BMJ Names Panel Members To Review Disputed Statin Articles

The BMJ has released the names of an outside expert panel who will decide the fate of two articles that are the subject of a heated dispute. As previously reported, last week the BMJ published a correction to two papers published last year, explaining that both papers had  inaccurately overstated the incidence of the adverse effects of statins. However, a…

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Disappointing Results For Statins In Two NIH Trials

Two NHLBI studies have failed to find any benefit for statin therapy in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Previous observational studies had raised the possibility that statins, perhaps due to their anti-inflammatory effects, might improve outcomes in people with these serious diseases. But both trials were stopped early by…

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BMJ Articles Critical Of Statins Provoke Kerfuffle

The authors of two BMJ articles have withdrawn statements about the adverse effects of statins. The two papers inaccurately cite an earlier publication and therefore overstate the incidence of adverse effects of statins. As a result, the two papers have drawn much criticism and set off a kerfuffle involving the editor of BMJ and a prominent British trialist who is demanding…

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12.8 Million More Adults Now Eligible For Statin Therapy

Millions more people are now eligible for statin therapy under the new cholesterol guideline, according to a new estimate published in the New England Journal of Medicine. … There have been many attempts to quantify just how many more people are now eligible for statin therapy under the new guideline. Now in the new paper in NEJM, Michael Pencina…

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Reassuring News About Statins From Two Very Different Studies

Although clinical trials have consistently demonstrated the benefits of statins, the perception that the drugs can cause serious side effects has prompted some patients to discontinue or not take the drugs. Now two new very different studies, one a large meta-analysis and one a tiny study with only a handful of patients, provide some convincing reassurance…

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Pfizer Starts Testing For Over-The-Counter Lipitor

Looking backward to improve its future, Pfizer will once again try to gain FDA approval to market its blockbuster drug, atorvastatin (Lipitor), over-the-counter (OTC). Peter Loftus reports in the Wall Street Journal that the company has started a clinical study to support the application for low-dose atorvastatin (10 mg). … Click here to read the full post on Forbes….

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Dispatch From The Wild Frontier Of The Statin Wars

The long simmering controversy over the relative benefits and harms of statins has heated to a high boil with the release of the new AHA/ACC US guidelines. But nowhere is the battle more intense right now than in Australia where, according to the National Heart Foundation, a TV show may be the cause of 2,000 heart attacks…

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A Clear-Eyed View Of Statins And Cataracts

Past observational studies have turned up conflicting findings about the effects, if any, of statins on developing cataracts. Now a large new observational study finds a small but significant increase in cataracts in statin users, but experts warn that without further support the new finding should probably not influence clinical practice. In a paper published in JAMA…

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FDA Approves Combination Of Ezetimibe And Atorvastatin

The FDA has approved a new combination drug from Merck for lowering cholesterol. The drug, which will carry the brand name of Liptruzet, is a combination of two previously approved cholesterol-lowering drugs, ezetimibe and atorvastatin. Merck said the new drug (pronounced “LIP-true-zett”) would be commercially available starting next week. Liptruzet will be available as a…

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Lifelong Statin Sentence Now Includes Furloughs

Although the benefits of statins are among the best documented in all of medicine, continuous lifelong statin therapy is not always easy to achieve in clinical practice. Now a new retrospective study suggests that although clinical events causing temporary cessation of statin therapy occur often, most of these patients are later able to resume statin…

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Following Earlier Recall, Ranbaxy Halts Manufacturing Atorvastatin

Ranbaxy, the often-troubled manufacturer of generic drugs, will temporarily stop manufacturing generic atorvastatin. On November 9, 2012 the company announced a voluntary recall of some lots of atorvastatin because of possible contamination with glass particles. An FDA statement today said that Ranbaxy will discontinue making the drug “until it has thoroughly investigated the cause of the…

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Statins and Exercise, Independently Beneficial, Even Better In Combination

It’s no secret that statins and exercise are good for people with cholesterol problems. Now a new study published in the Lancet offers fresh evidence that the two appear to be independently beneficial, and that adding the two together may result in greater benefits than either alone. US researchers analyzed data from 10,043 people with dyslipidemia…

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Statins Use Linked To Reduction In Cancer Mortality

