog, then read your book before an appointment with my doctor after a routine cholesterol test. It showed elevated LDL, high HDL and low trigycerides. It didn’t worry me at all, being quite convinced now that high cholesterol is not a threat. If I hadn’t known what I learned from you, I would have been scared into taking statins. So, from one person you have helped immensely, thank you.

    Reply
  23. Mary Adair Richard

    What is happening to you is a shame!!! Or should I say a sham! I am amazed that you, dear doctor, one who uses his conscience to practice medicine, is now one who faces being ostracized by your own cohorts? Even my own doctor here in the states has placed in my file that I am “statin intolerant!!” People know the dangers of statins. There is a push in the U.S. now where doctors are saying more and more that statins are dangerous. You know who most of them are, Malcolm. We, here in the states, don’t have enough doctors like you, which is a shame. People (patients and doctors alike) should have the right to choose without this kind of mistreatment. Dr. Kendrick, only you know how this can affect you financially and what this means to you and your family. I can’t speak to your personal and family situation. But, as you have told others in your book…If you have a boss that is causing you stress…get out!! Physician…heal thyself. I say, choose your battles wisely. Choose those most important to you. I happen to think it is the statin crisis. Move to another place if you have to. Australia would be great since they seem to be moving toward understanding the statin crisis. Talk to your like minded physician friends…they will help you make a good decision. If you can afford to write, lecture, and fight the cause, then do it. You only have one life and it belongs to you!!

    There is so much pressure put upon people to take these poisons, they just do not understand. Look at the poor little lady you just described. She had all her symptoms disappear, yet still she is afraid that without statins, she will die. That is what some physicians do. My own doctor is still trying to get me to take them. I took my entire family off them and just about every friend close to me. I gave a straightforward explanation of how they affect your body. I told them to look at the film Statin Nation (13 minutes excerpt) and that is all it took. If I can convince people to go against doctors orders, YOU can be a huge success!! I have been looking for a GP to treat my son because his doctor pushes him to get back on them with a cholesterol level of 239!!! He is a kid!! I can’t find one. I went to Dr. Sinatra’s website and still can’t locate one close to my kids in Texas. My mother’s had so many episodes of TGA, that she has had to call me to say she did not know where she was. This was a place she had driven to 1,000 times. I have had to rescue the poor woman so many times. Her memory is shot. It happened virtually overnight.

    Dr. Kendrick, you have some tough decisions to make. Dig way down deep and ask yourself what your life means and your purpose. Do you enjoy treating patients? Or do you think you can do better helping people in far different ways? Maybe it is time for you to make a move to another place where you can do both. You have a God given right to treat your patients using not only your skills, but your conscience. That is a big responsibility. Are you up for the challenge? I believe in you just like thousands of others. However, only you know what you can handle.

    God Bless,
    Mary

    Reply
    1. Gaby

      Mary, go to lowcarbdoctors.blogspot.com and scroll down until you see the list of names in Texas. I hope there is one near you. Good luck!

      Reply
  24. chuckcurrie

    That is so sad, and so true. The elderly are at such a disadvantage when it comes to modern medical practice…they’ve been programed to believe what the doctor says and never to dispute it.

    My Mom, who will be 95 this April, was on statins for about fifteen years when she had a heart attach…a lot of good they did her. I took her off them a couple of years ago because she was suffering all the adverse effects, muscle pain, muscle weakness, tiredness and early signs of dementia, she is now back to her normal self. She lives alone in a senior citizens apartment building (no care is provided), does her own laundry, fixes her own meals (I do her shopping), and putters around with balcony garden.

    Keep at it doc, one patient at a time.

    Cheers

    Reply
    1. Mary Adair Richard

      Chuck, may I ask you how long it took for your mom to get back to normal? My mom has been off the statins for only about 3-4 months after many years. She, too, has had one stent, carotid artery surgery, a pacemaker, cataract surgery, and extensive memory loss. I want her to be better so badly. She does a lot for herself. She has a housekeeper who accompanies her a lot so I don’t worry as much. But, she still lives alone and her memory is so affected.

      Reply
  25. Judy B

    This is very, very sad! So MD’s are being coerced into prescribing statins or suffer professionally? The truth has been known for quite some time now about these drugs but it continues to be dismissed or swept under the rug.
    I have given up on the medical profession. When doctors take back their profession from the special interests, I will give them a chance again….

    Reply
    1. Karen

      If you think that it is the government bureaucrats, you are wrong. Many governments have been hijacked by large corporations. In many ways, it’s no longer we the people, but them the corporations and/or very wealthy.

      A policitian who is neither wealthy or does not submit to wishes of large corporations doesn’t have a snowball chance in hell of being elected. Elections cost money.

      Reply
  26. Christopher Palmer

    It isn’t just in medicine that folks can have facts and evidence put before them, and yet despite the evidence does not reconcile with their beliefs, they really struggle to adjust their perception which is clearly far removed the reality.
    Is it possible to petition the statin faithful practitioner under the mental health act, and …
    are the prescription habits of GPs so easily influenced by the perceived need to conform to practice prescription stats?

    Reply
  27. Joe B

    Dr. Kendrick:
    Quite an interesting story. I’m sure many of us can understand your concerns regarding your practice and your professional beliefs. From a total humane and ethics prospective, I would say that a Doctors’ desire to help a patient should be of most importance. Should a professional such as yourself be in conflict with peers or government in treatment protocols, at the very least I would expect the doctor to thoroughly explain the issue to the patient, so that the patient becomes informed enough to make an enlightened decision regarding care. The lady in question here is liable to be talked into taking a statin again unless she has a strong will and the factual diagnosis necessary to make a convincing argument that she is indeed “statin intolerant”. It would be interesting to know why the statin caused stomach pain – not that I have any doubt about it; I believe that I am statin intolerant due to the severe muscle pain and neuropathic disorders that I have developed with no other medical explanation available except for the over 20 years of statin therapy taken while always being told that the aches and pains I would complain about were “no doubt” caused by arthritis, lack of exercise, and all of the other conditions one can expect to experience as we age. Upon stopping the statin – 80mg per day, Zocor, the pain in my legs began to recede and I felt less tired. However, I am receiving treatment for neuropathy in both feet as well as infrequent severe cramping and sharp intermittent pain in feet and legs, particularly at night. I have found that despite how often and forcefully I explain my belief of statin causation, those who are treating me for my medical issues, are reluctant to agree. Cardiologists want me to start taking statins again. I have decided I will not, even though I do have cardiovascular disease and have had a stent implanted. At my current age of 70 years, I am more concerned with how I feel each day and what I am able to do with my life rather than thinking about a possible heart attack. Each day that I spend active, with minimal pain, is a great day. Exercise, lifestyle and observing a low-carb diet are very important to me now and I do get some comfort from the statistics that show folks who have higher cholesterol, live longer than those with lower cholesterol. I will say that physicians that I come In contact with will argue a bit less forcefully regarding the importance of statin therapy today, than they used to. However, they still do argue.

    Reply
    1. Mary Adair Richard

      Good for you. Stay away from them. I, too, have good days and bad. I have PAD, but not coronary disease. However, I have found that reaching those good days and bad has been quite the journey. I never thought I would feel “normal” again. I felt pain on a daily basis. It was torture. Now, at least I can feel the good but it is so slow.

      Reply
  28. Janice

    A lifetime of brainwashing generally leaves little room for common sense or confidence in making choices that go against the flow. It’s frustrating to see it played out.

    Reply
  29. Michael A Smith

    Midway through 2013, I decided as a single parent of my 3 year old grandson, it was time that I truly took control of my health. At 53, I was drastically overweight and in poor health. Having a cardiac history, six stents in 2012 and three in 2003, I was on statins, and had been for several years. Changing the brand over time to find the “right” one. I had reported the muscular symptoms in early 2013, at which time my cardiologist advised adding CoQ10 to my regimen of medications. I did so with little relief.

    After doing research on the best approach for getting health, I started a low carb diet in August of 2013. In addition, I had seen several things that alarmed me about the statins I was taking. The more I saw, Statin Nation, and read, The Great Cholesterol Con, the more I understood many of the issues I was having were potentially statin related. Many of these symptoms, I had written off to my age. Looking back I realize how silly this was, at 53. The symptoms were many. I had no energy, depression, lethargy, no sex drive, all this despite the fact I was on testosterone replacement therapy. I felt like I was in a constant fog and had difficulty maintaining focus. In addition, the muscle aches were overwhelming. Waking me from sleep most nights because my shoulders were in intense pain. I would have to lift myself out of a recliner. I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning, and took every opportunity available to go back to bed. I would have to be very careful when carrying my grandson because my knees would just buckle for no reason.

    So, in late August, after starting my low carb diet, I started to wean myself off of statins. By October, I was completely off statins. The relief from many of the symptoms was very quick. My energy level improved dramatically. The muscle aches diminished greatly, although still there at that time. Over the next few months, the symptoms continued to dissipate. In October, I modified the low carb diet and adopted the ketogenic diet. By December 2013, all of the symptoms I was having were gone. I felt alive, perhaps for the first time in years.

