Overload

Statins

Category: Medicines

Type

Involuntary

Introduction and description

 

Statins are a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol levels by inhibiting the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, which plays a central role in the production of cholesterol in the liver.

Cholesterol is an essential structural component of animal cell membranes.  It is required to establish proper membrane permeability and fluidity. In addition to its importance within cells, cholesterol also serves as a precursor for the biosynthesis of steroid hormones, bile acids, and vitamin D.  In effect, if we are in need of repair for any reason, then we should expect the cholesterol levels to be high.

To re-emphasise this point all our sex hormones - androgen, estrogen and testosterone are manufactured using cholesterol, so one of the side-effects of lowering cholesterol is infertility and impotence. 

High cholesterol is an indicator of other problems - a symptom and not a cause.

Increased cholesterol levels have been associated with cardiovascular diseases (CVD), and statins are therefore used for these diseases.  But this is of course hugely simplistic thinking - even naive.  The causes of heart disease and blood circulatory system disease are:

  • Viruses - as large numbers of viruses are able to get into the blood stream and indeed get to their target organ of attack via the blood stream, they are a major irritant
  • Toxins - a large numbers of toxins are capable of entering the blood stream via our lungs.  Nanoparticles have started to become a major problem in this area.   Heavy metal poisoning has also been linked with blood circulatory diseases.
  • Fungal infection - see the section on blood circulatory diseases
  • Parasites – from liver flukes to tapeworms, from toxoplasmia gondii to ascaris
  • Bacteria - such as Legionella, Leptospira, Coxiella burnetii and Rickettsia rickettsii.
  • Radiation
  • Other pharmaceuticals

Cholesterol is often present in high amounts if the damage done by these is high.  If we remove the cholesterol, we remove an essential structural repair substance. 

the pharmacological target of statins, the 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-3-glutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase, is one of the upstream enzyme of the mevalonate pathway, its inhibition may determine a substantial impoverishment of additional lipid moieties required for a proper cellular function. …. PMID:  24548821

The thinking behind giving statins as a mechanism of helping those with heart disease is thus flawed.  We should be treating the cause not the symptoms. [see Healing yourself]

Side effects

Efficacy means they don't work.  One of the side effects of statins is memory loss so this presumably covers the 6% shown above!  Overall 80% according to this survey stopped because the statins didn't work or hurt them

The side effects of statins are well documented on PubMed and well researched, but appear to be completely ignored by doctors.  There is also a body of evidence now on the eHealthme web site to which people can go to see the side effects.  Unfortunately, the side effects are not grouped per class of drug on this site, so that you have to take the side effects of each drug - see LINK

It may be of interest to know that as of 2014, the number of people in the USA reported to have had side effects through official channels [in effect excluding all those who were not recorded officially] was well over 250,000. 

Death

 One interesting side-effect that is not frequently mentionned is death.  When we first created this page, we provided a page in the science section so that you can see the figures - see Statin deaths

These figures come from eHealthme and were correct as at August 2015.  They only apply to the US where the figures were collected and not the rest of the world.  The figure then was  7,804.  

Given the difficulty of correlating deaths with cause, this figure is somewhat remarkable.  It means that doctors somewhere have made the connection.

In order to provide a different perspective on these figures we have also provided the deaths and adverse reports as at January 2016.

Using the Adverse Drug Reports submitted to the FDA and SEDA in the USA by doctors only [thus excluding all those people who have not reported effects to their doctor or died without being autopsied], and including only the USA - the figures thus exclude the rest of the world.

The number of people experiencing side effects from statins

522,024

The number of deaths from statins

9,200

May they rest in peace

Other side effects

Vitamin D deficiency

which has  a host of knock on effects.  Vitamin D deficiency causes Mineral deficiency of a major sort [see below].  Vitamin D deficiency results in:

  • Nervous system damage - The knock on effect of Vitamin D deficiency is a host of nervous problems.
  • Bone and teeth diseases - suppression of  bone formation and repair  leading to osteoporosis or rickets, osteomalacia and tooth decay.  
  • Blood circulatory problems - Perhaps particularly ironic is that without the regulating aspects of calcitriol, calcium can become a noxious substance in the blood stream and start to harden the arteries, as such a lack of Vitamin D will cause atherosclerosis.
  • Heart disease - Calcium imbalance as well as mineral imbalance can cause all forms of heart disease from arrhythmias to heart damage. 

