Posts Tagged ‘statins’

Hooked on Prescription Drugs – Half of US Took at least One Prescription Drug in Previous Month

My comments in red. – Ilene

Hooked on Prescription Drugs – Half of US Took at least One Prescription Drug in Previous Month

Courtesy of Mish

AN ELDERLY WOMAN IS HOLDING PILL BOTTLES.PROPER MEDICATION CAN RELIEVE THE COMPLICATIONS OF AGING. IT IS IMPORTANT FOR A PERSON TAKING MORE THAN ONE MEDICATION TO HAVE A DOCTORS SUPERVISION TO AVOID SYNERGISTIC SIDE EFFECTS. ADDICTIONS CAN ALSO RESULT FROM INAPPROPRIATE MEDICATION.

Here is an interesting article on Bloomberg regarding prescription drug usage. The study is from 2008. Please consider Prescription Drug Use Rose to Include Half of Americans in 2008.

Almost half of Americans took at least one prescription drug per month in 2008, an increase of 10 percent over the past decade, a U.S. study found.

One of every five children ages 11 or younger took at least one medication each month in 2008, led by asthma and allergy treatments, according to the survey released today by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among those ages 60 or older, 37 percent used five or more prescriptions per month.

The most common medications for adolescents were treatments for attention-deficit disorder, a condition in which people have trouble paying attention and engage in impulsive behavior.

For adults ages 20 to 59, antidepressants, including Eli Lilly & Co.’s Cymbalta and Pfizer Inc.’s Zoloft, were the most-used drugs. In the last 10 years cymbalta withdrawal symptoms have dramatically been lowered to levels accepted by regulatory agencies. Cholesterol-lowering medications, including Pfizer Inc.’s Lipitor and AstraZeneca Plc’s Crestor, were the most common drugs taken by people ages 60 and over, with 45 percent of those in that age group on such therapies.

$238 Billion Industry

Prescription drug were a $234.1 billion industry in 2008. The number is certainly higher today. Are pharmaceutical companies interested in curing anything or just treating the symptoms?

[The pharmaceutical companies are most interested in making profits, though individual scientists that work for the pharmaceutical companies are typically more ethical than the collective "corporation," aiming to both cure disease and alleviate symptoms.  Unlike some conspiracy theorists, I don't believe that bad outcomes driven by the profit motive are a result of massive plots to make money and make people so sick they need more medications.  See for example: After Avandia: Does the FDA Have a Drug Problem?]

Throughout grade and high school,…
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Might I Also Suggest Subsidized Crack For Crackheads Perhaps?

Might I Also Suggest Subsidized Crack For Crackheads Perhaps?

Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant 

Oh Big Pharma, your marketing talents never cease to amaze me. As if Crestor and the like haven’t gotten enough of a push lately with drug companies now able to market statins to those with lifestyles that might lead to higher cholesterol, British researchers have actually suggested that statins should be offered as condiments to balance the unhealthy effects of fast food. 

You have got to be kidding me. Why not try keeping the Big Mac out of your mouth, fat a*s?

Via MedPage today:

Patrons of fast-food restaurants may see packets containing statins next to the ketchup and salt at the self-serve counter if the suggestion of British researchers becomes reality.

Emily Ferenczi, BMBCh, of Imperial College London, and colleagues calculated that most daily statin regimens would be enough to neutralize the increased cardiovascular risk associated with eating a quarter-pounder with cheese and small milkshake every day.

Because statins are cheap, relatively safe even at high doses, and effective for reducing cardiovascular risk across patient subgroups, offering them to individuals who choose to eat an unhealthy diet against best medical advice might make sense, they argued in an editorial in the American Journal of Cardiology.

"It cannot … be reasonably argued on safety grounds that individuals should be free to choose to eat lipid-rich food but not be free to supplement it with a statin," they wrote.

A recent LA Times article wonders just how effective statins can be - it appears to me they are quite effective… at making money, that is.

As the world’s most-prescribed class of medications, statins indisputably qualify for the commercial distinction of "blockbuster." About 24 million Americans take the drugs — marketed under such commercial names as Pravachol, Mevacor, Lipitor, Zocor and Crestor — largely to stave off heart attacks and strokes.

At the zenith of their profitability, these medications raked in $26.2 billion a year for their manufacturers. The introduction in recent years of cheaper generic versions may have begun to cut into sales revenues for the brand-name drugs that came first to the market, but better prices have only fueled the medications’ use: In 2009, U.S. patients filled 201.4 million prescriptions for statins, according to IMS Health, which tracks prescription drug trends. That’s nearly double the number of prescriptions written for


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Who Should Take Statins? The Debate Continues

Who Should Take Statins? The Debate Continues

By Alice Park, courtesy of TIME 

It is well known that the cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins can reduce the risk of heart attack among people who already have heart disease. But whether the medications can prevent a heart attack from occurring in the first place is still a hotly contested question among health experts.

Two new studies published on Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine reignite the simmering debate.