    I had a cardiology follow up at the end of January this year. Gave a report to my cardiologist as to the state of my health before dropping the bomb on him. I had lost 38 pounds and 7” off my mid section since I had seen him 6 months ago. I let him know that I had pulled myself off of statins, because of the harmful side effects that I was experiencing. My LDL was elevated and that concerned him when I gave him that information as well as when I explained my diet. He asked if I would reconsider taking a statin, I declined. I explained that I haven’t felt this good in years and didn’t have any desire to go backward. With that, he said he had done his job, and wants to keep me as a patient to follow my progress.

    Thank you for your help. Thank you for your commitment to the truth. Thank you for helping me get my life back.

    – Michael

    Reply
  30. Claire Birtles

    Hello Dr Kendrick
    Keep sticking your head above the parapet. You obviously treat each patient as a real person and not a QOF target.
    I am a mere practice nurse but am alarmed at the sheer volume of folk on statin with no real risk factors. I feel it is my duty to inform them of the potential side effects and minuscule benefits with which they should have been presented on initial prescribing. (It is my experience that many patients do not get the opportunity to discuss it with the GP but are just telephoned by admin or nursing staff to be informed they have been prescribed statin on the basis of blood results.)
    If more doctors were honest and gave patients hard facts and figures when prescribing, I am sure many patients would decline the offer.
    But then I think that many complacent GP’s are not aware of the hard facts themselves.
    I say keep fighting the good fight. It has to be worth it even if you only improve the quality of life for a handful of patients. It is more than worth it to them. And surely that is why you became a doctor in the first place, to make people better. That is the best kind of doctor.

    Reply
  31. Robert Park

    A Cap of Grey Hairs for a Green Head

    What you have just highlighted is the hallmark of democracy in practice. To anyone who believes in democracy then I have a seaside bungalow for sale in central Birmingham; very special offer to ardent believers!

    The only way to survive in society is to tell Mammon what Mammon wants to hear. The wisdom of this is encapsulated in Aesop’s fable, ‘Zeus and the Tortoise’. Omar Khayyam puts it another way when he says, “Make game of that which makes as much of thee!”

    You appear to have reached a crossroad in life, a situation that many encounter which is to be a fool among others or to be a fool alone. It is comfortable in the warmth of a crowd but ‘baby’ it’s cold outside! Sentiment, in any form, does not solve problems.

    The conflict of the woman whom you mentioned above is her problem and not yours. She sounds like one of life’s Lilliputians who need others to think for her and in your professional position she is dangerous but also expendable. He who pays the piper calls the tune and, although you may disagree and object, this is where your loyalty needs to lie. As Shakespeare observed, ‘you cannot be a servant to two masters’.

    The late Dr Johnson noted that ‘scoundrels hide behind patriotism’ (and he was not referring to the love of one’s country) and in this regard you too must become a scoundrel (temporarily) until you reach the position when you can speak without fear or favour. You have too much at stake to do otherwise.

    To quote the wisdom of one of your countrymen, the poet Robert Burns, of whom I am an admirer: “Had I the good advice than harkit, I may this day have led a market or strutted in a bank and clerkit my cash account, but here, half fed, half mad, half sarkit, is all the amount!” Burns, like the others quoted, is speaking to us through the generations.

    Finally, here is Shakespeare again; “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves that we are underlings.”

    Keep practising medicine as it is prescribed and do not allow your conscience to be too controlling.

    Reply
    1. celia

      Robert, I’m surprised by your response. It appears that you are saying “play the game and prescribe statins to people who may be damaged by them”. Suppose one of those people was somebody you loved very much. Would that still be OK? There must be another way.

      Reply
  32. Elaine Hamnett

    You could be classed as ‘The Lone Ranger’ against a treatment that causes more unnecessary appointments and gives more debilitating illnesses that cost the surgery more money in treatment but no one will spend the time to validate that. Instead your colleagues would rather keep the revenue coming in at the expense of their patients’ long term health. Keep up the good work you have got to make a difference eventually.

    Reply
  33. JustMEinT Musings

    DON’T go back onto statins….. if you need to get your lipid profile improved, change your lifestyle not your medication. LCHF has, over a period of almost 12 months lowered my triglycerides and brought my A1c readings back into the ‘normal healthy’ range…… Tell her that Doc Malcolm Please 🙂

    Reply
  34. Greg Brown

    Saddened but not surprised to read of the situation you find yourself in. I saw the writing on the wall three years ago. I had been led to question several medical shibboleths, cholesterol being the principal one through “The Great Cholesterol Con”, while in GP training. I perceived that QOF and other oppressive regulatory frameworks meant I could not happily practise as a GP in the UK long term. I therefore left three months after completing the VTS, and now work in New Zealand slightly outside mainstream GP. Suffice to say your influence has spread far and wide, and this medical heretic (http://tinyurl.com/nay3nnp) is grateful for your service to the rest of us at the coal face. (Ps, any chance of you joining Twitter?)

    Reply
    1. celia

      Greg, I pulled up your “Confessions of a Medical Heretic”. Great stuff, particularly about us all needing leaders. Yes, we do. Medical Heretics are our hope for the future.

      Reply
  35. Pingback: A sorry little patient tale | Bydio

  36. David Bailey

    After discovering what statins did to me – starting and stopping 3 times to be absolutely sure – I told the doctor I was not taking them anymore. Perhaps you could suggest that your patients simply refuse to take statins (or just lend them a copy of your book, so they can make their own minds up) – then you are not responsible (sort of).

    I have also discussed my simvastatin experience with various other people, and a fair fraction (probably half) have told me about severe muscle pains that they, or someone they know has had! I also know a man who suffered another known side effect – mental confusion and memory problems while on simvastatin! In other words these aren’t rare side effects, nor are they trivial. If the medical profession had been working as it should, simvastatin would have been flagged up as poisonous years ago.

    As your example and my personal experience illustrates, the effects of simvastatin can look like something else. Is it possible that there are people ‘with dementia’ being fed their statin pill each day by carers who are utterly unaware that their loved one is actually suffering from statin poisoning?

    Reply
    1. David

      David Bailey and many others are right to highlight the severity and frequency of statin side-effects. We should all be grateful to Dr K and the respondents to this blog for all the warnings on the scale of this problem. It would help if the Yellow Card Scheme was more widely publicised (https://yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/). I, for one, did not know it was possible to report side-effects directly to MHRA. Like many others I thought it was sufficient to tell the GP. I ought to have realised that the “it’s your age” response meant that the “side-effect” would go straight in the bin.

      Please keep up the good work Dr K. How can we spread the word? Some of us don’t know how to “tweet”, but maybe others of us do. The answer must lie with modern communications technology. I don’t think many doctors today would get away with the “go and read a book” standard response to questions common until recently.

      Reply
      1. Christine Whitehead

        A very good point David.
        No wonder drug adverse effects are so under-reported.
        I have spent 20 years hanging round waiting rooms at GP surgeries and hospitals and I have never seen any publicity for the yellow form scheme; still less have I ever seen the actual form. I think they are called yellow forms because they are yellow with age!! They certainly never get out of a cupboard.

        Christine

  37. matt h

    Easily the most-powerful blog post I’ve read in a long time. So damned sad @ the end. What will stop the statin-madness–1000’s of doctors experiencing nasty side effects themselves? Divine intervention? Yeesh

    Reply
  38. Jean Humphreys

    Just a year ago I was in hospital, post MI and pre Angio+stent. The consultant and his team encircled my bed (Oh how intimidating that is) and the statin question arose. I said no, since I had tried them for two years, after the by-pass ops, sixteen years previously, and suffered life-spoiling pain, and frightening memory problems. “OK, we can try you on something else”, which I binned at the earliest opportunity. However, as the team swept on, one of the Juniors stopped and said “I’ve never heard of statins causing memory problems” I did a little education, but, for goodness sake, where did he learn his medicine?
    Sadder is that when I was clearing up my Mother’s effects, I found, in the two litre plastic tub where she kept her medicines, that she had been put on a statin. She was 86. She had had a small stroke (stress induced) some eighteen years previously and they had seen fit to drive her blood pressure down to 118/78. I am now convinced that the various trials and ailments she suffered in her last few years were virtually all due to medications. She died of peritonitis, caused by diverticulitis. Nobody had thought of investigating her tummyaches.
    Please don’t give up.

    Reply
  39. Tonny Hart

    Any intelligent idiot can make things bigger and more complex.
    Great geniality and much more courage are needed to go against the mainstream….

