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Statins Shown to Extend Life by Mere Days

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

Story at-a-glance -

  • A 2015 systematic review of statin trials found that in primary prevention trials, the median postponement of death was just 3.2 days. In secondary prevention trials, death was postponed 4.1 days
  • A 2018 review presents substantial evidence that total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels are not an indication of heart disease risk, and that statin treatment is of “doubtful benefit” as a form of primary prevention for this reason
  • Tactics used in statin studies to exaggerate benefits include excluding unsuccessful trials, cherry-picking data, ignoring the most important outcome — an increase in life expectancy — and using a statistical tool called relative risk reduction to amplify trivial effects
  • If you look at absolute risk, statin drugs benefit just 1% of the treated participants. Out of 100 people treated with statins for five years, one person will have one less heart attack
  • Statin trials minimize health risks by using a run-in period. Participants are given the drug for a few weeks, after which those who suffer adverse effects are simply excluded, thereby lowering the perceived frequency and severity of side effects

Researchers have repeatedly failed to find evidence that high cholesterol is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In fact, there's plenty of evidence suggesting that higher cholesterol may actually be healthier than lower levels.

As I've discussed in many previous articles, three (to some degree interrelated) factors that have a far greater influence on your cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk are:


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