from eHealthme case reports - Madashell (2 years ago):  I am a 50yr old that was put on Simvastatin in 2010. Before my heart attack I had never experienced any high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Since then I supposedly have both and feel like a guinea pig here. I have dealt with blurred vision, restless leg syndrome, severe headaches, extreme pain in my muscles and joints, trouble sleeping and actually feel like 100 instead of 50. My Dr. has finally taken me off it cold turkey which I had thought was not possible. Go figure.

 
statins cause muscle damage

 Muscle damage

with no cholesterol to effect any repairs, cells gradually start to die and not be replaced.  Statins can thus have severe adverse effects, particularly muscle damage.

Given that the heart is a muscle, this has led to considerable concern over their effects on people with heart problems. Statins may in the end cause heart problems in those who did not previously have anything wrong with their heart. 

The most common noticeable and immediate adverse side effects are raised liver enzymes and muscle problems, including muscle cramps, pain and in some cases  rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown).   They have been shown to cause arrhythmia.

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2014 Sep;78(3):454-66. doi: 10.1111/bcp.12360.  Mechanisms and assessment of statin-related muscular adverse effects. 
Statin-associated muscular adverse effects cover a wide range of symptoms, including asymptomatic increase of creatine kinase serum activity and life-threatening rhabdomyolysis. …. it has [also] been shown [that] statins inhibit cytochrome P450-mediated hepatic [liver]  biotransformation and hepatic uptake … and at the intracellular level, inhibition of the 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase results in decreased intracellular concentrations of downstream metabolites  and alteration of gene expression PMID:  25069381

 

the last sentence is a especially chilling.

Mineral deficiency 

Statins cause both zinc deficiency and vitamin deficiency which means they affect the immune system.  The immune sysytem is our only major system of protection from invaders, as such, we leave ourselves open to numerous diseases and illnesses, for example:

  • Cancer - If you turn to the section on Cancer, you will see that there is a strong correlation between cancer and viruses, bacteria, fungi, toxins and parasites. With zinc deficiency,  you get a compromised immune function and a compromised immune function cannot fight all these unpleasant invaders
  • Various Organ diseases - even if you don't get cancer, you may get numerous other diseases of the organs, because much disease is caused by the pathogens mentioned above.  Statins have been shown to cause neuropathy, pancreatic and hepatic dysfunction, and renal failure.

Sexual dysfunction

Statins cause impotence in men and sexual dysfunction in women.  The interference with vitamin levels, mineral levels as well as the direct effects on hormones all serve to cause this effect.

…..Randomized controlled trials and meta-analyses suggest an increase in the risk of diabetes with statins, …... Other non-cardiovascular effects … are contrast induced nephropathy, cognition, cataracts, erectile dysfunction, and venous thromboembolism. PMID:  25035309

also note the risk of diabetes and stroke.

Cognitive dysfunction

ranging from memory loss to Dementia and Alzheimers.  The two papers below provide specific evidence  for this effect

Statin-associated adverse cognitive effects: survey results from 171 patients - Evans MA  Golomb BA; Department of Medicine, University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0995, USA.
STUDY OBJECTIVE: To characterize the adverse cognitive effects of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (statins).
DESIGN:  Patient survey-based analysis.
PATIENTS:  One hundred seventy-one patients (age range 34-86 yrs) who self-reported memory or other cognitive problems associated with statin therapy while participating in a previous statin effects study.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS:  Patients completed a survey assessing statin-associated, cognitive-specific adverse drug reaction (ADR) characteristics, relation of the ADR to specific statin and dose (or potency), and time course of symptom onset and recovery. ..... 128 patients (75%) experienced cognitive ADRs determined to be probably or definitely related to statin therapy. Of 143 patients (84%) who reported stopping statin therapy, 128 (90%) reported improvement in cognitive problems, sometimes within days of statin discontinuation (median time to first-noted recovery 2.5 wks). Of interest, in some patients, a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer's disease reportedly was reversed.
CONCLUSION:  Findings from the survey suggest that cognitive problems associated with statin therapy have variable onset and recovery courses, a clear relation to statin potency, and significant negative impact on quality-of-life.   PMID: 19558254