    Albert Einstein

    Reply
  40. Pat

    Nearly half of my degree was in statistics. I refused statins for statistical reasons in about 2003/4. There seemed little benefit and a small risk of additional problems like muscle pains and diabetes. My GPs have not answered a lot of my questions and sometimes have even declined to give me the results of the cholesterol tests but told me that I have to go on statins. I have explained time and time again that I will not go on statins because it is only a small drop in risk. I was not prepared to take drugs for the rest of my life which might lower my risk of one type of heart problem by less than 3% but give me the risk of more aches and pains, memory loss, diabetes even if the chance of the side effects are small. To me this is not worth it. Bear in mind I already do suffer a bit from joint pain and I have already been diagnosed with the disease called type 2 diabetes. What is the point of making my diabetes more difficult to manage?

    Over my life time I have already taken a few prescribed drugs which are not exactly very good for diabetics! My problem of a knackered system may be due to my bad habit of eating too quickly or perhaps due to starvation during the war and there may be a slight chance of some genetic link.

    My decision not to take statins was because in my view I had no good statistical reason to take them. Alas it seems I am not allowed to have a view. I have no damn right to ask questions. If I do I can get a stony silence. I was told I had to go on statins and the last time I was looking at the notice above the doctor’s head which told me that the surgery did not tolerate bad behaviour from patients and I felt I was the one who was being bullied. As I walked out the door the doctor told me he would not go on statins either because of a certain side effect! I was very polite but very angry inside and then asked at reception for my TC figures and breakdown.

    Another GP told me several times that I could not possibly have any blood sugar readings below 4 because I am not on drugs. I do very occasionally and so it seems do some normal people who are not on drugs perhaps when they have taken a lot of exercise. That GP was looking at my records at the time and was telling me that I was a liar because I am self monitoring. This is an insult.

    I am totally indebted to Dr K for his book because I have been given a much broader perspective than I could have worked out for myself. I had read about the bias in the sampling some years ago which made me extremely angry and seen a Health Select Committee report on the influence of industry on medicine. I have learnt about lots of things I did not know about and he has explained things I did not understand very simply. His blog is useful because I had become paranoid about GPs reaction to me and blamed myself for mishandling them (lets face it they are out to get me on statins!). Sadly I have now realised that I am not alone in my despair. I, a mere elderly, retired, woman who still dares to be able to count am not treated with respect, and am talked over, bullied and called a cheat and I have found out that I am right.

    Thank you Dr K for what you have done so far. It has to be your difficult decision what you do and put up with. I wish there were more people in this world which understood and importantly respected numbers. I think this is the root of the problem.

    Reply
    1. Jennifer

      Pat, I was treated the same as yourself, and now fear needing to visit the GP for anything that may concern me. So, I am successfully ‘going it alone’ but with the help of the internet. What an indictment of what our lovely NHS has turned into.
      As a statistician, you may be interested in Tom Naughton’s “Diet, Health and The Wisdom of Crowds”, to put a perspective on our reliance on numbers, and how they can influence for good or bad.

      Reply
    2. Judy B

      Pat, I was treated the same way. When I mentioned an article in the Lancet that said women had never been shown to benefit from statins, the doctor turned an angry face to me and said, “That is pure crap! Do you think there is a conspiracy to shove statins down every gullet?” I just looked at him, continuing to decline the statins. He dumped me from the practice several months later for non-compliance…

      Reply
  41. Sue

    Dr Kendrick

    Sorry to hear about the pressure you are under, and I thank you for the book and articles you have written, which convinced me to stay off the statins, even though my doc was edging me that way.

    I don’t think it’s just medical mavericks who are pressured, though. We are living in dictatorial times which affect every walk of life, from politics, medical, teaching, media etc. The bullies at the top don’t like dissent in any form.

    My doc hasn’t mentioned I take statins again, but if she got too insistent about it, I’d take the prescription (just to shut her up), and then bin it.

    It’s easy for me to say “keep on plugging away” but it’s your life that is affected. All I can say is there are a lot of people who are alive today who might not have been, but for you.

    Thanks!

    Sue

    Reply
  42. Robert Park

    He who wields the sword never wears the crown so try not to rock the boat too much as we need you around (my English teacher would have chastised me for those mixed metaphors but then she is no longer in my life but she sure does live in my conscience)! Step off the real world for a moment and enjoy this excellent advice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7kzsZreG0o

    Reply
  43. gilbert78

    Having read the above I seem to be fortunate with the GP I have; less than 3yrs ago when having a routine check up I enquired if I should be on statins ,as there was so much in the media about them for those over 50, he replied emphatically NO. Two years ago I had all the severe symptoms of a heart attack he checked me out and although doubtful recommended a cardiologist .I had the gamut of tests finishing with an angiogram after which the cardiologist pronounced I was not going to have a heart attack. However as my cholesterol was 5.2 he wanted me to go on statins & advised my GP. Discussing it with my GP I stated I was unhappy about taking any pills and would try an even stricter diet for a year- I visited a dietician who slightly modified my diet. A year latter I had another blood test and result was 5.3 with slightly higher LDL. He advised that as the specialist had recommended Stains that was the only way to get it down.
    The fear and anxious feelings set in and I accepted. I was started on the cheapest and due to side affects each month got him to change me to a different one finally finishing on Crestor 5mg ; the side affects with this were less as no muscle aches but there were still weird dreams but not scary ones as before but waking up two / three times each night then I started to realise I was fatiqued & distracted & unable to concentrate as I had previously. After 6 months a blood test had me at 4.2 .
    I have an excellent physio’ with whom I discuss all matters of health and he advised he was unhappy with statins as a number of patients seemed to have problems , so he armed himself with a number of medical books to take on vacation. On his return he recommended two of the books which as a non medico I should understand. The first ‘ The Great Cholesterol Con’ convinced me and I gave up in January on my78th.birthday & flushed the remainder down the loo. I was then reading the second book ‘The Statin Damage Crisis’ which convinced me I had made the right decision but he did recommend against ‘Cold Turkey’ , however I got to that part of the book too late as I had already flushed the statins so took an aspirin a day for three weeks which ended yesterday.
    I visited my GP to advise him of my decision ,he seemed happy about it and when I questioned him he stated ‘he was not unduly worried’
    One further point which may help someone; I had occasion to visit a hand surgeon with ‘Trigger thumb’, before I started stains but after I was on them I had three further visits for other fingers and he advised that he had many patients on statins also with this Tendon problem and he considered statins far too powerful to take and he had refused them for himself & thought them possibly responsible for this problem.
    This whole cycle from two years ago was caused by a severe gastric problem for which I also declined pills and have not had a recurrence since.
    I am keeping a log each day as to how I improve ,I suspect three weeks is far too early to gauge but already I have far fewer dreams, wake up but less, also less fatique & can concentrate more , I am also able again to remember stuff that alluded me. I continue my three visits a week to the gym to keep my two replaced hips mobile & currently spend two hours each session as off skiing in a few weeks. I am thrilled about this as with reduced energy levels i was getting concerned and considering giving up the sport but my energy levels are now rising as are other expectations of my life.
    I have made this rather too long but hoped that recounting the less consequential bits may help someone just starting on this path of discovery;which without Dr. Kendrick’s massive research effort I would not have even started. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Jennifer

      In response to Gilbert78.
      A year ago, in ignorance and bloody-mindedness, I came off statins ‘cold turkey’. Yes, in temper, my GP had warned me I would have a ‘cardiac event’ if I stopped them, but failed to give any explanation as to why. By that stage of the consultation all meaningful communication had broken down.
      Now, I could make an unkind suggestion that bonus payments were at risk here, but I will choose to accept that there may well have been a clinical explanation. The GP KNEW I was a trained nurse…..would it have been beyond my wit to understand what Dr Graveline has described as ‘ rebound platelet activation’? Well of course I would have understood, and taken precautions.
      But, a year ago, I was oblivious of all this wonderful knowledge on the websites…..something had just triggered my need to get statins out of my life, once and for all. I had, indeed, read Dr K’s book when it was first published, and taken up the matter with my GP, who ruled it out of the equation then. I chucked the book out, feeling that I had perhaps been naive.
      . But this time, I was determined. Having, fortunately, not suffered any bad effects, I re-bought, and re-read the book, and am more than ever convinced that I took the correct action in stopping statins.
      Someone has already blogged ( sorry, can’t find the actual person to acknowledge, on this busy site) that they were struck off the panel for non-compliance! What sort of a health service are we living under?
      I try not to get stressed, but there is a rat away, somewhere, and decent, trusting people are suffering.

      Reply
  44. Richard Gibbs

    I was always skeptical about attempts to reduce cholesterol levels. But it was after I had a stent in 2007 that I found the THINCS website. It was primarily Uffe Ravnskov’s book and Dr. K’s Red Flag posts that gave me the information to resist the pressure to take statins. Thank you.

    Reply
  45. vjadams2014

    I sympathise with your dilemma. It’s also difficult being a patient. Earlier this year I had a mild MI – so mild that initially no-one believed that I had had a heart attack. It followed a period of acute stress – because of serious illness in my partner and my younger brother.

    My cholesterol was 5.2, but with a “bad” balance between HDL and LDL. An angiogram showed that my arteries were completely clear apart from one small area of distal disease. Although I am overweight, I am active and exercise regularly – keep fit, swimming, rowing machine, weights… The cardiac team and m GP thought that I had been unlucky and that stress had played a big part. Nonetheless, I was prescribed statins.

