Tag Archives: Statins

ON A STATIN???…YOU MAY BE PROTECTED FROM EBOLA

virus blueAs those of you who read my blog know, STATIN medications like Lipitor, Zocor, Pravachol, and Crestor have been shown to have potential benefits in reducing complications of pneumonia and sespsis (overwhelming bloostream infection).  I have posted about this in the past….READ>>>>HERE<<<<

Now, some researchers are suggesting a broad use of these medications to prevent overwhelming infection in victims of EBOLA, reasoning that such an infection has many similiarities to sepsis in how the body reacts and is injured by the infectious agent.  A cascade of chemical reactions internally to the virus, mediated by self-generated chemicals, is a large part of the aberration causing physical collapse.  If the broad population at risk, including children, was on such an inexpensive medication preventively, then if they became infected, they would run a milder and safe course.

Of course this is only speculation, but as the researchers note….what do we have to lose when we have so little to offer victims of the infection right now.  It just may be time to use statins broadly in the West African nations to prevent death fro EBOLA.

Read more >>>>>HERE<<<<<

MORE ENCOURAGING NEWS FOR NOVEL CHOLESTEROL MEDICATION

VITRUVIAN MANAn injectable cholesterol medication, known as PCSK9 inhibitors, are emerging as an effective treatment for those who cannot tolerate statins like Lipitor, or who cannot achieve goal levels of cholesterol with standard medication.

A spate of new studies published at the American College of Cardiology meetings show that these forms of medication are safe, effective at reducing cholesterol 50+%, and are well-tolerated.  In addition, some of the study information shows heart attack and stroke reductions, the endpoint most important in treatment of cholesterol.

These injections will be once a week or once a month, and will work via blockage of  a protein involved in LDL (bad cholesterol) clearance.  The anti-PCSK9 agents include Amgen’s evolocumab, alirocumab from Sanofi and Regeneron and Pfizer’s bococizumab.

Read more >>>>>>>HERE<<<<<<.

STATINS KEEP THE BRAIN PLUMP!

brain lightbulbJust today I had a patient tell me about a naturopath doctor who suggested that they stop their statin medication due to the fact that they may cause problems with brain function.  This comment is of uncertain accuracy, but they are talking about some concerns that have been raised about lowering cholesterol, and it’s effects on the brain, which has a high quantity of cholesterol within it’s cells.

Alternative thoughts tend to hold sway; that statins are good for the brain, preventing strokes and other brain injuries.  Add to this list, a study from THE LANCET that shows improved brain size in patients with Multiple Sclerosis who are on high doses of statins.  It is postulated that statins have a protective effect on the brain tissue, helping blood flow, and that this accounts for their findings in 140 patients studied.

So….do not worry that your statin is causing brain damage, feel confident that it is potentially beneficial, but certainly not a worry as regards brain danger.

 

STATIN COMPETITOR ON THE HORIZON

dreamstime_l_17339305Statins (Lipitor, Crestor & others)  are effective, safe, and have been shown to prevent heart attacks and strokes.  Now, a new competitor is potentially coming to market, as it continues to show promise in lowering bad (LDL) cholesterol by 50-66%.  This group of medications are called anti-PSCK9 agents  & include Amgen’s evolocumab, alirocumab from Sanofi and Regeneron and Pfizer’s bococizumab.

These are injectible medications, they are showing promise and safety.  Further studies will confirm if they prevent heart attacks and strokes, and if they do so, they will offer an alternative agent for patients with heart disease, and in particular will be available for those are are unable to tolerate statins due to muscle or liver issues.

Read more  >>>>>HERE.

THE PENDULUM SWINGS BACK!

charlie chapThe latest guidelines for cholesterol treatment have been changed once again, and this time in  good direction.

Rather than focusing on ‘goal numbers’ the the measure of success, the newest guidelines for cholesterol treatment take a more moderate approach, and focus on getting the ‘right’ people on medication and lowering their cholesterol effectively, if not massively.  This NY Times article summarizes the latest concerns nicely.

Now, rather than focusing on guidelines and goal-numbers, we can use our statin medications (Lipitor, Pravachol, Zocor, Crestor) to gain reasonable cholesterol reductions knowing that the lion’s share of the benefits come with modest dosing and results.  Yes…more can be better, but incrementally so.  Pushing things to their limits is not necessarily more-and-more is better-and-better.

Like Twain noted…..”It’s not what you don’t know that gets you in trouble…it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

STATINS AND MEMORY….GOOD NEWS

brainI hear from patients that they have concerns that statins (cholesterol lowering medication like Lipitor, Zocor, etc…) can cause memory loss and that they have read this in the paper.  This question has been raised at times and the information is mixed.

On one hand, as a strong medication to prevent stroke, it is thought cholesterol-lowering medication should reduce cognitive decline by prevent strokes and microstrokes and thus preventing multiple brain injuries that could increase the likelihood of dementia.

On the other hand, cholesterol is an important component of all cells, and in particular the cells of the CNS (central nervous system….read brain) and by interfering with normal cholesterol production, they may cause unanticipated injury to these cells and impair memory.

Enter the latest ‘meta analysis’…a study of various studies, that shows no evidence of cognitive decline with statins.   In a revew of 25 different studies, they found no issues of significant memory loss and this data is considered reassuring to those of us (myself included) on statin medication.

