Dr. David Edelberg, MD, is one of them. His blog appears in WholeHealth Chicago, an online presence of The Center for Integrative Medicine. In November 2013 - the same year the aforementioned Crestor sales figures for Medicaid and Medicare were released - Dr. Edelberg penned a blog on the then-new guidelines jointly released in the US and Europe by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiologists (ACC).
Amongst the recommendations is one that has stirred much debate in the medical and health care communities - including those who advocate for more natural health alternatives: “Anyone between age 40 and 75 with an estimate risk of 7.5 percent of developing heart disease over ten years,” is recommended for statin therapy.
Critics of this last recommendation decry the perceived need for statins, including Crestor, as preventative therapy for a majority of Americans over 40 - rather than a pointed response to known or diagnosed risk factors - and feel the new recommendation is handing the pharmaceutical industry a basket of new business and profits on a silver platter.
Dr. Edelberg, in his blog Our Statin Nation (11/18/13), noted a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine by researchers affiliated with the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute. Their study tracked the dietary patterns and health status of more than 10,000 nurses (via a series of questionnaires) starting in middle age (late 50s to early 60s) and ending 15 years later. “Their goal,” writes Dr. Edelberg “was to find out if a healthful diet, even one starting in middle age, could prevent chronic illness down the road. And not just heart disease, but also diabetes, strokes, kidney and lung disease, and even cancer, dementia, and Parkinson’s. Their conclusion? I’m guessing you’ve already deduced: healthy eating was associated with overall healthier aging and fewer chronic illnesses of all stripes. People who reported no tobacco use, regular exercise, and weight control fared even better.”
In a previous blog, titled Crestor: To Take or Not to Take (12/2/08), Dr. Edelberg noted a study released in 2008 lauding the effectiveness of Crestor in lowering the risk of heart attack for study participants with normal or even low levels of cholesterol.
Were studies such as these seen as fodder for the new treatment guidelines that came five years later? One can speculate.
However, Dr. Edelberg noted that there are Crestor issues. He pointed to a slight increase in cancer amongst those participants taking 10 mg of Crestor - possibly due to the behaviors of statins in preventing the body from making Coenzyme Q 10, an antioxidant.
Dr. Edelberg also made the point that “statins are not the safest drugs on the planet. They cause a variety of side effects, including alteration of liver enzymes, muscle cramps, digestive problems, and change in mental functioning.” The statin Lipitor has had some bad press over mental functioning, but Crestor side effects have included Crestor diabetes and Crestor rhabdomyolysis, a rare but potentially serious side effect characterized by the breakdown and absorption of muscle tissue into the bloodstream. In rare cases it can be fatal.
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“there is not one, single trial that has proven that statins work in primary prevention.”
Dr. Steven Nissen, Chair of Cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic noted in Statin Nation that “the new guidelines greatly expand the number of Americans that would be eligible to receive statin drugs - from about 36 million previously, to as many as 72 million now…”
Many feel the new guidelines pander to the drug companies, and are thus exposing Americans to adverse reactions and risks, including Crestor side effects, needlessly. One wonders if this will play a part in future Crestor lawsuits.