Statin-associated memory loss: analysis of 60 case reports and review of the literature - Wagstaff LR, Mitton MW  Arvik BM, Doraiswamy PM. - Drug Information Service, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA
OBJECTIVE:  To review case reports of statin-associated memory loss as well as the available published evidence for and against such a link.
METHODS:  We searched the MedWatch drug surveillance system of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from November 1997-February 2002 for reports of statin-associated memory loss. We also reviewed the published literature (using MEDLINE) and prescribing information for these drugs.
RESULTS:  Of the 60 patients identified who had memory loss associated with statins, 36 received simvastatin, 23 atorvastatin, and 1 pravastatin. About 50% of the patients noted cognitive adverse effects within 2 months of therapy. Fourteen (56%) of 25 patients noted improvement when the statin was discontinued. ....
 PMID: 12885101

 Blindness, macular degeneration and other sight impairment

 for all the reasons mentioned above connected with mineral and vitamin deficiency as well as the suppression of cell repair and immune system functions, statins are implicated in AMD and sight impairment

Role of statins in the development and progression of age-related macular degeneration.
To determine if statins are associated with the development or progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD)………………  >1 year of statin use was associated with an increased hazard for exudative AMD.  PMID:  23314233

Depression and suicide

there appears to be a clear link between statins and both depression and suicide.  This may be connected with the brain damage they do as described above, depending on which part of the brain is damaged, for example the amygdala, then depression would be the outcome.

Several studies have …. found a significant relationship between a decrease of total cholesterol and high scores of depression, Studies among patients suffering from major depression signalled more constantly an association between low cholesterol and major depression. … some trials showed that clinical recovery may be associated with a significant increase of total cholesterol.
The hypothesis that a low cholesterol level may represent a suicidal risk factor was discovered accidentally following a series of epidemiological studies which revealed an increase of the suicidal risk among subjects with a low cholesterol level……
… These findings have challenged the vast public health programs aimed at promoting the decrease of cholesterol, and even suggest that a suspension of the administration of lipid lowering drugs is warranted. …., PMID: 12640327

 

Hallucinations

And statins can also cause hallucinations both auditory and visual.

How it works

How do statins cause spiritual experiences?

Brain damage

The principle cause if we look at all the side effects shown above is probably Brain damage.

If you turn to the section on the drugs themselves atorvastatin and simvastatin appear to the the drugs with the highest incidence of hallucinations.  In the many study reports on PubMed, the same two drugs were associated with cognitive problems.

The disruption of the memory and reasoning function is a very effective way to induce all sorts of spiritual experience.  With memory and the reasoning function disrupted, the will is subdued and the composer is free to form visions and hallucinations from perceptions.

Toxicity/poisoning

 

Another cause, might be because at too high a dose they are toxic.  Toxicity in any chemical produces the effects of delirium and delirium can give you hallucinations.

If we take a drug like Simvastatin, for example,  patients are usually started at 20 mg, but the dispersion index can go from 5 mg to 80 mg a day. If adjustments are required, the adjustment must be performed at intervals no less than 4 weeks. If too high a dose is given early on, or the rate increased at too high a frequency [less than 4 weeks] or the dose is over the maximum recommended [The highest approved dose of simvastatin is 80 mg] then hallucinations might result from the toxic affects.

Interactions with foods and herbals

There are also some odd interactions with foods that people may not be aware of and may not have been warned against.  Consumption of grapefruit or grapefruit juice inhibits the metabolism of statins. Bitter oranges may have a similar effect. Furanocoumarins in grapefruit juice (i.e. bergamottin and dihydroxybergamottin) inhibit the cytochrome P450 enzyme CYP3A4, which is involved in the metabolism of most statins (however it is a major inhibitor of only lovastatin, simvastatin and to a lesser degree atorvastatin) and some other medications. This increases the levels of the statin, increasing the risk of dose-related adverse effects. In those countries where people have to pay for their medicines, some people even take grapefruit juice to enhance the effect of lower (hence cheaper) doses of statins; this too increases the risk and the potential for statin toxicity.  In effect  grapefruit increases the dose to one that is toxic and the hallucinations may result from the toxic  effects.

 

Int J Cardiol. 2005 Jan;98(1):1-14. Cardiovascular pharmacotherapy and herbal medicines: the risk of drug interaction. Izzo AA, Di Carlo G, Borrelli F, Ernst E
Use of herbal medicines among patients under cardiovascular pharmacotherapy is widespread. In this paper, we have reviewed the literature to determine the possible interactions between herbal medicines and cardiovascular drugs. The Medline database was searched for clinical articles published between January 1996 and February 2003. Forty-three case reports and eight clinical trials were identified.

