Hide this

Crestor and Other Statins: Are They Really Worth the Risk?

November 08, 2003 | 55,263 views
Share This Article Share

ByDr. Joseph Mercola
with Rachael Droege

With at least 12 million Americans taking cholesterol-loweringdrugs, mostly statins, and experts' recommendations that another23 million should be taking them, it's no wonder that the drugcompanies are scrambling to get their piece of the pie by releasingnew and "improved" statin drugs.

AstraZeneca just released their new statin called Crestor (genericname rosuvastatin). According to the company, Crestor is less expensiveand more effective than similar drugs like Pfizer's Lipitor, which is currently the statin market leader, takingin about $8 billion of the $13 billion total statin sales in 2002.

And while it appears that the drug may be slightly better thanother statins at raising good (HDL) cholesterol levels, there areloads of safety concerns surrounding the drug. For instance, thehighest, 80-milligram dose of Crestor could not be approved becauseof serious side effects including muscle and kidney damage. Somesay the drug may produce side effects even at lower doses, and cautionthat patients should be closely monitored when on the drug.

Of course, all statins pose risks, so the question of which statinis most dangerous is somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Dangers of statindrugs include, but are not limited to, a potential increase in liverenzymes so patients must be monitored for normal liver function,muscle aches, weakness, immune system suppression, an increase in cancer risk, and a serious degenerative muscle tissuecondition called rhabdomyolysis.

Naturally, one would assume that with the extensive list of sideeffects associated with statins, they must be doing some prettygood things. Well, what statins do do is lower cholesterol levels,that is true. But if lowering your cholesterol is your goal, whynot try a healthy diet with littleto no grains and sugars? This will work in the majority of cases.On a side note, eliminating sugar and grains will inevitably causebeneficial side effects, such as normalizing your weight, increasingyour energy and lowering your blood pressure and triglycerides.

But suppose that lowering your "bad" (LDL) cholesterolwas not actually the key to lowering your risk of heart attacksand heart disease? Would you still want to risk all of those statinside effects? Well, this is just what several research studies havefound, raising the basic question of whether statin drugs even workto lower the risk of heart disease.

One study, published in the August 2003 American Journal of Cardiology found that lowering badcholesterol with statin drugs may not reduce the rate at which plaquebuilds up in the arteries surrounding the heart. This finding fliesin the face of the widespread belief that lowering LDL cholesterollevels is the best way to reduce arterial plaque. In the study,participants taking varying doses of a statin did generally lowertheir cholesterol. However, all the groups had an average increasein arterial plaque of 9.2 percent.

Another study published in the December2002 Journal of the American Medical Association looked at theeffect of statin drugs versus usual care (improving diet, exercise,etc.). While the statin group did lower their bad cholesterol levelssignificantly more than the usual care group, both groups had theSAME rates of death and heart disease.

In light of these reports, and the known dangers of statin drugs,you would expect some major news in the area of statins, but thestudies received hardly any mainstream media coverage. As with manyhealth care issues, you'll have to sort out the truth for yourself.

If you truly want to prevent heart disease, check out my article Protect Yourself From Heart Disease With Simple Lifestyle Changes. For a quick tip, oneof the easiest and most effective ways to reduce your risk of heartdisease is by increasing the omega-3 in your diet. Omega-3 fattyacids, which are found in oily fish and fish oils, offer great protection. Studies have shownthat omega-3 works by preventing the buildup of fatty deposits inthe arteries. One of the best ways to make sure you have enoughomega-3 in your diet is by regularly consuming krill oil.

Related Articles:

Common Cholesterol Drug LowersCholesterol but Not Death Rate

Safety Concerns Surroundthe Latest Statin, Crestor

The Truth About Cholesterol-LoweringDrugs (Statins), Cholesterol, and Health

Beware: This Popular Drug Can Actually Cause Diabetes

Statins - Is the Danger isthe Dose?

Half of Population Will beTaking Statins

Effortless Healing – One Step at a Time – NOW AVAILABLE!

My newest book, Effortless Healing is now available! I've organized this book into a guide that will help you avoid the many pitfalls of the conventional approach to health. Rather than relying on expensive and potentially dangerous drugs, I will help you effortlessly make small shifts in what you eat and how you live to achieve your health goals. I promise, Effortless Healing isn't a book that will overwhelm you. On top of that, ordering the book today entitles you to 3 exclusive bonuses:


A sneak peek of my new book! You won’t need to wait for the book to arrive to get started. Begin reading my new book right away with your free sneak preview!


My most popular video interviews, all in one place. I’ve compiled 18 of my BEST expert interviews for you to watch and listen to at your leisure, and in the comfort of your own home or office.


Receive 15% off your next Mercola.com order. Depending on your order, your savings from this one bonus alone could more than cover the cost of your book!

All My Profits from This Book Will Be Donated

That's right. When you order a copy of my new book Effortless Healing, you'll be making a much-deserved donation to the key organizations that work quietly and efficiently behind the scenes to make the world a healthier place for you, your family, and your community.

Among them, you'll be benefiting and supporting the actions of:

  • National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) – A non-profit organization that seeks to prevent vaccine injuries and deaths through public education and defending your right of informed choice.
  • Organic Consumers Association (OCA) – A grassroots public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability, and addressing food safety, GMOs, the industrial agricultural complex, children's health, and more. The ONLY U.S. organization focused exclusively on the interests that you and I share!
  • Consumers for Dental Choice – Children, the unborn, and employees in the dental field are particularly vulnerable to mercury. But so is everyone with a mouthful of amalgam fillings (which are 50% mercury) at risk. Consumers for Dental Choice is working to phase out amalgam use and to promote access to mercury-free alternatives.
  • Fluoride Action Network (FAN) – An international coalition aimed at ending water fluoridation and alerting you to fluoride's environmental and health risks. FAN keeps you informed about fluoride toxicity, and monitors government actions that may expose you to fluoride.

Are you ready to get started? The timing has never been better. Order your copy of Effortless Healing today, collect your free gifts, and let your journey begin!

Thank you! Your purchases help us support these charities and organizations.

Food Democracy Now
Mercury Free Dentistry
Fluoride Action Network
National Vaccine Information Center
Institute for Responsible Technology
Organic Consumers Association
Center for Nutrtion Advocacy
Cornucopia Institute
Vitamin D Council
GrassrootsHealth - Vitamin D*action
Alliance for Natural Health USA
American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation
The Rabies Challenge Fund
Cropped Catis Mexico