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Statins, anyone?


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franklins Father had "IHSS"; I was diagnosed in 2005. Find out more about franklins
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  • Statins, anyone?

    In recovering from my myectomy, I left the hospital with a Rx for simvastatin to reduce cholesterol. I tried it for a month, but once it ran out, I didn't renew. Now I'm having a discussion with my regular cardiologist about it.

    With the statin, my cholesterol was 126 mg/dL total (w/ HDL = 34, LDL = 69),
    but I didn't like the side effects.

    Without the statin, and eating "normally" (meat, eggs, cheese, etc.) I'm up to 179 mg/dL total (w/ HDL = 35, LDL = 115).

    I expect to be going back to a mostly-vegetarian diet soon, so this may fluctuate.

    My Dr wants me to really get back on the statin, encouraging me with the results of the "JUPITER" Study and the UK Heart Protection Study.
    He says they show that, even in patients with low cholesterol, going lower was better, reducing the risk of heart attacks by half.

    Now, I looked at these - the Jupiter Study
    is on a population of older people with cholesterol below 130mg/dL with elevated C-reactive protein (>2.0 mg/L) numbers.

    It does indeed show a reduction in patients with "CV events": 251 on placebo compared to 142 on rosuvastatin (20 mg daily), but that's out of a population of 8901 patients (in each group) - or in other words, the risk of a CV event goes from 2.8% to 1.6%. Statistically significant, yes, a drop by 1.2%, but somehow it doesn't seem like that big a deal when put that way.

    The headline they obviously want is "Making cholesterol even lower reduces heart attack risk by half". But the study was completely funded by AstraZenica, a statin maker, and so I'd interpret this more as "Drug Company study shows even healthy people should take statins". I'm not very convinced.

    The Heart Protection Study in the UK is in a similar vein.
    They looked at older (>40 years old) patients with coronary disease, and did a placebo vs statin comparison.

    In their study, the number of deaths dropped from 1507 [14.7%] on placebo to 11328 [12.9%] on simvastatin - a change of 1.8%. Again, statistically significant, but not so compelling when put that way. And it turns out they received $200M in funding from statin manufacturers too, so their objectivity has been questioned.

    I just don't know - I'm not persuaded. I think my Dr is just trying to be a good cardiologist - on average, if he gives 100 patients statins, sooner or later, one of them will have their life saved by it, so why not?

    On the other hand, if I could, I'd rather not take any medications at all, and live better through eating the right things. My angiogram before my myectomy showed clean coronary arteries, so I must be doing something right.

    So, I toss this out to you guys - anyone on statins? Anybody have a Dr try to push statins on them before? Any experience with statins and HCM? A Google search shows some older promising studies about treating HCM with statins, but nothing conclusive.


    Frank S.
    Father had "IHSS"
    "Exercise induced asthma" since age 40
    Diagnosed with HCM age 44 (2004)
    Myectomy and L Ant Artery unbridging Stanford Dr. Mallidi 3/17/2011

  • #2
    Re: Statins, anyone?

    Great question. I have always had high cholesteral numbers, but scored zero to almost zero on the calcuim scans. Nonethelss, the deal with my primary is that I am going to try and eat right this summer and lower the bad choleteral number or else try the statins. I am pretty sure despite best efforts that I will not get the cholestral numbers into the even the normal ranges. What were the side effects that you noticed?

    Diagnosed with unobstructed HCM in 2004 after a bad experience playing tennis
    Graduated to obstructed HCM by Dec, 2008.

    Life outside of HCM: Law, Photography, Tennis, Music, raising kids and camping


    • #3
      Re: Statins, anyone?

      What kind of side effects were you having? Muscle soreness is common and if one causes it a change in statin may be in order. I could not tolerate Lipitor but have no trouble with Crestor. I do believe in the Statin drugs. I feel an HCM pt with an elevated cholesterol puts themselves at risk for other heart problems. In my opinion HCM is enough!

      Diagnosed in 1977, Myectomy in 1981 @ Mayo Rochester
      ICD&Pacemaker 1996
      Heart transplant March 19, 2004 @ Mayo Rochester
      Mom of Kaye.


      • #4
        Re: Statins, anyone?

        The side effect that pushed me over the edge were night sweats - I would wake up with my sheets drenched by 2 AM, and need to change pajamas and sleep with a towel. All went away without the statin. Muscle soreness? Not clear what was left from the surgery and what was due to statin, but I felt better without it.

        Frank S.
        Father had "IHSS"
        "Exercise induced asthma" since age 40
        Diagnosed with HCM age 44 (2004)
        Myectomy and L Ant Artery unbridging Stanford Dr. Mallidi 3/17/2011


        • #5
          Re: Statins, anyone?


          before i knew that i had hcm my local cardiologist ran a heart cath and said my arteries were beautiful but since my numbers were a little high he wanted me to take Simcor (combo simvastatin/niacin). My number was 230 and 39 on the good. He wanted my total to be below 200 and my good to be above 40.

          I told him "NO" that I wanted another test ran after I try to do it with diet/exercise. I started the diet and exercise, garlic, 500mg of slo-niacin from Walgreens etc...a few months later after he knew my HCM diagnosis from Mayo clinic, my numbers were 170 and 41. I was so happy but local cardiologist said "I still want you to take the Simcor". I said "but my numbers are where you said you wanted them", He said "yea but since you have a heart problem you really need to around 130-150."

          I said no thank you, I have been eating red meat and pork all my life and you said my arteries are clear. He may be right but I am skeptical. Follow the money!

          I am not saying no one should take statins but I do say save it for the people who really need it and leave the rest of us alone. I didn't feel like my local cardiologist was very authentic in trying to prescribe the med.

          I am going to Mayo in September and I will wait and see what my numbers are and see what they recommend.
          • Diagnosed with HOCM 7/09
          • ICD implanted 8/3/09 - Mayo Clinic
          • Septal Myectomy at Mayo by Dr. Dearani on August 16th, 2012
          • I left a piece of my heart at Mayo Clinic and I am forever grateful
          • I currently take Metoprolol Tartrate 50 MG twice daily


          • #6
            Re: Statins, anyone?

            I too, had elevated levels and a statin was suggested. I tried to get my levels down with diet, but exercise is hard to do when you are getting short of breath on a regular walk. I decided to take the Simvastin. I have had no side effects and the results were significant in bringing down my numbers. My cardiologist and I are very happy with the results.


            • #7
              Re: Statins, anyone?

              I'm doing well on Lipitor. I don't have much in the way of side effects on this drug unlike some of the other statins I tried along the way.
              ICD 1/20/10
              Myectomy 8/25/10
              @ Johns Hopkins
              Surgeon Duke Cameron


              • #8
                Re: Statins, anyone?

                I had horrible side effects from Lipitor after less than a week - I now take Zocor for almost 2 years with no problem whatsoever.