So in conclusion, Statin drugs do
have a mortality benefit, however, this is restricted to men with known
heart disease amounting to about 0.5% per year reduction in mortality
compared to a placebo. This benefit is so miniscule that one wonders
why statin drugs are recommended at all, considering their severe
adverse side effects with memory loss, neuropathy, muscle pain and
weakness. For women, the elderly, and all men without underlying heart
disease, Dr Sinatra reminds us that statin drugs are unnecessary and
Do Statin Drugs Prevent Progression or Reverse Atherosclerotic Plaque?
question comes up form time to time, and is an important one, since
people with heart disease are interested in interventions which can
prevent progression or reverse atherosclerotic plaque formation in the
The coronary calcium score studies (16),
Hi-Speed CAT scan coronary angiogram studies, and intravascular
ultrasound studies (15) reveal in-vivo imaging of atherosclerotic plaque
over time and can provide these answers.
Some of the calcium
score studies (such as Budoff's (26)) showed reduced progression or even
regression of calcium score, suggesting a reduction in atherosclerotic
plaque with statin drug treatment.(15-26)
However, some of the
calcium score studies were disappointing, showing no improvement in
calcium score with statin treatment. This was thought to be due to
reduction in soft plaque with no reduction in the calcific plaque.
Can Statin Drugs Reverse Plaque ?
The totality of all the imaging studies provides fairly strong evidence that statin drug treatment is capable
of halting progression, or even regression of atherosclerotic plaque in
various locations in the arterial tree. However, the problem arises as
to what happens to the rest of the patient. For example, the Calcium
score study done with the banned statin drug, Baychol, showed striking
regression of atherosclerotic plaque. (16) However, the drug was banned
after killing fifty people. This brings to mind the old sarcastic
medical comment, "The operation was a success but the patient died."
What is the Price ?
the final answer is that, yes, intervention with statin drugs can halt
progression or reverse atherosclerotic plaque. However, the price in
adverse effects is great, with non-cardiac mortality offsetting
reduction in cardiac mortality, explaining the lack of all-cause
mortality benefit in primary prevention studies, and for studies in
women, and in studies in the elderly (PROSPER). After all, statin drugs
are mitochondrial toxins, and a reduction in serum cholesterol is an
unhealthy intervention which causes disruption of normal cell
physiology. Low serum cholesterol is associated with increased
mortality from NON-cardiac causes. Dr Judith Walsh reviews these
problems and concludes that it is time to change direction in health
What are the other interventions to halt progression or reverse heart disease?
This brings us inexorably to the question of what are the alternatives to statin drugs?
is strong supporting evidence that optimization of hormone levels is a
valuable intervention for prevention of heart disease associated with
minimal adverse effects. These include thyroid hormone, testosterone,
estrogen and vitamin D (which is also a steroidal hormone).
HUNT Study - Thyroid Function and Heart Disease
The Hunt Study
is strong evidence optimizing thyroid function to reduce mortality from
heart disease. People (Men and Women) in the upper third of thyroid
function (lower third of TSH range) had 70% reduction in mortality from
heart disease.(28,29) (LINK)
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Jeffrey Dach MD is a physician and author of two books, Natural Medicine 101, and Bioidentical Hormones 101, both available on Amazon, or as a free e-book on his web sites.
Dr. Dach is founder and chief medical officer of TrueMedMD, a clinic in (more...
|The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author
and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.