Harvard Health Letter Asks If You Should Take Statins w/Normal Cholesterol?
I just subscribed to the Harvard Health online newsletter and the latest article I received yesterday asks the question - "Should you take a statin even if you have normal cholesterol?" I never though anyone would need a statin if they have 'normal' or good cholesterol ratios/#'s. The article focuses on the JUPITER study, but seems a little sketchy to me, and possibly even to the folks at the publisher because they throw out, and I quote "Some Caveats" as published directly in the article.
First, it's important to note two areas of potential conflicts of interest:
The study was funded by Astra Zeneca, the maker of Crestor.
The patent rights to the hsCRP test are owned by the lead investigator, Dr. Paul M. Ridker, and Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
Next, although Crestor reduced the risk of cardiovascular events to a statistically significant degree, the numbers involved were small. Among 17,802 participants, only 393 cardiovascular events occurred. There were 142 in the Crestor group (a 1.6% rate) and 251 in the placebo group (a 2.8% rate).
With these results, about 95 people would need to be treated for two years to prevent a single cardiovascular event. Public health experts have to consider such numbers because they must weigh the absolute benefits against the costs and risks. Crestor, which is not available in a generic form, costs about $1,200 a year.
Most people who take a statin take it for more than two years. Since the JUPITER study lasted only two years, it leaves questions about the long-term safety of people with above-normal CRP levels but normal LDL levels taking Crestor.
The dose used in this study was higher than the typical starting dose of Crestor. Again, this raises questions about safety.
The people taking Crestor in this study attained very low LDL levels. We don't know if maintaining them for longer than two years would be healthy, or continue to reduce cardiovascular risk as much as it did in the study.
The possible small increase in diabetes risk found in study participants taking Crestor could mean trouble: diabetes is a major risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and death from cardiovascular disease.
More CW Research...never ceases to amaze...and confound.