One study revisits the merits of the controversial Jupiter trial (or Justification for the Use of Statins in Primary Prevention), which was published in 2008 in the New England Journal of Medicine. That trial concluded that the statin drug Crestor (rosuvastatin) lowered the combined risks of heart attack, stroke, other heart events or heart-related death by 47% in healthy patients with no history of heart problems or high cholesterol but high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker for inflammation. The findings prompted the Food and Drug Administration in February to expand the eligible patient population for Crestor by millions.

Critics of the Jupiter trial have contended that the benefits of the cholesterol drug may have been exaggerated because the trial was stopped early — after two years, instead of the planned five. Had the trial been allowed to continue, critics say, the differences in benefit between the treatment and placebo groups may have disappeared. That is the argument raised again by the new study in the Archives, by an international group of scientists led by Dr. Michel de Lorgeril at the University Joseph Fourier and the National Center of Scientific Research in Grenoble, France.

Jupiter was stopped prematurely when an independent monitoring board gleaned an overwhelming treatment benefit in the statin group. Although the early termination of randomized and blinded control studies is common — to ensure the safety of patients, study leaders frequently monitor the accruing data and stop the trial when one group shows a predetermined amount of benefit over the other — in Jupiter’s case, de Lorgeril’s group argues, the study never made clear what the predetermined benefit was.

What the data did show, however, is that when certain hard clinical endpoints — such as heart-related death — were considered, the difference between the two groups was not significant enough to warrant stopping the trial. Among the entire study population of more than 17,000, there was a total of only 240…
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Hide your children or they’ll be on Statins before you know it.

Boy playing hide and seek

Introduction and post idea, courtesy of John Wrenn, MD - Ilene 

Are you ready for your Crestor?  Maybe lifestyle modification would be just as effective or possibly even more so.

Thanks goodness they listed the absolute risk reduction numbers at the end of the article.  The needed to treat number is 500 to prevent one adverse cardiovascular outcome (stoke/MI). Crestor is $3.50 a day which works out to $638,000 per year for every event avoided and that doesn’t include the cost of the doctor’s visits or the liver function tests to monitor for toxicity or the cost of side effects.

Risks Seen in Cholesterol Drug Use in Healthy People

By DUFF WILSON, NY TIMES 

With the government’s blessing, a drug giant is about to expand the market for its blockbuster cholesterol medication Crestor to a new category of customers: as a preventive measure for millions of people who do not have cholesterol problems.

Some medical experts question whether this is a healthy move.

They point to mounting concern that cholesterol medications — known as statins and already the most widely prescribed drugs in the United States — may not be as safe a preventive medicine as previously believed for people who are at low risk of heart attacks or strokes. 

Continue here.>>

****

See also John’s Take On The Prostate.

Treat the Risk, Not the Cholesterol: Study Challenges Current Cholesterol Recommendations

(Ilene’s yellow highlights)

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Jan. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A new study by the University of Michigan Medical School and VA Ann Arbor Health System challenges the medical thinking that the lower the cholesterol, the better.

Tailoring treatment to a patient’s overall heart attack risk, by considering all their risk factors, such as age, family history, and smoking status, was more effective, and used fewer high-dose statins, than current strategies to drive down cholesterol to a certain target, according to the U-M study.

While study authors support the use of cholesterol-lowering statins, they conclude that patients and their doctors should consider all the factors that put them at risk for heart attack and strokes.…
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Treat the Risk, Not the Cholesterol: Study Challenges Current Cholesterol Recommendations

Here’s a very important – maybe paradigm shifting - press release on a study that challenges the current, broad-based recommendations for people to lower their cholesterol. My highlights. – Ilene

Pharmboy had this comment: 

Good article, and I agree with most of what’s in it, from scientific standpoint.  I am not a Doc, but I have worked on this area of research.  There are a few things in the pipelines of several companies that may help the inflammation of the arteries when someone is on a statin, and [the biotech] VIAP is spearheading the trials for this exact study.  Unfortunately, their drug is for a shorter term treatment, and the real trials will have to be a bodybag trial….either they preserve life, or don’t.  Diet and exercise are the two biggest things we can do to stay healthy. 

Treat the Risk, Not the Cholesterol: Study Challenges Current Cholesterol Recommendations

Increasing Obesity Figures Cause Health Concerns

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Jan. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A new study by the University of Michigan Medical School and VA Ann Arbor Health System challenges the medical thinking that the lower the cholesterol, the better.

Tailoring treatment to a patient’s overall heart attack risk, by considering all their risk factors, such as age, family history, and smoking status, was more effective, and used fewer high-dose statins, than current strategies to drive down cholesterol to a certain target, according to the U-M study.

While study authors support the use of cholesterol-lowering statins, they conclude that patients and their doctors should consider all the factors that put them at risk for heart attack and strokes.

The findings will be released online Monday ahead of print in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

"We’ve been worrying too much about people’s cholesterol level and not enough about their overall risk of heart disease," says Rodney A. Hayward, M.D., director of the Veterans Affairs Center for Health Services Research and Development and a professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School.

The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends harmful LDL cholesterol levels should be less than 130 for most people. High risk patients should be pushed even lower — to less than 70.

The U-M study took a different approach, called tailored treatment, which uses a person’s risk factors and mathematical models to calculate the expected benefit of treatment, by considering:

  --  A person’s risk of a heart attack or…
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