A large new population study rasies the possibility that statin use may lead to a decline in cancer mortality. Researchers in Denmark utilized health data from the entire population of the country and analyzed the information from nearly 300,000 patients who were diagnosed with cancer between 1995 and 2007. The authors note that the relationship is biologically…

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Reports From JUPITER And Taiwan: Benefits Of Statins Outweigh Risk Of Diabetes

Two new papers provide further evidence that statin usage is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, but both studies also find that the benefits of statins still outweigh the risks. In the first report, published in the Lancet, Paul Ridker and colleagues analyze data from the JUPITER trial, which compared rosuvastatin to placebo in…

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Authors Retract Article About Websites That Sell Statins Without Prescriptions

An article in Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety about websites that advertise statins to consumers has been retracted by the authors after one company mentioned in the article disputed the authors’ assertion that the company sold statins to patients who did not have a prescription. The news was reported on Retraction Watch. Here’s the notice: The following article…

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Are Statins Equally Effective In Women And In Men?

Jose Gutierrez and colleagues performed a sex-based meta-analysis, seeking to determine if statins yield a similar protective effect on both men and women in preventing recurrent cardiovascular events. In a paper published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, they report the results of their meta-analysis of 11 secondary prevention, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trials, which included 43, 193 patients…

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Fascinating Debate Over Statins For Primary Prevention

The recent guest post by David Newman has prompted several thought-provoking comments. Since most readers will likely miss the comments, I’ve moved these comments to a separate post. Statin Island May 27, 2012, 3:35 PM: Thank you. Clearly, this important commentary raises questions about the integrity of Lancet as well as the authors of the study. But…

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Guest Post: Data, Drugs, And Deception– A True Story

Editor’s Note: The following guest post by Dr. David Newman is reprinted with permission from his website and blog, Smartem.Org. Dr. Newman is an Emergency Physician and Director of Clinical Research at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in the Department of Emergency Medicine.  He is the author of the critically-acclaimed Hippocrates’ Shadow: Secrets From the House of…

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You Know Nothing, Dr. Snow: Why Medicine Can’t Be More Like Facebook

Medicine can never be like Facebook, despite what Matt Herper argues over at Forbes. Perhaps he was just trolling for hits on a day when everyone is thinking about the Facebook IPO, but Herper proposed, with apparently seriousness, that medicine needs to model itself on the tech world in order to match the kind of…

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Large Metaanalysis Finds Statins Effective in Low Risk Patients

A very large metaanalysis provides strong evidence that the relative reduction in risk of statins is at least as great in low-risk patients as in high-risk patients. The finding, write the authors, provides evidence that expansion of guidelines to lower risk populations should be considered. In their paper in the Lancet, the  the Cholesterol Treatment Trialists’ (CTT)…

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Preoperative Statins Found to Reduce AF and Length of Stay But Not Mortality

In a systematic review published in the Cochrane Library investigators at the University of Cologne in Germany analyzed data from 11 trials that tested the effects of preoperative statins in 984 patients undergoing heart surgery. Preoperative administration of statins reduced the risk of developing atrial fibrillation (AF) and shortened the length of stay on the ICU and in the…

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Guest Post: Another Round in the Debate on Diabetes and Statins

Another Round in the Debate on Diabetes and Statins by Roger Blumenthal Let me start by saying that I am proud to have Eric Topol as a friend and a trusted advisor over the past 20 years. His work has been an inspiration to cardiovascular health professionals for several decades. His new book, The Creative Destruction…

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Eric Topol, Megamind

Ralph Waldo Emerson famously wrote that “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” If this is true then Eric Topol, who earlier today wrote a New York Times editorial highly critical of statins, is Megamind. Here’s what he wrote in a 2004 editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine: Even today, only a…

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Statins and Diabetes: Real Concern or Much Ado About Nothing?

Updated at 7 PM with a detailed comment at the bottom from C. Michael Minder of Johns Hopkins– In a New York Times Op-Ed piece on Monday, Eric Topol comments on last week’s announcement by the FDA that it was changing the label for statins. Topol focuses on the new warning that statins raise the risk…

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FDA Revises the Safety Labeling of Statins

The FDA today announced important new changes to the safety language on the labels of statins: Routine periodic monitoring of liver enzymes is no longer recommended. Serious liver injury associated with statins is “rare and unpredictable in individual patients” and “routine periodic monitoring of liver enzymes does not appear to be effective in detecting or…

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