Statins and Lifestyle Induced Illness

Discussion in 'Health and medical' started by Zee, Dec 16, 2003.

  1. Zee

    Zee Guest

    By Warren Bell, MD (reprinted with author permission)

    Lost in all this heated discussion of OTC statin use is the whole issue of the appropriate role of
    drugs as a treatment for what is manifestly a disease of lifestyle in 95% of cases. It is
    interesting to see that the FDA has, without comment, shifted its ground (unless, of course, it was
    already there beforehand) to a discussion of drug therapy in an utter therapeutic vacuum -- just
    what the industry wants it to do! No mention of the relative value of exercise, diet, stress, non-
    drug biological supplements or dietary augmentation (e.g. garlic), or environmental influences (one
    scientist proposed that heart attacks in Los Angeles on "bad air days" be called 'lung attacks'
    instead). In the feeding frenzy around OTC vs Rx availability, we are losing our sense of
    proportion, and along with it, our humanity. Here's a little more evidence along these lines. The
    latest issue of Nutrition Action, the newsletter of the Centre for Science in the Public Interest,
    discusses the safety of supplements. CSPI is a fine organization, founded out of Ralph Nader's many
    anti-corporate activities, and usually quite enlightened and hard-hitting in its perpective. Yet the
    CSPI, in this issue, recommends that children and pregnant women avoid taking garlic and soy
    isoflavones supplements "until more research is done". The article does acknowledge that "most
    reactions are rare: in some cases they are based on just one or two reports from physicians". But
    even allowing for the modest difference in supplementary formulation vs food sources, is this not
    amazing overkill? There are dozens of reports of statins causing severe and even fatal reactions.
    One member of this class, Bayer's Baycol, is off the market because it was the worst of the lot, but
    the others all do this to some degree -- it's inherent in their mode of action. They all deplete
    stores of co-enzyme Q10, which is a critical metabolic element in a wide variety of physiological
    processes. How many people have turned up in a critical care setting with "garlic-induced fulminant
    hepatitis", or "soy isoflavone-related dementia"?! How many people end up in the ER with exercise-
    induced renal failure? (I'm talking about exercise when "used as directed by recognized experts").
    How many folks haunt the ICU with "square-dancing-related pulmonary fibrosis"? How about "music-
    induced hyperkalemia"? We're going nutty, driven by a corporate agenda that wants us to see "a pill
    for every ill" as the only way to fly. OTC, Rx, coin-operated machines, free give-aways -- industry
    doesn't care, as long as our first thought, when we feel unwell, is to take a drug. I believe there
    is a universal rule of biochemistry underlying all this. Molecules (and the behaviours that produce
    them) that have been around for a few million years, and tested empirically by billions of people
    without discernible adverse effects beyond highly predictable or nuisance ones (garlic breath, exercise-
    induced fatigue, music-related procrastination, love-induced foolishness) are likely to safe.
    Molecules invented a few months, years, or decades ago by a person who's primary goal is to find a
    patentable substance that is safe enough to make it through a mickey-mouse testing process onto the
    market where it is likely to produce billions of dollars of profit -- such molecules are unlikely to
    be safe, and are potential causes of "stealth" reactions that are unpredictable and dangerous. I
    know there's always exceptions, but I believe the general rule still holds. And we haven't even
    mentioned the fact of the industrial world siphoning most of the world's resources in order the
    create the conditions of super-excess of everything that allow "diseases of affluence" to happen in
    the first place, and also provide the materials for a huge chemical industry to develop around it.
    And then using force of arms or threat thereof to maintain this obscene imbalance.