    I took them religiously until about a month ago when I began reading up about them. I’d noticed some weakness in my legs and my sleep pattern has been severely disrupted for months. It was only when I started reading up on them that I realised they might also be responsible for sudden lapses in memory – my next door neighbour’s name for example (after knowing her for 20 years).

    Like Pat, I understand statistics and a reduction of 3% in my level of risk is not enough for me to want to take a drug which interferes seriously with normal metabolic processes. Let’s say, for the same of argument, that my risk of a further MI in the next 10 years is 50%. A 3% reduction on 50% gives a risk of 48.5%. Hardly statistically significant. And I’m still taking my aspirin and will continue to do so. I’ve also started on a low carbohydrate diet and have lost weight and seen my waist measurement fall by three inches in a very short time.

    But coming off a major medication without seeking my GP’s agreement is in itself quite stressful. I haven’t decided yet what to tell him – I don’t want to flush the statins away as they might linger in the water – perhaps I’ll bury them in the garden!

    Meanwhile it is comforting and reassuring to read your blog and the comments of others who have made the same choices. Please don’t throw in the towel – integrity is too important.

    Reply
    1. Claire Birtles

      Hi
      I am a practice nurse.
      I am constantly amazed that people are worried about what they will have to tell their doctor.
      I understand that we all like to have a good relationship with our GP, however we do not need his/her permission for anything. There is no such thing as the cholesterol police.
      Just tell the receptionist you no longer require it on your prescription or do not tick the box on the repeat request.
      I think it is inadvisable to keep getting it and not taking it or just throwing it away. That is a waste of money and potentially harmful if in the water source.

      Reply
      1. S Jones

        People are sometimes kicked off a GP’s list for non-compliance if they choose to disregard the doctor’s advice.

        I don’t know if they are allowed to do this. But they do it anyway.

  46. Sue Richardson

    I have read all the replies to this blog since it was posted, and a lot of people recommend accepting statins from their GP so that they will stop pressurising them, and then simply not taking them. The problem with that is that your medical records will show that you are on them, when you aren’t. So what do you do when asked, as one often is, if you are on any medication? I think we have to keep politely refusing to take them until the doctors get the message. Judy B said that her GP had responded angrily ‘do you think there is a conspiracy to shove statins down every gullet?’ We know that to be the case, so perhaps his anger was guilt-related. We as patients must keep on saying no until they feel so guilty that they stop doing it. After all, surely all doctors enter the profession intending to do good and help their patients, even though sadly so many of them have become sidetracked by the drug companies, and their very real need to keep their jobs!

    Reply
    1. Mary Adair Richard

      I agree Sue, but surely many of those who have had difficulties with statins must themselves be physicians. What do they tell themselves and how do they stand all the pain? When you have had a terrible reaction to statins, it is the worst feeling in the world. I can’t understand how they don’t see a connection. I am very confused by that aspect of this whole debate.

      Reply
      1. Judy B

        Dr. Duane Graveline (retired physician and astronuat) had terrible reactions to statins. He wrote the book, “Lipitor, Theif of Memory.”

  47. Chris

    I guess this is where the tricky part kicks in. Since we give authority to mostly all doctors we know, how should we know which one is right and which is wrong?

    Reply
  48. vjadams2014

    That’s a challenge isn’t it Chris? And it’s easy to wonder if perhaps I find Dr Kendrick’s view on things convincing because it matches the way I think -we all prefer advice that chimes with our own ideas.
    I suppose the point I was trying to make about coming off statins being stressful is that we are conditioned all our lives to accept medical advice and flying in the face of that advice certainly makes me ask myself if I’m doing the right thing. I think I am – there seem to be a great many doctors, including cardiologists who are, to say the least unconvinced about statins (though not so many questioning their use for secondary prevention); I feel better, I’m sleeping better and my energy levels are higher – but I also feel anxious. And no, I don’t really think that lying about whether I’m taking them or not is going to be a good solution…

    Reply
  49. Aeh

    I am an ophthalmologist from Finland. While prescribing statins does not belong to my job description, I do tell patients ‘if you were me mum or dad I would take you off them statins right now’ or something to that effect. It isn’t uncommon at all to have patients tell me they’ve stopped taking statins. When I ask them why, they say either they had side effects or they heard/read somewhere that they do no good at all. My reply: that sounds like a very wise decision to me 😄

    Reply
  50. gilbert78

    The concerns associated with ‘kicking’ the statins is possibly for some the likelyhood that the GP will lose interest in them but more likely for most, it is rebelling against a lifetimes conditioning, that Doctors know best. … Just possibly they may be right–a niggle in the back of the mind. The percentage odds of dying maybe slightly changed which is of little consequence but it is the dire possibility of only partially surviving a stroke and being left incapacitated that is the most frightening…and thus a decision to continue the statins.
    As there are some schools of thought that the anti inflammatory aspect of statins is beneficial but as all the statin research relates to the number of deaths in random groups but nothing apparently is recorded about those who partially survived a stroke …we are left waiting for more independent work on the subject…. Meanwhile do we continue to take supplements as suggested by Dr. Graveline.
    On the topic of ‘Cold Turkey’ ( Jennifer ) has any one else giving up received advice on ‘weaning off’ also did they experience any detrimental affects in the first weeks.
    To Dr. K’ please continue if you possibly can reporting on any relevant statin research in your own understandable style & surely we shall all purchase your next book.

    Reply
    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      The influence is not direct (at least not in the UK). However, if the guidelines say you must do x, this will direct all training in that area. Guidelines are written by Key Opinion Leaders, and Key Opinion Leaders are hopelessly financially conflicted from top to bottom. In essence, corruption is built into the fabric of medical education, even if there is nothing remotely overt, even if those doing the teaching have no idea that what they are teaching is utterly biased. It’s perfect really. Medical students really and truly believe that every woman diagnosed with osteopenia (for example) should be a bisphosphonate for the rest of their lives. Even if osteopenia is a completely made-up disease, and the treatment with bisphosphonates is completely useless. Kerching! Remote control marketing, done at such arms-length that no-one even knows they have been duped.

      Reply
      1. Flyinthesky

        Thank you for making time to reply, please don’t give up. I had to move house due to my financial curcumstances, I could no longer operate my business due to being diagnosed with terminal cancer. As a cancer sufferer my practice of over 50 years ejected me, probably as a percieved liability, for moving five minutes out of their preferred area. I haven’t or will not likely ever want a home visit. As a consequence I have been without a GP for four years. I am loathe to sign on with a new one as it seems unfair to become a liability to an accepting practice and I don’t wish to be harrangued and monetised,with the obvious confrontations, statins et al, by a new one.
        It’s a standing joke with my consultants “have you sorted your GP out yet” No, Very few have died from not having one I say, “fair comment” is the reply. Not ideal though is it.

      2. dearieme

        “if the guidelines say you must do x,…”: which means that they are not guidelines, but instructions.

  51. Sue Richardson

    As someone has suggested here, we are practically conditioned to trust our doctors, and can be frightened and anxious to ‘disobey’ them even if our common sense, and what we have read here and in other places tells us we are right to refuse statins. Only today a friend of mine woke up with one of the side effects from the statins she was taking. Her hands were clawed and very painful, and she knew that it was the statins causing it because it had happened before. She came off them that time, and the symptoms went away completely. Her doctor persuaded her to go back on them ‘at a lower dosage’ because her cholesterol needed to be lower, so she did! Even though she was well aware of what stains did to her, she trusted her doctor. I don’t know whether the fact that she had a mild heart attack 12 years ago makes the situation any more understandable. But now she’s suffering again and is too frightened to go against her GP.

    Reply
  52. Tom Lin

    In my naive thinking, there is still an old priciple in effect:
    “The Hippocratic Oath is an oath historically taken by physicians and other healthcare professionals swearing to practice medicine honestly.”‘
    But as told by Dr. Kendrick, unless you obey big pharma, your practice loses money. Filthy corruption, nothing else.

    Reply
    1. Flyinthesky

      If I may, If you are acting within the constraints of your perceived wisdom you are still acting withing the parameters of the Hippocratic Oath. The problem with all professions is to become a member of the body and to remain so one has to bow to and accept the doctrines of one’s peers.
      If you want confirmation, google, or other preferred search engine, Dr Barry Marshall on Helicobactor Pylori, they nearly ruined him for daring to challenge the orthodoxy.
      Almost all advances in science have been made by thinking outside the box, outside the prevailing wisdom and sometimes in direct conflict with it.
      If you accept the inferred wisdom, as most do, you are to all intents practicing medicine honestly.

      Reply
  53. GC

    Google statins and gastroparesis and you’ll find a scary case report of an 18 y old diabetic girl who suffered neuropathy and gastroparesis from atorvastatin 10 mg!
    Gastroparesis probably caused the stomach pain in this patient. I have already three patients with confirmed gastroparesis who were on high dose of statins and who have reported to feel better after stopping the statin. i plan to do a repeat examination after 6 months to see if gzstric evacuation has improved.

