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25 November 2016

Lancet Study on Statins was 'Fundamentally Flawed' Critics Say

Lancet study on statins was 'fundamentally flawed' critics say
by Laura Donnelly, health editor, The Telegraph,
24 November 2016

A major Lancet study which backed the safety of statins was “fundamentally flawed” and underestimated the side-effects of the heart drugs, a group of medics have said.

The research published in September concluded that the drugs help prevent around 80,000 major cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks or strokes, every year.

Scientists said the drugs did far more harm than good, with too many patients had been put off taking them because of needless fears about side-effects.

It followed a long debate over the merits of the cholesterol-busting drugs, which are taken by 8 million Britons.

But today a group of doctors attacked the Lancet study.

Writing in The Prescriber, a group of medics led by cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra criticised the way the Lancet research was carried out.

They said some of the data behind the trials had not been published, while some claims about the impact of the drugs on cholesterol were based on forecasts.

Lead author Dr Malhotra said “Decades of misinformation on cholesterol and the gross exaggeration of statin benefits with downplaying of side effects has likely led to the overmedication of millions of people across the world.”

“The lack of transparency in the prescription of statins is just one symptom of a broken system of healthcare where finance based medicine has trumped independent evidence and what is most important for patients.”

His views were backed by Harvard statin expert Dr John Abramson, former president of the Royal College of Physicians, Sir Richard Thompson, and president of the international society for vascular surgery Professor Sherif Sultan.

Statins reduce high levels of blood cholesterol, which is known to contribute to the stiffening and narrowing of arteries.

But they also trigger side-effects, including muscle pain, memory loss, depression, sexual difficulties and depression.

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