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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

How the pharmaceutical industry manipulates health statistics

The book, KNOW YOUR CHANCES: UNDERSTANDING HEALTH STATISTICS, spells out what Dr W C Douglas and others have been saying for years – that most health statistics produced by the pharmaceutical industry need to be taken with a good deal of scepticism.

The book's three authors, Drs. Lisa Schwartz, H. Gilbert Welch, and Steven Woloshin, describe the many ways drug companies can take statistics, and twist them in braids and tie them in knots to say exactly what they want. These misleading results then form the basis of "exciting" health news and pharmaceutical advertising.

To Quote Dr Douglas: "They point out that the ads for the statin drug Zocor, for example, claim that the drug can reduce your risk of death by heart attack by 42 percent. The authors deconstruct the statistics that helped to create that sexy, attention-getting percentage. Take a look:

The Zocor numbers are based on a study in which just 111 heart disease sufferers out of about 2,000 who used Zocor died of a heart attack. Meanwhile, 189 of the placebo-taking control group of about 2,000 patients met a similar fate. So when you compare the death rates for Zocor-takers directly to that of the placebo group, the actual "reduction" of the risk of heart attack death between the two is a paltry 3.5 percent."
Gary comments:
For an insignificant reduction in heart attack risk the risks associated with taking statins far outweigh the benefits.

Statins interefere with Coenzyme Q-10 and fat metabolism which can lead to:
  • Cognitive decline (dementia, Alzheimer's)
  • Muscle wasting, joint degeneration and severe pain (polymyalgia)
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Increased risk of falling and breaking a hip
  • Heart failure
  • Skin breakdown
  • Infection, including fatal septicemia
Most people who suffer these terrible side effects put them down to ageing. How wrong they can be! In 99% of cases, the prescribing doctor does not withdraw the offending medicine - they prescribe yet another, like Prednisone!

"The treatment was a success; however the patient died"

While official statisitcs for the adverse side effects of statin drugs put them as rare, please bear in mind that reporting rates may be as low as one percent. In my experience, the rates are nearer 50% or more - and increasing the longer a person is on these drugs. While a person on statins may have a slightly less risk of dying of a heart attack, what is certain is their quality of life may be seriously compromised and they will die earlier of another disease.

NB: If on statins or if you have been on them at any time, then you are urged to commence a course of restoring your Conenzyme Q-10 stores. In fact, if on stains, then it should be compulsory that you also have Q-10 prescribed.

Here is a Quizz for your doctor:
  • Name the human co-enzyme that is depleted when taking statin medication
  • Answer: Coenzyme Q-10
  • Is Coenzyme Q-10 water or fat soluble?
  • Answer: Fat soluble
  • What are the two most important functions of Coenzyme Q-10
  • Answer: Mitochondrial ATP synthesis and as an antioxidant in cell membranes and lipoproteins
  • List four signs of Coenzyme Q-10 depletion
  • Answer: Refer list of 7 earlier on in this article
When to fire your doctor: Your good health is everything. If your doctor is unable to answer any of the above questions about Q-10, or appears dismissive of any symptoms or concerns that you have, or wants to prescribe another drug to counter the side effects of the other drug, then is is time to find a better doctor. You are the consumer - take your business elsewhere.
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