    Reply
  54. Robin J Willcourt MD

    UTTER MADNESS
    Here in OZ, the same deplorable mentality is being demonstrated on a daily basis. The Pharmacy guild and the government have been in “secret” negotiations to have ALL Aussies, have therir blood pressures, cholesterols and glucoses monitored by PHARMACISTS as a cross check that ALL of our citizens are getting drugs if their metabolic parameters are not normal!!!

    If ever this were government getting into bed with a harlot, I do not know what is.
    Here’s the link and part of the article.

    http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/pharmacy-guild-to-be-fat-cops-checking-weight-and-peoples-health/story-fneuzlbd-1226820930087

    PHARMACISTS will become fat cops under a plan that will see them measure the weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol of all Australians once a year.
    A leaked document from the Department of Health shows chemists plan to start the health checks in October this year so 1.5 million Australians can have their waistlines measured by Christmas.
    The findings would be uploaded onto a national Health Census and added to a patient’s e-health record.

    Chemists would also ask people about their smoking and alcohol intake under the Pharmacy Guild’s plan to develop an early warning plan for killer diseases it says will save the government money.
    Over time, the health check would become an annual event for all Australians.

    The Pharmacy Guild, regarded as one of the nation’s most powerful lobby groups, has detailed the plan in a confidential policy proposal before the government.

    The plan, obtained by News Corp Australia says up to 60 per cent of people with pre-diabetes could be prevented from progressing to the disease as a result of the checks, saving the health system money.
    Chemists would be paid $50 for each 30 minute health check consultation and the initial program would cost the government $75 million.
    “We put forward an offer for community pharmacies to conduct health checks which would be accessible to all Australians during a finite period of time in the latter half of 2014, with a view to establishing an annual health check that also forms an Australian Health Census,” the document says.
    “A comprehensive basic health check service will assist in early identification of disease risk in order to encourage lifestyle behavioural changes and address identified risk factors,” the paper says.
    The proposal has enraged doctors who see it as an attempt by chemists to steal their turf.

    Reply
      1. David Bailey

        The cynic in me wonders if part of the problem is that highly trained pharmacists find that most of the time they simply read prescriptions and take the corresponding box off the shelves. Are they pushing for a more sophisticated role?

      2. Susan

        I read a Medscape story recently about a similar proposition in the US to have pharmacists monitor drug compliance and also to have them adjust prescriptions based on patient reactions. All to make sure people keep taking those wonderful expensive chemicals.

    1. Sue Richardson

      Good grief, it sounds like the Secret Police are taking over in OZ. Very depressing indeed.Where will it all end? I hope they don’t start that malarkey here in the uk or we’ll be frightened to visit the pharmacy as well as our GP!

      Reply
      1. Jennifer

        The locum pharmacist at our Co-op spent 90 minutes politely and calmly explaining, for free, the pro, cons, action and interactions of my monthly chemical goody bag. Her explanation, sensitivity and knowledge far exceeded that of my abrupt and rude GP.
        I am sorry to say, our NHS GPs have shot themselves in the foot with their adherence to the ticky-box culture, and dismissive attitude towards the paying public.

  55. Flyinthesky

    There is a political dimension to all this, we have allowed all of our services to become authorities in the case of the NHS, no longer a service but an authority, the GPs are the front line enforcers of policy.

    Reply
  56. GG

    Are we still supposed to be in a democratic society or is that just in my imagination?

    Dr K, you are correct. This is all terribly depressing.

    Reply
  57. Tom Lin

    Apropos, Transient Global Amnesia as mentioned by Dr. K in the lead article, have a thought about this:

    http://www.spacedoc.com/Statins_flyer.html

    Duane Graveline MD MPH, Former USAF Flight Surgeon, Former NASA Astronaut, Retired Family Doctor says:

    “The outcome of such an event would likely be disaster. One wonders how many “pilot error” aircraft accidents just might have a TGA factor since there would be complete absence of clues to the investigative board.”

    “One can only caution against the current tendency for ever increasing use of statin drugs for primary prevention such as we now see in both military and civilian pilots. The mind-robbing potential of this class of drugs is not only theoretical – it is real. Responsible physicians must take heed.”

    Next time you take a flight, maybe ask your captain if he is on statin?

    Reply
  58. Mark Johnson

    Re the proposed testing in Australia, wouldn’t it be much more useful if the health authorities there (as well as in northern altitudes) tested for deficiencies in things such vitamin D instead? And supplementing, especially in a sunny country such as Oz is for free!

    Even though Australia is bathed in sunshine for most of the year, up to 58% of those living in Oz are vitamin D deficient (The great Aussie paradox: vitamin D deficiency rates soar – http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/the-great-aussie-paradox-vitamin-d-deficiency-rates-soar-20121023-282kg.html).

    No one ever became ill by being deficient in a statin.

    Reply
  59. David

    A propos of the Yellow Card scheme for reporting side-effects (see my previous post above) I thought I would check at the GP surgery. As I feared there were no references to it on the notice boards. I asked at reception if they had any leaflets. The receptionist looked somewhat puzzled and said she thought not. What a great strategy, invent a scheme and then keep quiet about it!

    Reply
  60. Bill Hazeldine

    After a triple by-pass operation three years ago I was infected in the hospital with a “super bog” and ended up spending over six months in the hospital on antibiotics to correct the situation; While this was going on the “specialist” had me on all sorts of drugs including statins. While in hospital I was diagnosed with type two diabetes, I have since learned that this could have been caused by the statins. I had no idea, at the time, why had the heart problem in the first place, and even less about the drugs that I were being administered. With time on my hands, I decided to do some research on my own behalf; You, Dr Kendrick are a large part of my enlightenment. Firstly I discovered that my heart problem was likely brought about by my diet plus “stress”. I had been following popular guidelines of “low fat high carb diet ” and all the guff that goes with the currant conventional medical thinking. What a wake up I have had, I was so shocked at the can of worms that I had opened that I dumped all the pharmaceutical drugs in the rubbish and moved to a location where I can raise my own vegetables and have access to Grass fed meat, free range eggs, saturated fats etc. To cut a long story short, I completely changed my life style and diet. It has taken me three years to reach my present state of health; When I was discharged from hospital I had all the side effects that have been mentioned as being caused by statins, I had joint pains, memory loss and felt generally “weak” most of the time. My blood sugar was “off the clock “and my blood pressure was “high”.
    I researched everything I could find about the chemistry of the human body, fats and oils, carbohydrates, proteins, the lipid hypothesis, Weston A. Price foundation, Statin Nation and many other articles and books. Like Alice in Wonderland, I am still looking to see how deep the rabbit burrow goes.
    To conclude this narrative; I have recovered my health completely, ( told by a doctor that I don’t have to test my blood sugar any more). My last blood test was “normal” except that the doctor told me that my blood cholesterol was too high, I told him that I was delighted with the state of my cholesterol, thanked him for his concern and continue to trust Dr Kendrick and the enlightened people who populate his side of the “lipid hypothesis”. I only visit a doctor for Free blood tests ,
    I will be eighty years of age on 24th of May 2014 and shudder when I realise that I could be either dead or very ill had I not been made aware that there is are vast industries out there that have one thing in mind, Profit.
    When I learned to fly an aeroplane, the instructor told me, “Learn by other’s mistakes, you won’t live long enough to make them all yourself !”

    Reply
    1. Christine Whitehead

      Very well done, Bill.
      I’m trying to follow you down the same road. Hope I’m as successful.

      Christine

      Reply
    2. Jennifer

      In response to Bill Hazeldine.
      Thankyou for contributing your uplifting story. I am sure that many would say your new lease of life is because of the surgery, which I am sure must have helped. ( being a registered nurse, I continue to believe that all is not detrimental in NHS; there have been wonderful innovations).
      However, your ability to change your lifestyle so fundamentally is the major key now. It is so good to read positive outcomes 3 years down the line, and, if you forgive me, at your age; I congratulate your stance. It is wonderful to have an example of reversing the debilitaing effects of over medicalization, and I take great heart from your example. At 66, I have wondered if I have left things too late…..but maybe not. Thankyou.

