Email of the day
Comment of the Day

July 19 2013

Commentary by David Fuller

Email of the day

On statins versus non statins
"Thought you might like to view this [medical] opinion:

"I am familiar with this drug and it's sister drug Zetia. These drugs work by blocking dietary cholesterol from being absorbed across the small intestine. Unlike statins which block the enzyme in the liver that manufactures the majority of our cholesterol in our bodies. Zetia and Ezetrol can lower LDL by as much as 20%+ (statins about 40% or more). However, unlike statins this class of drugs has NEVER been shown to lower the risk of stroke or heart attacks which we call outcome data. This is the reason why we lower cholesterol is to hopefully lower the risk of stroke and heart attacks. Interesting Zetia got into a lot of trouble several years ago by not releasing data that showed despite lowering LDL in patients studied their carotid artery blockage got worse. Statins on the other hand not only lower bad LDL cholesterol but they possess anti-inflammatory properties that reduce arterial plaque inflammation and rupture which leads to heart attacks and strokes. This has been demonstrated in numerous scientific studies. I fully support the use of statins but Ezetrol/Zetia although able to lower LDL (typically used for patients who cannot tolerate statins so their numbers look better) has not had any scientific outcome data. In general I do not support their use in most patients. If you want to discuss further feel free to give me a call."

David Fuller's view Many thanks for this thoughtful, informative medical opinion provided by your doctor friend in the USA.

Anyone who wishes to see my earlier comments on this subject will find the last one on Thursday 11th July. For more, just use the 'Search facility, upper left, fourth item down.

All I can say is that I have felt better and become progressively fitter, judging from my home gym workouts, and my cycling is less laboured since I came off statins last November. An annoying rash that I developed three years ago is slowly decreasing. After a few months without statins I did require the non-statin Ezetrol because my LDL cholesterol was rising, despite an extremely healthy diet. Ezetrol quickly knocked the LDL back to the same acceptably lower level that I had when taking statins.

I am concerned about the Doctor's comments regarding arterial plaque, mentioned above, so I will check this out at some point. Meanwhile, I am just enjoying my exercise and feeling healthier than I have for years. As for the risk of a heart attach or stroke, life is a lottery and we are all going to die at some point. I feel that healthy living is my personal responsibility and it can certainly increase the quality of my life. Fortunately, I also enjoy it.

The only advice I will offer on this subject concerns common sense: look after yourself as best you can. This includes both a healthy diet and exercise that you enjoy. Try to live a balanced life. Listen to your body. Seek medical advice when concerned by symptoms but find out about the potential downsides of some prescriptions, particularly if you have several of them. Try to keep stress under control, and if possible, stay close to the people who mean the most to you.

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