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My reaction to the BMJ’s withdrawal of statements relating to the safety of statins

You may have noticed that there’s a bit of a ‘fight’ going on over the cholesterol-reducing class of drugs known as ‘statins’. I am simplifying here, but there are essentially two opposing camps. In one corner, there are those doctors and researchers who hold the view that the statins should be given to pretty much […]

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Australian documentary challenging the value of statins is removed by broadcaster

Last December I wrote a blog post that referred to an episode of the Australian documentary series Catalyst, which airs on the ABC network (similar to the BBC in the UK). The programme, entitled ‘Heart of the Matter’ essentially challenged the widespread use of statins. My personal opinion (and I admit I am quite ‘statin-sceptic’) […]

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If Diabetes UK wants to help diabetics, I suggest it stops recommending a diet that I think is utterly unsuitable for diabetics

Britain’s biggest diabetes charity, Diabetes UK, this week accused the NHS (the state run and funded medical care system in the UK) of “failing to learn from clear evidence that interventions to improve diabetes care can save the NHS money as well as give people with diabetes longer and healthier lives…” In its statement, Diabetes […]

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Should statin ‘key opinion leaders’ be allowed to just make stuff up?

Just 2 weeks ago, one of my blog posts was dedicated to assessing the call from certain ‘experts’ that more  younger women should be medicated with statins. What a shame these experts simply don’t have the data to support their position. This week, I came across an interesting piece in the New York Times. The […]

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Does the claim that more intensive statin therapy is better really stand up?

This week, I noticed a tweet from the editor of the medical journal The Lancet, Richard Horton (screenshot below). The attached image seems to be a photograph of a slide from a presentation. The data comes from a review of the evidence regarding the impact of statins on health outcomes from 2010 [1]. This study […]

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Cardiologist urges doctors to take patients’ wishes more into consideration

Initiatives in both the US and the UK look set to vastly increase the number of people deemed eligible for treatment with statins. While some seem to have welcomed these moves, there has been a lot of dissent too. Some believe that statins already have an unfavourable risk/benefit profile for people judged to be at […]

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If statins are so safe, why won’t some researchers let us see their data?

A couple of weeks ago one of my blog posts focused on a news story regarding the safety of statins. We were informed that ‘new evidence’  had found, except in rare circumstances, statins are no more hazardous than placebos. Yet, when one pays to get access to the actual paper on which these ‘conclusions’ were […]

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If NHS Choices wants to be taken seriously, then I think it seriously needs to up its game

NHS Choices website purports to give the general public information and advice about a wide range of health matters. My impression is that many see the NHS Choices website as a portal for honest, trustworthy and balanced health advice. A couple of weeks back, I noticed that Paul Nuki, Editor of NHS Choices, had tweeted […]

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GSK is doing away with external ‘key opinion leaders’ – it’s just going to make them employees instead

‘Key opinion leader’ (KOL) is a term sometimes used to describe doctors or researchers paid by pharmaceutical companies to talk about its products (favourably). The practice is widespread and has been broadly tolerated by the medical profession. However, in recent times, some have started to ask questions about the ethics surrounding the use of KOLs. […]

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Researchers pronouncing ‘statins are safe’ are undermined by their own observations

Listen to most ‘key opinion leaders’ talk about statins and you will hear soothing reassurances about their safety. Yet, my experience as a doctor suggests that adverse effects such as fatigue and muscle pain occur more commonly than ‘official statistics’ suggest. However, a study published this week claims to provide evidence that, for the most part, […]

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