      Reply
      1. meadowgold

        Hi Jennifer: I now believe that had I known what I do now, twenty years ago, I would not have needed an operation at all. As I said I am still trying to find how deep the rabbit burrow goings: I think the carbohydrates were the main problem, I would eat a whole packet of biscuits at one go, I loved a batch of scones hot from the oven , and when I became aware of the amount of “processed” grains we eat in a day and what it can do to us, it was like a light had been turned on; The whole food pyramid has to be turned upside down.; I have found that there is a misunderstanding about food; Not everyone is the same, we need to find out what is best for us. Nature has given us many types of food, vegetables for cleansing, animal based foods for building. I don’t see a lot of use for processed grains and it’s down line products in my life, as soon as I discovered that, my blood sugar came into line.I eat a lot of grass fed meat, free range eggs, butter and cream. In hospital they tried to get me to eat margarine claiming that it was “heart healthy”. I now know that trans fats and all that rubbish is deadly; Here in New Zealand we are being bombarded with TV adds for all sorts of spreads and breakfast cereals that I now believe are only going to increase the load on hospitals. I learned from Dr Natasha Campbell McBride that there is no such thing as a “Healthy” breakfast cereal: I credit that lady with a large part of my salvation;

      2. Jennifer

        Hello meadowgold. I get the eeby-jeebies imagining being in hospital for any length of time, and filling in my meal request card….IMAGINE…
        Breakfast……….double espressso with large serving of double cream.
        Mid morning snack…same again, please. And SKIP the BISCUITS.
        Lunch….make it a nice breast of chicken,served with green salad, and dressed with fresh, full fat mayo. NO CHIPS. No, I don’t want the pseudo yogurt for afters, but if you can you get me an organic goat’s one…….well, goodie.
        Mid afternoon….a real cocoa, served with double cream, no sweeteners, thanks very much, and SKIP the DIGESTIVES.
        Evening meal……how about a grass fed steak….just a little one,( I’m not greedy),with a pepper creamed sauce and butter sautéed mushrooms. Forget the pud….or donate the apple to the nurses station.
        Bedtime drink…..a small cocoa again, if I have an appetite still, which is unlikely, on the other hand….do you stretch to a nip of single malt? Thought not!
        Can you imagine the Nurse’s faces? Nutter in bed 6!!!!!.
        Oh no, that wouldn’t happen, as Nurses don’t do the nutrition these days…..haven’t for years….it will be ward clerk’s job, or the cleaner’s job, or any one handy to collect the requests. Nutrition slipped of the bottom of the care plans years ago.

      3. meadowgold

        Thanks for bringing up the food in Hospital; To call it food would be some distance from the mark.The “menu” could have been taken from a four star hotel, but the resulting product consists of mostly synthetic powders. The biggest danger is the large amount of bread (carbohydrates) If you tick “Whole grain bread” in the knowledge that whole grain is at least a bit safer than white bread you receive a white bread with a slight brown tint.
        I was not long in hospital before I started to lose weight. This caused all sorts of problems for the medical staff. To solve this problem I was visited by the “nutritionists ” armed with the “food pyramid”, Needless to say they went away confused, but I succeeded in convincing them that I needed real meat and fish and fresh green salads with real butter.
        I managed to survive my time in hospital, but only just.
        Because my health has improved so much, I am often asked how this has come about. When I try to explain that it is all to do with my diet and life style, I get “but my doctor” or “but a little bit of such and such won’t hurt you”. I have reach a stage now that when I am asked the question, I answer ” do you really want to know?”, very few people REALLY want to know and can give all sorts of “reasons” for not changing their habits; My answer to that is, are they “reasons” or “excuses”, We must decide if we want to take responsibility for our own lives, or trust it to others, who in all probability are more interested in their own bank balance.
        There are very few “real” Doctors out there, Please cherish the ones that you find and tell others about them;

    3. Sue Richardson

      What an encouraging story Bill. It shows what can be done by not slavishly following the doctor’s orders (apart from the good ones like Dr K!).

      Reply
      1. meadowgold

        I am new to this site and noticed that I am coming up under “meadowgold” nothing wrong with that, to avoid any confusion: I am Bill Hazeldine and I live in New Zealand.
        One of the first things that I noticed when I drastically reduced my intake of carbohydrates and increased my saturated fats and proteins, was that I did not get hungry as much and as quickly as I did before.. I also cut out pasteurized milk, this corrected a problem that I had with my nose blocking up. I removed ALL processed foods and all fats and oils except animal fats, pure cold pressed virgin olive oil (from a local olive grove so that I know that it’s safe, I only use olive oil as a cold dressing, never heat it). I buy cold pressed pure virgin coconut oil from a trusted importer (in glass jars from The Philippines) and take at least two tablespoons a day, on my vegetables, it is the only oil that I cook with (92% saturated fat). I eat a lot of butter and cream. At first I thought that I would starve if I had to give up the convenience of “Super Market foods” and “Take Always”, not so. I have more than enough good wholesome foods with plenty of fresh vegetables, free range eggs, mutton, beef, chicken and fish. I have reintroduced whole grain bread that I make in a bread maker, but cakes, biscuits and anything with white flour and other products such as pasta and spaghetti, are out. The only vegetables that I removed are potatoes and cut down on parsnips. The only food that I have in a can is Canadian sardines (in spring water, not oil).
        I hope the above is of help to some who are fearful of making changes.
        I still have no idea how deep the rabbit burrow goes, but intend to keep on digging.

        All that is needed for evil to prosper, is for good men to do nothing.
        Edmund Burke.
        Well done Dr Kendrick, and THANK YOU.
        Bill H.
        .

  61. celia

    I guess the new NICE guidelines are going to make things even harder for you. I just listened to Professor Mark Baker (fees from unrestricted educational grants for contributions to conferences funded by members of the pharmaceutical industry) speaking this morning on the benefits of getting even more of us on statins!

    Reply
    1. Christine Whitehead

      Yes, I heard that as well. My heart sank at the thought of all those extra people on all those undetected adverse effects who could be suffering for years – as I was – all totally unnecessarily. Very depressing.

      Reply
  62. GG

    And the BBC reports today that guidelines call for millions more people to be put on statins.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-26132758

    It reports that the NHS currently spends about £450m per year on statins and if the draft recommendations go ahead the bill will increase substantially.

    Does NHS England just see patients as a commodity to shove statins down their throats and provide their most intimate and personal data to be sold off to anyone who wants it under care.data?

    Depressing is not the word.

    Reply
  63. Max Power

    This week in Sweden in the “Läkatidningen” (Doctors Journal) we have corporate shill doctor
    Peter M Nilsson saying that everyone over the age of 50 shud be taking a statin, and even advocates the use of an OTC “poly-pill” that contains a statin as the ONLY WAY to correct & handle the “global” load of CVD. Un-freakin’ real…

    Reply
  64. Sue Richardson

    Dr Kendrick, or anyone who has been on statins themselves, have you ever heard of breathlessness as an adverse effect?

    Reply
  65. jojo

    Ah, but they are cheaper now – so the NHS will save money – apart from the drugs needed to counteract the side effects……. Madness. Surely if humans needed statins, then our bodies would make it – and wouldnt make cholesterol – or is that a genetic fault???!

    Reply
  66. Marie

    Thanks Dr. Kendrick.

    I wish my mother had a doctor like you. A doctor willing to listen. A doctor interested in adverse events.
    In 2004, my mother complained about sleeping problems, muscle weakness, cramps and pain in her legs. She had asked her doctor if it could have anything to do with her medications (Zocor, Trombyl and Toprol).
    He had said – no – and ended the conversation.

    One day, I saw an article in a Swedish health magazine. It was about the cholesterol issue The writer mentioned the cholesterol skeptic network – thincs.org. That became the starting point of my “journey” on the Internet.

    I found Uffe Ravnskov`s first book – Kolesterolmyten (in Swedish). I also found many patient stories which I translated for my mother. She listened. but became worried, and asked – if I stop Zocor – which brand should I take then?
    I replied – you shouldn´t take any statin at all. All of them have similar side effects and they will destroy your quality of life.

    I told my mother that I would be glad to come along on her next appointment. She said – no. I told her that I could write a letter. She said – no. She told me that her doctor was such a kind man and, besides, he also took Zocor (=simvastatin).

    I didn´t follow my mother´s wish. I sent him two letters. I told him about my mother´s problems and asked if she could stop Zocor (little by little). He replied that it was not a good idea. Then I sent him another letter and included patient stories. He replied – still not a good idea. There had been new recommendations and even lower cholesterol numbers should be “treated”. I realised that he was more interested in following national guide lines than my mother`s quality of life.

    I felt I had given my mother the necessary information. I left it – it was up to her.
    After some months, I asked – are you still on Zocor?
    She replied – oh, no – I stopped long ago.
    She had phoned the clinic and asked the nurse to tell the doctor that she wanted to stop with Zocor and the nurse had returned the call and said that it was okay.

    My mother will soon be 94. She lives on her own and enjoys life – doing crossword puzzles, baking, reading, taking walks and shopping (with a stroller). I am so thankful that she is still here.

    Reply
    1. Sue Richardson

      Another brilliant story. Your mother was brave enough in her mid eighties to make her own decision when given the facts. She is an inspiration to others. Well done for giving her the facts, you did what you could and had the right result!

      Reply
  67. Marie

    Transient Global Amnesia
    A patient story

    I visited the hospital because it was a special Stroke Day. There were people from the local patient organisation behind tables filled with information. I read some brochures because I wanted to see which drug company was involved.
    I took a seat and next to me was a lady, around 80-85.
    I asked her if she was there because she had suffered a stroke.
    She said – no, I have heart problems.
    I told her that I was interested in health care, particularly medications/adverse effects, and that several relatives hade been on simvastatin. As suspected, she said – I am also taking simvastatin. I asked if she had ever wondered if any problems that she had could be due to the medication and she said – not really.

