Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

Networking For A Better Future - News and perspectives you may not find in the media

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January 12, 2005

Crestor Linked To Patient Death - Statin Drugs Safety Questioned

Astra Zeneca, the maker of cholesterol lowering statin drug Crestor, has confirmed that a patient died of rhabdomyolysis, a potentially fatal muscle wasting disease linked to statin use, but says that the drug "is safe", reports WebMd.

This case fuels the debate on the safety or rather the lack of safety of statin drugs in general. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration is seeking to block an ad touting the safety of the cholesterol drug, calling the claims misleading.

Dr. Mercola comments that ... "because statins are such a huge money-maker -- try $15 BILLION -- Big Pharma will move mountains to keep them on the market, although virtually no one needs to take them." He also says that "optimizing your diet based on your unique metabolic type and reducing or eliminating grains and sugars can normalize your cholesterol about 98 percent of the time."

But like Crestor, other statin drugs such as Lipitor and in fact the whole class of statin lowering drugs, cause depletion of Co-enzyme Q 10, a substance needed for the proper function of muscles, including that hard working muscle that is our heart. They also may not be effective in preventing heart disease. Although statins do lower levels of cholesterol, the connection of cholesterol and heart disease has long been questioned.

Big pharma relies on heavily advertised "block buster" drugs such as statins and the "new generation" painkillers like recently withdrawn Vioxx, for much of its huge profits.

Vera Hassner Sharav of AHRP - Alliance for Human Research Protection calls for a moratorium on drug advertising, saying that many of the drugs approved by the FDA are essentially in the experimental stage. Their long term use has not been researched and their safety can therefore not be guaranteed. Here is the AHRP message:

Crestor, a highly advertised cholesterol-lowering drug in the statin class - as was Bayer’s drug Baycol, which was withdrawn from market after 30 patients died of rhabdomyolysis (breakdown of skeletal muscle fibers), has been linked to a patient’s death.

"AstraZeneca confirms that a death possibly attributed to rhabdomyolysis associated with Crestor has been reported. The case details are complex, with clinical features more consistent with neuroleptic malignant syndrome, a condition seen with antipsychotic agents." Both of these drug-induced toxic conditions lead to acute renal failure.

The dirty secret is out: new drugs are being approved before their lethal side effects have been revealed at the testing stage because the clinical trials are not designed to detect rare but lethal side effects that surface with extended use of the drugs.  Clinical trials continue to follow the template that was appropriate for testing antibiotics which are taken for short periods, not chronic use.

Thus, one may legitimately classify newly approved drugs as still in the experimental stage, and FDA’s approval can be considered provisional. Therefore, drugs whose safety is still in doubt, should not be advertised, lest many people will be exposed to lethal effects.
The Alliance for Human Research Protection calls, therefore, for a moratorium on drug advertising - at least for 7 years from the date of FDA’s approval.

See also:

AstraZeneca suffers withdrawal symptoms

Deaths linked to heart drugs
Lois Rogers, Medical Editor - The Times
EXPERTS are calling for a complete safety review of heart drugs taken by millions of Britons. Government figures released last week show that 92 deaths have been linked to the statin drugs developed to lower cholesterol.


Lipitor, Severe Diabetes a Fatal Combination
A study found that not only do cholesterol-lowering statin drugs fail to help patients with severe diabetes, but statins may also double their risk of experiencing a deadly stroke.

Patients Can Report Statins' Adverse Effects On New Web Site
A new web site at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine - - will enable people from around the world to self-report adverse effects of statin drug use, or use of other cholesterol drugs. The site will provide access to a broad group of people, facilitating the opportunity for patients to confidentially share information about their experience.


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Wednesday January 12 2005
updated on Thursday December 2 2010

URL of this article:


Related Articles

Consumer Drug Advertising Challenged - Ads Emphasise Sickness Not Prevention
Are direct-to-consumer adverts for pharmaceutical drugs turning the US into a nation of hypochondriacs? Spyros Andreopoulos, who is director emeritus of the Office of Communication and Public Affairs at Stanford University Medical Center, certainly seems to think so. Interestingly, the United States are, along with New Zealand, unique in the world for allowing such direct advertising and it appears that the U.S., with only 5 % of the world's population,... [read more]
November 29, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Drug Advertising Not Based on Facts
An investigation of the Institute for Evidence-Based Medicine, a private independent research institute in Cologne, has come to the conclusion that advertising of drugs is sorely lacking in scientific backup. With drug companies spending billions for promotion of their products, one wonders why they can't even get the science right. Unless of course ... the science is hard to get by because their remedies don't work too well. For sure... [read more]
March 31, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Cholesterol - what a business plan
When cholesterol was identified as health-enemy number one, we switched from butter to margarine and did without eggs for years, in an effort to avoid falling prey to the oily killer. At the same time, a whole pharmaceutical product sector, accounting for revenues in the $ billions, magically appeared to sell us pills. The sales pitch was: "Protect your heart - lower your cholesterol" or any variation of that mantra.... [read more]
October 17, 2003 - Sepp Hasslberger

Lipitor - The Human Cost
Lipitor, a cholesterol lowering drug made by Pfizer and sold to millions of health conscious but ill informed patients, is one of the most profitable drugs the pharmaceutical industry has ever come up with. Sales account for a quarter of Pfizer's $ 32 billion annual sales. Expected to gross more than $ 10 billion this year, Lipitor is poised to become the largest-selling pharmaceutical in history, surpassing Pfizer's other wonder... [read more]
January 31, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Lipitor - Vioxx: Discovering The Statin - Painkiller Chain Reaction
The recent withdrawal of Merck's blockbuster painkiller Vioxx may actually afford us a glimpse of a chain of events that is normally well hidden in research papers, at best selectively disclosed to the medical community. Vioxx and other new-generation painkillers such as Bextra and Celebrex have all come under fire for their tendency to cause an increase of heart attacks. Statin Drugs, such as Lipitor, Zocor, Pravachol, Lesocol and Mevacor... [read more]
December 06, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Lipitor: Side Effects And Natural Remedy
Serious side effects have been reported for Lipitor and other cholesterol-lowering drugs - the so-called statins - prescribed to millions for preventive purposes. The prescription of these drugs is based on the discredited hypothesis that high cholesterol levels cause heart attacks. The cholesterol myth has been one of the most long lived falsehoods around - probably because it has been excellent business, both for large pharma producers as well as... [read more]
March 18, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger




Readers' Comments

I was getting so terribly sick and in pain and my Dr. had blood drawn for several test to no avail. I was in severe pain and coould hardly walk and still am having trouble. I heard on the tv that Crestor could cause problems and quit taking it thank God.

Posted by: Marilyn Lents on June 30, 2008 02:46 PM


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