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Extensive Use of Statins Might Cause More Harm than Good, Say Doctors
- Updated: June 11, 2014
NICE or The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in February published a guidance recommending increased use of statins to lower cholesterol and save more lives. According to these guidelines, an individual with 10% risk of suffering heart attack or stroke within the next 10 years should be prescribed statins. But many leading doctors are urging NICE to rethink their decision as this could mean medicalisation of healthy individuals.
Nine leading doctors and academics signed a letter that criticizes NICE’s decision and accuses them of turning a blind eye to the side effects of statins which include fatigue and muscle pain. In addition it also increases the risk of diabetes in middle aged women by 48%. In their letter, the doctors said they were “seriously concerned that eight members of NICE’s panel of 12 experts for its latest guidance have direct financial ties to the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture statins”.
Already seven million people in UK are on statins, the new decision could lead to statins being prescribed to another five to ten million people. Doctors say there is no evidence of increased life expectancy in healthy individuals due to statin intake. The doctors also point out that instead of spending billions on a drug whose beneficial value is questionable, NHS should be encouraging people to be more active and lose weight. They wrote, “The consequences of not withdrawing this guidance are worrying: harm to many patients over many years, and the loss of public and professional faith in NICE as an independent assessor.”