Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Studies Dispute Benefit Claims of Statin Drugs

The July, 2010 issue of Family Practice News contains several articles that I will comment on over the next month. It is packed full of useful information. Leading off is a dynamite article that discusses two major critiques of the JUPITER Trial that trumpeted statin drugs as primary prevention of cardiovascular events. Dr. Michel de Lorgeril in France came just short of accusing the authors of total fraud, while earning billions of dollars for drug companies they had connections to. He documented how the study was improperly terminated early, allowing for inflated estimates of benefits and underestimated harms. The causes of death listed in the study in both the placebo and treated groups were way out of balance for what was expected. The case-fatality rate was actually 3 times higher in the rosuvastatin group than it was in the placebo group. Dr. Kausik Ray at the University of Cambridge in England did a massive meta-analysis of pharmacological lipid lowering that showed that the all-cause mortality of statin drug treatment for prevention was no better than placebo. This contrasts greatly with the 20% reduction claimed by the JUPITER study that has been the basis for most of the surge in statin treatment in recent years.

See Arch. Intern. Med. 2010;170:1032-6 and in the same issue pp. 1024-31.

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