The health regulator finally says statins are bad for you...or did they?

Friday 9th November 2012

  • Discover what the MHRA said about statins, and why they got it wrong
  • The sweet gift of health
  • A thank you and an Alzheimer’s update

Let me tell you what is wrong with the latest advice about statins.

In case you missed it, the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) came out and said that it was OK to cut the dose of statins being taken to avoid side effects.

Now you’d probably expect me to be rejoicing about this bit of sensible advice, and I did crack a smile when I first read about it.

BUT they are being so mealy mouthed about what they are saying that no-one really knows what to do.

Here’s their ‘statement’:

“Taking simvastatin with some other medicines, such as amlodipine or diltiazem, can increase the risk of muscle problems. If you are taking simvastatin and also taking amlodipine or diltiazem, your doctor may change your dose or treatment because of this risk.”

So, as a patient should you continue taking simvastatin? Are you likely to get a call from your GP inviting you in for an update check? What if you are taking full dose simvastatin without other drugs? What if you are on a full dose of another statin?

These are just a few of the questions you have e-mailed into me, I can only begin to wonder what is happening around the country.

Naturally, our media hasn't helped.

Full height headlines shouting ‘Statins in new health alert’ are not designed to induce calm are they?

Mind you, this was the same media who less than a month ago was telling us that this class of drug was the new wonder cure for everything.

I am growing increasingly tired of overt manipulation of advice about statins by the manufacturers who stand to gain or lose so much.

Come on MHRA, do the job you should be doing and come clean about statins!

I’ll even write it out for you...

“...Statins are a class of drug which affect the normal synthesis of cholesterol in the body, in some instances this helps regulate the risk of developing coronary heart disease.

“Many studies have shown that they carry an increased risk of developing serious side effects such as muscle pain, liver damage and kidney failure so should be taken with caution.

“Interactions with other commonly prescribed drugs make it more likely that you will develop serious side effects.”

There you go, you can have that one on me!

My advice to anyone who is taking statins is to rebook with your GP to discuss the options available to you, based upon the MHRA statement.

No GP should refuse to give you a review of your medication, and consider any interactions and alternatives that come to light.

You know how uptight I get about the way statins are foistered on us without care or’s enough to raise my blood pressure (which gives my GP cause to offer me even more pills!)

So, I think I need to lighten the tone a little...

On a lighter note

I have just been into the office to meet with my publishers and make the tea for the customer service team.

Obviously the most important part was the tea-making to keep the spirits up for crew.

Last Sunday I told you about the chance you had to be one of the lucky few to get your hands on our special honey gift packs.

Each one has a sample jar of each of the J Friend & Co honeys which make them the ideal gift for those you love this Christmas.

Of course, we received a huge response to the offer.

It then falls to this happy band to pick the jars, wrap them carefully in bubble wrap and package them to protect them in the post.

So, the least I can do is make a pot of strong tea and spread the honey on hot buttered toast for them.

[In case you missed the letter, here’s the link to get three gift packs for the price of two – but be quick as the ladies are rapidly running out of stock and we won’t be able to get any more.]

On Sunday I will be telling you about some important developments concerning our favourite honey, so make sure you look out for it in your inbox.

And finally...

Alzheimer’s update

I am so grateful to you for all the e-mails and calls of support for my Dad after last Friday's letter went out.

My inbox was full of really useful advice and lots of your experiences of dementia in its many forms.

There have been many false dawns in treatment modalities, but Dad is stable at the present time.

He uses a range of strategies to help maintain his cognitive function, including using coconut oil, doing daily brain teasers and practicing meditation.

Over half term the kids increased his exercise regime by dragging him off to the swimming pool, walking over hill and dale and generally had him being the active Granddad.

He loved it, although moaned about how his poor old feet ached!

Exercise is one of the mainstays of his programme, and he is lucky that he is still very sprightly and more than capable of keeping up with the kids.

The importance of breaking a sweat for the over sixties was confirmed in a European study published last week.

Results showed that those in the trial who did at least 30 minutes exercise three times a week were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s.

The research team concluded that regular exercise can slash the chances of developing the type of dementia caused by blocked arteries to the brain by 40 per cent.

Professor Clive Ballard, director of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, is quoted as saying, “You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to reap the benefits of exercise”.

No you don’t Prof, but pop round our house and my kids will show you how to have a 75-year-old climbing trees, building dens and chasing a dog better than Jessica Ennis ever could.

Yours, as always







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