One of the chapters in the book I reviewed recently focussed on the current over prescription of statins. The authors’ scepticism is not new. Questions over statin therapy have been raised before and one Northern GP, Dr Malcolm Kendrick wrote a whole book on the subject some years ago.
Well Dr Kendrick, and other like minded doctors have probably been right all along, according to the Cochrane review, reported here.
Inevitably many doctors will ignore this review as the dogma involved in statin therapy is too deeply ingrained, and many of the more senior members of our profession have made their reputations in this area.
One such individual is Professor Nicholas Wald, advocate of the polypill, who feels that all males over 50 should be taking this combination drug. I disagree with him. There are now question marks over aspirin and statins for prophylaxis in healthy individuals. The other component of the polypill is hypotensive agents, and Prof Wald does not seem to give much thought to what happens when you give these drugs to normotensive people, or perhaps he thinks that there are no normotensives over 50.
I am normotensive, and once took a single bisoprolol tablet to see what would happen. Big mistake. Within an hour my heart rate was 40, and my BP 70 systolic. I felt like shit.
I have said before that the pharmaceutical companies have and do provide products of which they can be proud. But in their pursuit of ever bigger profit they are doing much to sully their own reputation. Perhaps we as doctors should be reviewing our relationship with them which is often far too cosy.