    I told her about pains, cramps, tinnitus, increased blood glucose etc. and ended with Dr. Duane Gravline´s story (spacedoc.net ). Suddenly, she said – now. I have to tell you something. I have never told this story before.
    It happened a few years ago. I still had my driver´s licence.

    I was driving to a friend. I had driven the same way many times, but suddenly I had to stop because I didn´t know how to continue. I returned home and started all over again and it went well. I was delayed and my friend asked – what happened – why are you so late? I made up a story. I just couldn´t tell her. I didn’t understand what had happened to me. It was so scary.

    Reply
  68. Marie

    Transient Global Amnesia ?
    A patient story

    One day I visited a cafeteria and met my sister´s friend. She worked there.
    She sat down with me for some minutes.
    I asked how she and her husband were doing and she said – don´t you know what happened?
    X had to go to the emergency department by ambulance.
    Then she told me the whole story.
    That morning she had talked to her husband before leaving for work.
    Two hours later X phoned and asked her – did we talk to each other this morning?. He could not remember what had happened. He thought he had taken a walk – but was not sure. She became worried and phoned a nurse who ordered an ambulance.
    She hurried home before going to the hospital. Just before leaving, she remembered to put his last medication – Lipitor – in her handbag.
    X went through all kinds of X-rays, blood tests etc. but they could not find anything out of the ordinary. He was told “things like this can happen”.
    As they were about to leave for home, his wife remembered the Lipitor-bottle in her handbag. She handed it over to the doctor and asked – could there be any connection to this medication?
    The doctor replied, without checking, without hesitation – absolutely no.
    Later that evening they decided to read the package insert – and there it was – amnesia.

    Reply
  69. Fiona Weir

    See also Dr John Briffa’s blog today, ‘It’s about time some people were straight with the statistics on statins’.

    Reply
  70. Marie

    Memory problems etc.
    A patient story

    This story was told by a lady (= M, 70-75 years old). We used to see each other at the bus stop. Some years ago, she suffered a mild stroke and was put on medications. One of them was Lipitor (=atorvastatin). After some time, M began to have memory problems (she is very fond of cross word puzzles) and she suspected that it was an adverse effect of Lipitor. She also suffered from cramps and sleeping problems.

    At the time, she had no Internet, had not read any critical books and I had not talked to her. She had, simply, listened to her body, read the package insert and used her common sense.

    M complained to a visiting nurse. She asked the nurse to tell the prescribing doctor that she didn´t want to continue with Lipitor as she suspeced it affected her memory. The nurse refused and said – you are playing Russian Roulette with your life, you might end up in a wheel chair or die (M is still alive).

    As soon as M was well enough she made an appointment with a doctor.
    They had seen each other before. She repeated what she had told the nurse and he reacted in the same fashion. He tried to scare M to obedience, but he did not succed.

    M told him to a make a note that that this was her own decision..
    She also said – I want you to send a report to Läkemedelsverket (=Swedish authority) as I suspect that my memory has deteriorated because of Lipitor,
    He said – why should I do that? No-one has ever asked me to do such a thing.

    Reply
  71. Marie

    Memory problems again
    A patient story

    This is about a man (65-70) who went through an operation for benign brain tumors but suffered from bleading some time after the operation. He was put on simvastatin and enalapril. He was used to reading/writing a lot in his career, but,unfortunately, he lost those skills.

    Whenever we saw each other in town I used to ask him how he was doing and if he was still on simvastatin. One day, I told him about Dr.Duane Gravelines TGA-experience. He, immediately, reacted and told me his story.
    He used to cycle every day in order to keep as fit as possible. It didn´t matter if it was rain or shine.
    One day he was in an area where he had been many times, but suddenly he didn´t know which route to take. He had to stop and “wait for the memory to return”.
    That`s how he explained it. It had been a very scary experience and he had no idea why it had happened.

    .

    Reply
  72. Marie

    floxiehope.com

    I hope you don´t mind that I, suddenly, turn to a different class of medications – the fluoroquinolone antibiotics with names such as Cipro (=ciprofloxacin), Levaquin (=levofloxacin), Avelox (=moxifloxacin) etc. The names of the substances often include – flox
    They are also found in certain ear- and eyedrops. Fluoroquinolones/quinolones are sold under different product names in different parts of the world.

    A relative was given this type of antibiotics. That`s why I started to google in 2005 and found many, many stories by people who were “floxed”. I was so surprised. I had never heard of such a thing. I discovered Stephen Frieds book – Bitter Pills – and I read many patient stories at askapatient.com.

    It has always struck me that the adverse effects of statins and fluoroquinolones are very similar. It seems as if the problems can become more – or less – permanent.

    Some time ago I found floxiehope.com, a very interesting site made by a recovered “floxie” who wants to help others and to give hope. Lisa was only 32 when she was given a fluoroquinolone and became very, very ill with lots of different symptoms that no-one could understand. Please visit her site .Her latest article is called – I AM.

    There are also many stories on u-tube. One documentary (6 parts) is called – Certain Adverse Events (?).

    I wish patients/doctors would have “adverse effects” as one possible cause among many others.

    P.S. Ciproispoison is another interesting site.

    Reply
    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      Interesting. I do prescribe cipro (but I am very, very cautious with it). I think it is very toxic. I had a lady whose achilles tendon snapped after taking it (now a recognised adverse-effect).

      Reply
  73. Marie

    Fluoroquinolones – again

    Statins and fluoroquinolones can both cause tendonities and tendon ruptures.
    They are also fluorinated drugs.
    Please google ”Avelox Has Taken My Life Away”
    (Source: lawyersandsettlements.com/articles)

    Reply
  74. Marie

    A Patient Story from Sweden – Zocor (=simvastatin)
    Woman (=R) in her late sixties

    Today, I met a couple who live in the same village as my mother.
    R and my mother used to go to the same doctor.

    In 2005 my mother and I visited their shop and had a little chat.
    R told us that she was suffering from pains.
    I responded – I hope you are not taking statins like Zocor (=simvastatin), Lipitor (=atorvastatin) etc. She laughed and said – I am.taking Zocor.

    I wondered if she had diabetes, heart disease or high cholesterol numbers. She told us that there were such health issues in the family and therefore she was taking a statin to prevent.

    I suggested that she should read a book by Uffe Ravnskov and I told her that her pains could be adverse effects of the medication. Then I promised to send her some interesting information.

    Today we ran into each other, after several years, and I was curious to hear how she was doing. She said – don´t you know what happened?

    After some years, the pains in her back and hips had become worse.
    She was told that she had a ruptured disc and had to go through surgery.
    The pains didn´t stop. She thought, maybe, the healing didn´t progress as it should.

    R was transferred to the regional pain clinic.
    She went through several tests, cortisone injections, different pain medications including morphine – but nothing helped. Eventually, she had problems to stand and walk. She had to use a walker The staff was very kind, used to phone and ask how she was doing, but no-one ever thought about drug-induced pains.

    One day her husband went to the pharmacy to pick up a new package of Zocor but the delivery was delayed. Then, there was further delay. To her surprise,R was feeling better. She phoned the new health clinic and spoke to a female doctor. R asked if she could take a “drug holiday” and the doctor agreed.

    The weeks went by and R became better, little by little, and eventually she could walk on her own. The pains were gone, the nerve pains. The staff at the pain clinic had told her that they would never go away.

    I asked – didn´t you feel angry?
    She said – no.
    The doctor who prescribed Zocor was such a kind and caring man.
    He told me that he was taking the same kind of medication. For me that was a guarantee that it was good and safe, but the last time I saw him he was more ill than I and I didn´t want to burden him with my aches and pains.

    I remember that you warned me long ago and also sent me some information but I wasn´t ready at the time.

    Reply
  75. D Lynch

    Thank God for small mercies. Today I was prescribed Simvastatin 40mg for high cholesterol, and having never heard of it, decided to find out a little more. I was reading the Mail Online’s “six foods that will cut your cholesterol” when I happened upon this blog….needless to say, the drugs went straight in the fire!!!