Although this is reassuring, more data will be forthcoming and we will keep an eye on this topic as it is of keen interest.  For now, I think we can feel confident in the ongoing safety of these widely used medications.

The study in Annals of Internal Medicine

A PATIENT ASKS ABOUT VITAMIN D TO HELP WITH MUSCLE PAIN FROM STATIN MEDICATIONS….AND I RESPOND

BOOK ON HEALTHDoctor Lakin…can you give me your thoughts re: interaction between Crestor and Vitamin D (1000 units)…I have been taking both daily for a while as I heard that Vitamiin D will help stave off the muscular pain produced from the statin………R.S.
RS;

 Had not seen such data until you mentioned it.  There is one article of interest (see below)

VITAMIN D AND STATINS
You have to take super dosages of Vitamin D to mimic the articles results:

50,000 units twice weekly for 3 weeks…then 1 weekly after that.  It worked approximately 80% of the time.

So…let’s try it if you are interested.  You’ll be my first patient and we’ll see how you do with it…..then perhaps I’ll have others give it a go.

Plan;

Begin Vitamin D 50,000 units twice a week for 3 weeks….while holding your statin (Crestor)

In 3 weeks…Resume your statin…and reduce Vitamin D to 50,000 units once a week.

So this for 2 months (total of 3 months)…then if doing well….stop the Vitamin D at these dosages and switch to 2,000 units daily (a reasonable daily dose)…over the counter

Let’s see if that works.

 

DR. LAKIN

PS…..up to 10,000 units of Vitamin D long-term has been shown to be safe.

PPS….You can get Vitamin D Toxicity…I’ve seen a patient do it…but it’s unocommon and these dosages should work fine and be safe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

STATIN MEDICATIONS CAN HAVE SNEAKY SIDE EFFECTS

Pillsslideshow1Hi Dr. Lakin–

I’m forwarding this message because it speaks to an issue that has concerned me for some time.  I have been working out consistently, lifting weights and stretching twice a week, walking or bicycling twice a week and doing yoga twice per week, for several years now, and have felt that I was not making much progress in terms of aerobic capacity and developing muscle mass.  The research reported in the attached email suggests some reasons why that may be.  When I meet with you in June, I would like to discuss how we might manage this situation, or whether we should even try.

From The New York Times:PHYS ED: Can Statins Cut the Benefits of Exercise?An important new study suggests that statins, the cholesterol-lowering medications that are the most prescribed drugs in the world, may block some of the fitness benefits of exercise, one of the surest ways to improve health.Statins and Exercise:  NY Times

Signed;

T

Dear T:

Interesting…and this is something I’ve wondered a bit, as I take a statin (very low dose) and that is does impair my physical capacity slightly.  That said, my dad had bypass at 54…so I feel the need for some help (imperfect diet, and all).  Certainly, the potential for insidious side effects of medications are something to consider, and this may be one of those cases.
As always, the balance of benefits and risks need to be considered on a case-by-case basis and individualized to the particular person.

We can revisit when we get together….thanks for sending.

Dr. L

INSIDIOUS SIDE EFFECTS OF STATINS?

dreamstime_l_374131

Hi Dr. Lakin–

I’m forwarding this message because it speaks to an issue that has concerned me for some time.  I have been working out consistently, lifting weights and stretching twice a week, walking or bicycling twice a week and doing yoga twice per week, for several years now, and have felt that I was not making much progress in terms of aerobic capacity and developing muscle mass.  The research reported in the attached email suggests some reasons why that may be.  When I meet with you in June, I would like to discuss how we might manage this situation, or whether we should even try.
From The New York Times:PHYS ED: Can Statins Cut the Benefits of Exercise?An important new study suggests that statins, the cholesterol-lowering medications that are the most prescribed drugs in the world, may block some of the fitness benefits of exercise, one of the surest ways to improve health.Statins and Exercise:  NY Times

Signed;
T

Dear T:

Interesting…and this is something I’ve wondered a bit, as I take a statin (very low dose) and that is does impair my physical capacity slightly.  That said, my dad had bypass at 54…so I feel the need for some help (imperfect diet, and all).  Certainly, the potential for insidious side effects of medications are something to consider, and this may be one of those cases.
As always, the balance of benefits and risks need to be considered on a case-by-case basis and individualized to the particular person.
We can revisit when we get together….thanks for sending.

Dr. L

STATINS SHOW PROMISE FOR INFECTIONS

bacteria petri dishStatin medications such as Lipitor, Crestor, and Zocor are used to prevent heart attacks and strokes, but there has been evidence that they can prevent injury and death from serious infection. The data has been mixed on this topic, and a recent report supports the use of these medications, particularly for people already on the medication who get sick with an infection that results in hospitalization.

The mechanism of protection is thought to be through a reduction in inflammatory chemicals that connect to cholesterol production. Continuing Lipitor during the Intensive Care Unit stay for people already on Lipitor upon arriving at the hospital dropped the death rate from 28% to 5%. So…if you are on a statin, know that is may be providing even more protection that you imagined in this critical setting.
http://www.atsjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1164/rccm.201209-1718OC