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Statin drugs

New study: Statin TV commercials have serious side effects (no joke!)

Sunday, March 10, 2013 by: Sherry Baker, Health Sciences Editor
Tags: statin drugs, TV commercials, side effects

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(NaturalNews) Watching television commercials funded by Big Pharma to promote statin drugs could injure your health. Sound crazy? Read on.

A new study by Dr. Jeff Niederdeppe from Cornell University and colleagues concludes that TV ads appear to drive over-diagnosis of high cholesterol and over-treatment with statins. In fact, if you go to your doctor and ask about statins you've seen advertised on TV, the odds are great you'll walk out with a prescription for the drugs - whether you really need it or not.

So what's the danger? The class of cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins has been shown to have potentially serious side effects including muscle pain, neurological disorders, rashes and liver problems. And while the drugs have been proven to reduce LDL (the "bad" cholesterol), the jury is still out on whether they actually play a role in the primary prevention of coronary heart disease.

For their new study, which was just published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, Niederdeppe and colleagues investigated whether exposure to direct-to-consumer statin advertising was linked to high cholesterol diagnosis and statin use among men and women at high, moderate, or low risk for future cardiac events.

The research team looked at how many times 106,685 American adults were potentially exposed to commercials for statin drugs on national, cable and local television between 2001-2007. They also collected data on whether these people reported being diagnosed with high cholesterol and whether or not they had taken a statin drug in the prior year. They compiled information on the study's participants' risk factors for coronary heart disease, too.

The results suggest that those adults exposed to statin ads were 16 to 20 percent more likely to be diagnosed with high cholesterol, and 16 to 22 percent more likely to be using statins. What's more, the chances of receiving both a diagnosis of high cholesterol and increased statin use was driven almost exclusively by men and women at low risk for future cardiac events.

"Our findings raise questions about the extent to which direct-to-consumer advertising may promote over-diagnosis and over-treatment for populations where risks may outweigh potential benefits. In addition, we found no evidence of favorable associations between exposure to statins in television advertisements and statin use among those at high risk for future cardiac events," the researchers concluded in their study.

Statins are currently the most widely prescribed drugs in the U.S. although numerous studies have found increasing downsides to these supposed "magic bullets" for artery clogging cholesterol. As Natural News previously reported, for example, a study led by F.W. Fraunfelder, MD, of the Casey Eye Institute of Oregon Health and Science University, was the first to systematically report on eye disorders - double vision (diplopia), drooping of the upper eyelid (ptosis), and loss of full range of motion of the eyes (ophthalmoplegia) - in people taking statins. And scientists from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine published a review paper of nearly 900 research studies on statins that concluded statins may predispose many people to serious muscle and kidney problems, potentially deadly heart arrhythmias and a host of other health problems.



About the author:
Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA''''s "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine''''s "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic''''s "Men''''s Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.

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