Statins, including the best-selling drug in history, Lipitor, have been found to cause a much larger number of adverse side effects than previously believed—including the very diseases they're intended to prevent—bringing their value into question by healthcare providers across the nation, according to the consumer health group, the Natural Society.
After the FDA recently announced it was enforcing changes to the safety recommendations on the labels for the cholesterol-lowering drugs (including Lipitor and Zocor) about the recently discovered possible risks of elevated blood sugar and memory loss issues, new research now indicates that significant nerve and muscle damage were documented in nearly 200 recent studies involving the use of statins to treat high cholesterol.
High cholesterol levels can lead to heart disease—and the heart is a muscle connected to a complex network of nerves—making the research findings a major concern, especially as cardiovascular disease is one of the most serious health issues in the country. An alarming 1 out of every 4 adults over the age of 45 are currently taking statins to manage their cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease, according to the Natural Society.
The Natural Society reports that more than 100 studies found myotoxic (muscle-damaging) effects from the use of statins, and more than 80 studies showed nerve damage in study participants also using the drugs. The study results have led researchers to more clearly connect the increased rates of heart failure among patients prescribed statins over the last several years to the drugs adverse side effects.
While a number of factors can contribute to high cholesterol levels, the most common causes are linked to diets high in trans fats, obesity and consistent lack of exercise.
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Image: Ed Yourdon