Statins and cholesterol

Statins are among the most commonly prescribed drugs for diabetics, regarded by the vast majority of the medical profession as a cheap and safe way of lowering cholesterol which is blamed for increasing the risk of cardiovascular problems.

Here’s the official NHS line: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cholesterol-lowering-medicines-statins/Pages/Introduction.aspx

tablets

A number of people do claim, however, that side effects such as muscle pain and memory impairment are more common than is generally acknowledged.

There is a debate going on about what research has actually proven about statin use, how much is speculation and who has been shown to benefit.

Sticking with the official NHS line, this is a view of that debate: http://www.nhs.uk/news/2011/01January/Pages/cholesterol-lowering-statin-drugs-examined.aspx

Opinion on the forum tends toward the sceptical about statin use and the benefit/side-effect balance.

One thing is regarded as certain on the forum: unless patients get what is known as a full lipid panel that breaks down the levels of HDL (so-called ‘good’ cholesterol); LDL (so-called ‘bad’ cholesterol); and triglycerides, then they can’t make informed judgements. The total cholesterol figure many people get is meaningless as the basis of treatment – after all it could comprise mainly ‘good’ cholesterol.

A forum search will open many threads that discuss statin use. Consider them as another viewpoint to factor into your own decision making and discussions with your own GP.

Typical of these threads are:

http://www.diabetes-support.org.uk/forum/Blah.pl?m-1228240897/#num14 (presenting a particular view on use of statins in women of childbearing age)

http://www.diabetes-support.org.uk/forum/Blah.pl?m-1273135409/s-5/highlight-statins/#num5 (includes links to various reports of negative effects)

http://www.diabetes-support.org.uk/forum/Blah.pl?m-1273568559/s-9/highlight-statins/#num9 (typical general member discussion on statins).

Another personal point of view can be seen in the blog of one of our most respected members, Alan:

http://loraldiabetes.blogspot.com/2009/10/cholesterol-fats-carbs-statins-and.html

Read around and make up your own mind.