    Reply
  76. Laocoon

    My U.S. doctors have wanted me on statins since age 35. I have total cholesterol at 240 but with good ratios and excellent QOL/longevity in nonsmoking family members. For the past 20 years I have tried every statin as it has come on the market. I was so sick from these (some more than others, some more quickly than others, and so on) that I put my career on hold. Of course, by US standards, I wasn’t disabled. Given that my salary level was US $150-200,000 per year, I estimated the cost of station intolerance to me personally to be $2-3 million. Moreover, the loss, in terms of personal relationships, feeling lousy, loss of strength, and additional medical treatment to counteract the side effects, has been enormous also. I am now completely off statins and after six months I’m almost starting to feel like my old self. I sort of buy the case for secondary prevention, but not for primary prevention if there are side effects. We need to be measuring quality of life. I can’t get those 15 years back from the peak of my career. I also can’t regain my trust in physicians, several of whom were angry and argumentative with me (“It’s all in your head” about the side effects.) It’s an outrage, and no better here than what you are reporting in UK,

    Reply
  77. Anne O'Neil

    But… what do you do as a man of 57 who has been taking statins since having 2 heart attacks and a triple by-pass op around 17 years ago, and they tell you things like ” I have had 4 patients come off their statins voluntarily in the last few months and all of them had heart attacks” ??? It all becomes depressing. Lifestyle was far different then and for the past few months in particular has been vastly different to anything before. the doctor in question hadn’t heard of you, nor the diet that we have adopted, but wasn’t keen on a high fat diet nor of allowing the stopping of statins or Metformin even though a great many factors have improved. It all becomes very depressing when you just know that they simply don’t even understand what they are telling you and continue to refer to LDL and HDL as “cholesterol”!!!

    I’m in the middle of reading your book and learning plenty, but I wish I could find a doctor in our area that would be willing to follow your advice and at least give us a better answer to the questions we have instead of trying to bamboozle us with science. If my husband has to stay on statins then fine, but the arguments we are hearing are just not very convincing 😦

    Reply
  78. Bryan Hemming

    After a heart attack I was put on statins here in Spain.

    Following advice, I radically changed my diet and cut out all food high in cholesterol while increasing the amount of exercise I took. As I don’t have a car it was already a reasonable amount. But I soon found that ten minutes brisk walking started to produced pains in my tibia, which meant I had to rest at times. I began suffering indigestion, despite being prescribed pills specifically prescribed to relieve it, and started coughing on a regular basis, particularly at night. Sometimes there was an increase in my heartbeat and occasionally my breathing became a little laboured, I also broke out in night sweats from time to time.

    There were other side-effects that may have been a result of the statins, but as I have read about possible side-effects connected with the particular statin I was taking, I don’t want to fall into the trap of auto-suggestion.

    The last doctor I saw suggested a change, but after further consultation, went on to say I probably shouldn’t take statins at all. I got the impression she had no faith whatsoever in statins but precribed them simply because they had originally been prescribed at the hospital. The fact that I was interested in knowing more encouraged her to offer her true opinion.

    Within a short time of stopping the pain in my tibia stopped, the coughing stopped, and I could exercise more. My breathing was a little slower to recover, but is now normal. I slept better and there were other improvements to my health, But the biggest benefit was the overall sense of well-being stopping produced.

    In my mind, it is much better to change your lifestyle by cutting out alcohol, increasing exercise, and improving your diet than taking statins. The one-rule-for-all being put forward by NICE is not the way forward. All our bodies are different and need different solutions.

    Things like stress must be given much more emphasis. I know a long period of stress (ten years) not only was one of the biggest factors in causing my illness, but also encouraged the bad habits that exacerbate bad health, such as smoking and periods of heavy drinking, as well as lower self-esteem and a negative outlook.

    It is all to easy for over-stretched doctors with surgeries full of patients requiring instant pharmaceutical solutions for their problems to prescibe medicines. But for a healthy population changes in perception are desperately needed. We need politicians prepared to reject the idea of a consumer-driven society where success is judged on house ownership and the size of the car in your garage. And we need doctors prepared to educate their patients, not to withhold information, which is in their patients’ best interests to know.

    Your blog seems to be doing all these things, and I thank you for convincing me taking statins is not the only solution to lowering heart disease, and they may, in fact, cause irreperable damage.

    Reply
  79. As above

    My Gp suggested that I should commence on statins. On the 3rd day of commencing statins I developed joint pain which I believed was due to the very humid weather. On the 5th day a very itchy rash developed across my ribs and abdomen. On the 6th day my hands swelled to the point where I could not move them and I developed an extremely itchy rash on the palms. I was put on steroids by the Out of Hours service. On the 7th day I was unable to walk properly and the steroids were increased. On the 9th day I was sent into hospital under a blue light with blood pressure of 209/178 and a total lock down of my hands, wrists, knees and in extreme pain with severe swelling of all joints as listed above. The main fear was that I was going to suffer a major stroke.

    I was placed under the care of a rheumatologist who subsequently informed me that I had been very lucky as my reaction had been very severe but some have been seen suffering from muscle necrosis. I was also informed that due to the severity of my reaction I fell within a very high percentage of developing an auto-immune illness as a result. This all happened 7 weeks ago and it has been found that I have a low neutrophil count and I seem to be developing an inflammatory arthritis. All very depressing for someone who has always been very active.

    I am a NHS practice manager and succumbed to the persuasion of my Gp that statins would be the correct course of action. When I replay the events of the last few weeks and the build up to my admission I realise that the information out there for the lay person is inadequate and somewhat misleading and that we are all guilty of bowing to the pressure of taking the so called wonder drugs.

    I am full of self reproach that I permitted myself to be persuaded to take the statins in the first place and secondly that I did not recognise the accumalative effect that they were having. When I met with my Gp after my discharge he was very supportive and apologetic. He was following NICE guidelines and that I can understand and appreciate. However, no matter what support is proffered it does not take away the fact that I will have to live and learn to cope with consequences.

    What I cannot accept is the fact that most Gps do not report these severe reactions as they are, I quote, too busy, As a working member of the NHS I can relate to that statement as well but obviously this lack of non-reporting adverse effects is skewing all the figures.

    My partner took photos of my joints on the sixth day and the day I was admitted so if you want to see pictures of the effects of a severe systemic allergic reaction to statins please contact me.

    Reply
  80. Jane

    As a patient, it is an absurdity to have to make the decision to take a statin. However, most pharmaceutical interventions are experimental. If one has sufficient indications for the use of statins, reading of the horror of them is not helpful. Case studies do not exclude negative side effects, so one must wonder just what is being hidden; it would appear that nothing is being hidden. One reads articles such as the one here, and the comments, and shortly, wonders about the validity of the comments as they are more skewed, due to the theme, than one finds in the general population.

    Then, there is the issue of other beneficial qualities of statins. Case studies show, for example, a decrease in the need for surgical intervention in cases of bowel obstruction when statins are used. That could be a consideration.

    Yet, reading the complete drug information, (and without the necessary advanced degree in chemistry and biology), the evidence seems overwhelming questionable.

    There must be greater balance between the pros and the cons in order to make an educated decision. Ostensibly, physicians can make that call, but in fact, how many take the individual’s status into full account. For that matter, I see no reassurance here that the anti-statin physician does either. Rock and hard place is far more critical to patients than to physicians.

    Reply
  81. Mary

    I was put on 20 mg pravastatin 20 years ago. 5 weeks ago the do tor said my cholesterol had gone up so put me on Lipitor. I have never felt so ill. Stomach pains, back pains, severe rashes. Feeling generally ill. Went back to the doctor. Took me off the statins.nsent me for a scan.
    Have to go nest week for results. Has anyone else experienced this? Is it just statin withdrawal? What do we take that is natural to reduce cholesterol?

    Reply
    1. Jennifer

      Mary, why do you think you need to REDUCE your ‘cholesterol level’ in the first place? Is it because your doctor has told you it must be reduced?
      What evidence is there to suggest that so many of us ‘suffer’ from high cholesterol levels?
      Who has decided what constitutes ‘high’?
      After reading round this topic for years now, and more intensely since February 2013, when I ditched every medication I had been ingesting for over 10 years, I can tell you that my questions are very relevant. I can only advise that you find the answers either in this blog, or by reading the books and papers mentioned by the bloggers here.
      You may decide you do not even need to find an alternative for the statins now removed from your prescription.
      Good luck, and enjoy researching the issue, because it is fascinating.
      Your blood numbers from the laboratory are a miniscule aspect…..there are issues regarding undue Big Pharma influence, dieteticians and nutritionists who are living in the past, medics who are cowering under fear of rocking the boat….it goes on and on.

      Reply
  82. B

    My Cholesterol was 4 on leaving hospital it is now 2.1 .. I’m being told I have to take 80mg statin for keeping my blood from becoming sticky, as I did had a small blockage in one artery, and the statin will help – any views?

    Reply
      1. Jennifer

        Dr Kendrick….Now that the clocks have gone back….do you have any more scary stories for these dark winter evenings?

  83. sixofonehalfadozonoftheother

    I been taking 40mg since having 3 stents fitted in March last year. I was more tired they usual but was prepared to put up with this but now I have erectile dysfunction which I’m not prepared to put up with (no pun intended) as a side effect. I’m going to see my doctor this week but intend to stop taking statins to see if this is a side effect. How long should I give it till the statin effect wears off? I’m 59 use the gym, vegetarian and am quite fit, my high cholesterol at around 7 is genetic I think but is down to about 5 on statins. I do have a sweet tooth though so cutting down on sugar maybe good. I’m been on the 5/2 diet with my wife for several years have lost weight and feel lots better for it.

    Reply

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