Less than a week after the American Heart Assn. and the nation’s cardiologists issued guidelines that would greatly expand the number of Americans taking a statin medication, the guidelines have been faulted for overestimating patients’ risk of heart attack or stroke.
Few authors of the new recommendations had even returned to their clinical practices before learning that an influential Harvard cardiologist and his biostatistician collaborator had taken the guidelines to task, arguing they use unreliable data on Americans’ health to calculate which patients would benefit from taking the medication.
I’ve been taking one of the statins for a year or so now. After nuking my thyroid my cholesterol shot up — a not uncommon side effect of going hypo. I don’t mind taking a pill every night, and it’s nice to eat all the bacon I want. But I really miss grapefruit, which causes this particular statin to stick around in your system and rise to toxic levels in short order.
“It’s concerning: We’re not talking about an error or miss of 20 or 30%, but of 75 to 150%” in assessing a patient’s risk of heart attack or stroke, said Nissen. “This is not a tempest in a teapot.”
Goodbye, statins — hello, grapefruit?