ASTEROID- a new study from Harvard and the Cleveland Clinics – boasts the safety and efficacy of achieving very-low low-density lipoprotein cholesterol LDLC with highdose rosuvastatin Crestor.
But it notes carefully: “on-treatment atheroma volume, change in atheroma volume, and the high % of patients with atheroma regression did not differ by the achieved LDLC level. ”
Since the trial lasted only 2 years in only 471 average obese (BMI ~28.5kg) patients aged around 58yrs, it was far too small and short to determine whether there was any non-cardiovascular benefit or risk from the drug in this high-risk metabolic syndrome population, 95% of whom were hypertensive, 13% diabetic, and who have a high risk of future cancer, dementia, arthritis.
So the only purpose it served is to show that there is no shortterm benefit in highdose versus lowdose statin, in more than moderate lowering of LDLC and raising of HDLC.
In the AURORA* trial in dialysis patients, “although the mean LDL cholesterol was reduced by 43% in the rosuvastatin arm of the study at three months, no difference in the primary end point (death from cardiovascular causes, nonfatal myocardial infarction, or nonfatal stroke) was demonstrated at an average follow-up of 3.8 years.  ”
The stark reality- which ( fungus extract) statin, and more modern antidiabetic drug proponents hate- is that metformin (a plant derivative) is the only panacea, patented drug ever that reduces not just heart attack by half in type 2 diabetes but also reduces all-cause mortality by at least one-third; and when used preventitively and to optimal titrated tolerance in the overweight, reduces the incidence of new diabetes by up to 90%. That just about puts it ahead of vitamin D and fish oil and appropriate HRT as miracle agents.
And statin proponents studiously remain silent that while titrated metformin has zero persisting adverse effects in controlled trials of up to 20years, statins produce insidious adverse effects (depression; myo-hepatorenal, memory loss, non-natural deaths, lowering of sex hormones and erectile function) in up to a quarter of longterm users – with significant increase in cancer (especially of the breast) when the LDLC is severely depressed; and fail to influence insulin resistance and diabetes long term.
So, like most statin trials , JUPITER and ASTEROID reports are twisted to promote statins, whereas they do nothing to recommend statins, show that they are anywhere near as good and safe for longterm mortality reduction as natural non-patent agents- metformin, appropriate HRT and eg fish oil and vitamin-mineral-biological-plant supplements – which lack the insidious adverse effects of the statins. . After some 40 years of use, the only indication for statins remain (if any) those rare patients with severe resistant hypercholesterolemia above perhaps 8 or 10 mmol/L.
And rosuvastatin is apparently the strongest as well as the youngest (preteen) of the current statins; so it should be used in low dose if at all. Have we learnt nothing from stilboestrol, thalidomide, practolol, cerivastatin, troglitazone, Vioxx?
It is obvious why statin promoters- the manufacturers and their hirelings- continue to spend $millions promoting the $billion statin trade. But it is doctors and especially Authorities- academics and regulators- who must explain why they are jeapordizing patients’ lives, why a high percentage of older patients- especially the overweight- are on the hugely advertized statins when they should be on the safe and highly beneficial metformin, fish oil and the other proven multibeneficial supplements eg vits-minerals, biologicals including appropriate HRT, and plant extracts.
PER ASTRA AD ARDUA ET LUCRUM:
The promoters of rosuvastatin – Crestor- make studious use of astrology- ASTEROID, JUPITER, AURORA– astronomical eponyms – to deviously promote the mystique of statins through their trial titles. But at least astute astrological physicians like Shakespeare’s contemporary Dr Simon Forman had some justification- there was seldom better treatment at the time, often far worse, and it was harmless (with romantic overtones) apart from perhaps distracting from more onerous changes in lifestyle and diet; and had grains of truth in the as-yet not scientifically recognized planetary and solar-lunar changes in weather etc which influence health..
And rosuvastatin studies only appear on Medline from 2001- barely a decade ago -so there cannot be any longterm experience let alone trial (as there is for metformin) on this wannabe chronic prevention drug for at least another decade. And the history of rosuvastatin, it’s discoverer and place of origin, is mysteriously not apparent on the AstraZeneca or any other website. This at 20 times the cost of simvastatin in UK .
Clearly Big Pharma and their lobbyists – with the glad connivance of Regulators and Medical Schemes- – still depend on age-old psychology to bluff doctors let alone patients.
*Aurora has two meanings, both of which are apposite for their use in statin ie Astra-Zeneca marketing :
- Aurora (astronomy), a glow in the sky seen at polar latitudes
- Aurora (mythology), the goddess of the dawn in Roman mythology -who had two siblings, a brother (Sol, the sun) and a sister (Luna, the moon).
- while Astra refers to the wandering stars!
Clearly the manufacturers of Crestor (Astra-Zeneca) wish these glowing images and more as their $reward for boosting their protege drug. And Zeneca is also under fire that “Women concerned about breast cancer are being bombarded with a massive advertising campaign for the drug tamoxifen” – which like all other modern drugs has no evidence base for longterm preventitive use.