The FDA has come out with new warnings on statin medications. The more we learn about these drugs, the clearer it becomes they are far over prescribed as the risk outweighs the benefit in many people who are taking them.
Read the transcript:
Hi everybody, this is Dr. Court bringing you another 90 Seconds of Knowledge. Today we’re going to talk about statin medications. This is the most popular class of drugs in the US and people use it to lower their cholesterol levels. And, potentially, although the evidence is not very good, reduce the evidence or the occurrence of heart disease.
Yesterday the FDA’s come out without new warnings. Number one, statins can potentially cause memory loss, confusion and other cognitive deficits. This may take a few weeks or a few years to manifest, and I’ve actually seen this in my patients. We get them off the statins and they do very well. Their cognitive abilities come right back so, it is apparently reversible.
The other warning is it does increase the risk of diabetes. It increases the risk of diabetes pretty significantly. It actually increases it by 27%. That’s a problem because diabetes significantly increases the risk of heart disease, the very thing that statins are supposed to protect us against.
It also increases HA1C or hemoglobin A1C. So, what that means is it prevents you from controlling your blood sugar very well, which is a big problem.
So, if we can’t use statins, what do we do? Well, first diet and exercise. Those are the biggies. That’s really where we should focus. But if we do need some additional assistance there are some natural substances that work very well. Red yeast rice is one that is a natural statin. It is not without side effect. It is very much lower in side effect anyway, but you should always take CoQ10 when you’re taking any kind of statin whether synthetic or natural like red yeast rice.
There is niacin. Niacin works very, very well. Good old B3. It works exceptionally well. It lowers LDL’s. It lowers total cholesterol. What we want to focus on is the LDL. And it also lowers lipoprotein A, a very dangerous, particular kind of cholesterol.
There are plant sterols. Plant sterols act by binding up the cholesterol that we eat and preventing us from absorbing it. There are medications that do that but the plant sterols are something that you can buy over the counter.
And then, of course, good old fish oil. We can’t talk about it enough. Fish oil has so much benefit. It reduces cardiovascular disease mortality better than anything. And, it reduces sudden cardiac death by 90%. It’s very, very effective. So, if you do one thing, take some fish oil. Those are your options. The statins are still out there and they do have side effects but some of the natural options tend to have a lower side effect profile.
If you have any questions, let us know. We’ll be happy to answer them.