  • Warfarin - Warfarin was the most common cardiovascular drug involved. It was found to interact with boldo, curbicin, fenugreek, garlic, danshen, devil's claw, don quai, ginkgo, papaya, lycium, mango, PC-SPES (resulting in over-anticoagulation) and with ginseng, green tea, soy and St. John's wort (causing decreased anticoagulant effect).
  • Digoxin - Gum guar, St. John's wort, Siberian ginseng and wheat bran were found to decrease plasma digoxin concentration;
  • Aspirin - aspirin interactions include spontaneous hyphema when associated with ginkgo and increased bioavailability if combined with tamarind.
  • Statins - Decreased plasma concentration of simvastatin or lovastatin was observed after co-administration with St. John's wort and wheat bran, respectively.
  • Diuretics - Other adverse events include hypertension after co-administration of ginkgo and a diuretic thiazide
  • Antihypertensives - hypokalemia after liquorice and antihypertensives
  • Phenprocoumon - anticoagulation after phenprocoumon and St. John's wort.

Interaction between herbal medicine and cardiovascular drugs is a potentially important safety issue. Patients taking anticoagulants are at the highest risk.
PMID: 15676159

Interactions with other drugs 

Finally there are a number of interactions with other drugs that result in toxic levels of the drug.  Again, if we take Simvastatin as an example, the following drugs should not be used with Simvastatin as they can result in toxic reactions [which are dose dependent]: 

  • Amiodarone - when simvastatin is used with amiodarone it can lead to kidney failure or death according to the FDA
  • Itraconazole, Ketoconazole, Erythromycin, Clarithromycin, Telithromycin, HIV protease inhibitors, or Nefazodone, Gemfibrozil, Cyclosporine, or Danazol, Verapamil and Diltiazem these drugs are CYP3A4 inhibitors which decrease the metabolism of simvastatin, therefore increasing the plasma activity of simvastatin

 So there is a lot to go wrong and I suspect that where hallucinations have been experienced it is the toxic effects of interactions and dose problems that is the cause.

eHealthme - ejd patient report - developed parkinson's after 4 yrs on Lipitor; discovered have genetic mutation in a gene (SLCO1B1) which encodes a transport protein responsible for moving statins into the liver to be detoxified. individuals with this mutation have been found to have plasma statin levels GREATER than 150% of normal; and a measurement of kinetics of drugs, an AUC of 200 to 400 % higher. TOXIC levels.

 

Disadvantages

All the rest of the description has been balanced reporting of my findings by using research papers and recognised medical sites, but here I will put in a little emotional input, just to make you sit up and take notice!  This isn't my picture, but the website I found this on was a great deal more frightening than I have been.

 

Observations

The number of hallucinations  - involuntary spiritual experiences – caused by these drugs is shown in brackets following the name, the figures were derived from SEDA figures on the eHealthme web site.  I have provided a link through to the ehealthme site for the drugs shown so that you can see all the side effects they ahve had reported via official doctor reports

There are over1,000 hallucinations in the USA alone 

Observation identifiers

Observation name

No of hallucinations

001150

Lipitor

212

 

Fluvastatin  - Lescol

19

001151

Lovostatin

29

 

Mevacor

12

001152

Pravastatin

21

 

Pravachol

43

 

Rosuvastatin/Crestor

9

001153

Simvastatin

280

 

Zocor

274

 

Vytorin

32

 

Simcor

1

 

Atorvastatin

 122

 

TOTAL

1,054

 The following have no figures 

  • Mevastatin – Compactin - Naturally-occurring compound. Found in red yeast rice.  Works via CYP3A4 
  • Pitavastatin  - Livalo, Pitava – a synthetic compound

 Several combination preparations of a statin and another agent are also available 

  • Ezetimibe/simvastatin, sold as Vytorin [32]. 
  • Advicor which is Lovastatin+Niacin extended-release. 
  • Caduet which is a  Cholesterol+Blood Pressure drug consists of Atorvastatin+Amlodipine Besylate.
  • Simcor [1] is Simvastatin+Niacin extended-release

Related observations