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    Thursday, August 10, 2006

    Another Coup for Lipitor: That miracle drug, Lipitor, is in the news again. Already a drug of choice in preventing heart disease, it's now being touted as preventative for strokes:

    High doses of a cholesterol-lowering drug may help some stroke survivors avoid a second stroke and future heart problems, according to a new study.

    Experts said medical guidelines would probably be changed to recommend high doses of statin drugs as a routine part of stroke care for certain patients.

    The study found that for every 100 people given high doses of the statin Lipitor, there were about two fewer strokes and three to four fewer major heart problems than among those given dummy pills. There was one more case of hemorrhagic stroke - bleeding into the brain.


    Evidently, whether or not you think the drug is worth taking depends on whether you're a glass-half-empty or glass-half-full kind of person. But don't worry, my profession will take the choice away from you by making incorporating it into a guideline and thus making it standard of care, and thus an issue of "quality." And it will only cost you (or your insurance company, or the government) about a hundred dollars a month.

    The study, funded by Lipitor-maker Pfizer, is here. Some things to note: 1) They used only the highest (and most expensive) dose of Lipitor 2) The study was only for five years, so it's impossible to comment on the long term side effects of taking high dose Lipitor. 3) The patients taking Lipitor had higher rates of liver inflammation. 4) Patients on the high dose of Lipitor died at the same rate as those taking placebo.
     

    posted by sydney on 8/10/2006 08:44:00 AM 2 comments

    2 Comments:

    The CV literature is rife with info that has not be proven yet but already has become part of guidelines. First they said lower is better....but the truth is their is not enough data to support it yet. Next they said raising HDl will decrease morbidity and mortality...agian no data. Now high dose statins prevent stroke....yet people die at the same rate. What happen to evidence based medicine? I'll tell you what...money, politics, and influence. Science?...not so important

    By Blogger Jordan, at 10:01 AM  

    The August 10 WSJ has a different take with the article Lipitor Shows Limited Benefit for Stroke. Co-author Justin A. Zivin notes that 'The (beneficial) effect is about what you get from aspirin..."

    It is important to note that all 11 study co-authors had financial ties to Pfizer. "Some co-authors said they were nevertheless able to make independent judgments."

    I don't think so.

    Steve Lucas

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:16 PM  

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