Monday, July 7, 2008

Statins for Kids??

The AMA released a notice today stating that they now recommend low fat milk for all children over the age of 12 months, and cholesterol lowering medications to children as young as eight-years-old, inspite of a recent study suggesting that cholesterol lowering meds can alter genetic structure and deteriorate muscles, including the heart muscle.

The pharmaceutical industry line is that a very small percentage of people actually suffer horrific, painful side effects from cholesterol lowering (statin) drugs. If these side effects happen to my child or grandchild, that would make it a 100% reaction for an innocent child and that is not reasonable in this writer's opinion.

There are a number of other ways to lower the childhood factors associated with increased risk of developing heart problems in adult years, including healthy dietary changes that include eliminating all junk foods (specifically all corn-based oil and high-sugar syrup foods) portion control (supersize nothing) and a moderate amount of daily exercise, all of which include positive side effects.

It seems almost criminal to subject any young child to the potential painful side effect risks associated with statin drugs, particularly if this AMA recommendation is in any way being made to increase profits for BigPharma.


Anonymous said...

I have been amazed when I go to school lunch with my 10 year old to see what the Kids are eating. Most all of it fattening, not just what is seved by the school but what the children are bring. We dont need drugs, we need better nutrition.

Joe Vanyo, PhD said...

For God Sakes What is the AMA thinking?

Cholesterol, in its chemical structure, is metabolized into other essential body steroids knows as the steroid hormones and is the sole substrate within our bodies for the formation of the very powerful chemicals that determine our sexuality, control the reproductive process and make possible our very existence.

Molecular biology researchers marvel at the remarkable similarity in chemical structure sex hormones have with each other and with the original cholesterol parent from which they were derived.

I agree with Ellen Troyer, it would be criminal to recommend cholesterol lowering drugs for most children.

Spencer Thornton, M.D. said...

That the AMA has endorsed this pharmaceutically driven directive is not surprising. That body has lost its credibility as the voice for sound medicine through positions such as this.

I agree with Dr. Vanyo. Subjecting children to chemical formulas such as statins to lower cholesterol is irresponsible and shortsighted.

Actions like this may explain why many doctors, including myself, have quit the AMA.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is just so wrong in so many ways. Shamefully!

Why isn’t the American Medical Association instead saying, no, URGING people to stop eating chain restaurant food, fake food, etc.?

Isn’t it better, smarter, and wiser for them to strongly encourage people to stop eating at McDonalds, drinking Coca-Cola and other processed stupid food and beverages? Of course it is. But instead, they’re going to wimp out again. As a bonus, they’re going to demonize Whole Milk and encourage cholesterol lowering drugs for kids. When will this madness stop?

We didn’t have these problems 40 years ago when most food was real. But now it’s better to make the big food and drug companies more and more money, as our nation’s health declines endlessly.

““We are in an epidemic,” said Dr. Jatinder Bhatia,” - Yes, an epidemic of stupidity, and the AMA is going to do their best to keep that going.

Aliciavina said...

What an indecent proposal! Please tell me that this isn’t true….

Children should NOT ever, ever receive statin drugs (nor should anyone as far as I am concerned).

Cholesterol is an essential chemical for brain and muscle function, and I certainly wouldn’t mess with that for growing minds and bodies. Statins block the production of enzyme Q10 as well…with many implications.

Despite popular notions to the contrary, there is no hard evidence that lowering cholesterol has any benefit towards preventing atherosclerois. In fact, just the opposite appears to be true.

There is a growing body of evidence from serious scientists and medical professionals that show the whole war against cholesterol to be completely misguided.

Google Uffe Ravnskov if you want to see the other side of the issue other than what drug companies are claiming. It will scare you.

Davis Liu, M.D. said...


There is no evidence that statins at such a young age will benefit.

As we know, children are not “little adults”. Hopefully there will be some sort of clinical trial in the future that actually shows some benefit of taking medication as a youngster, perhaps those with strong family histories of familial hypercholesterolemia. Clinical trials with children showing efficacy and safety of various prescription drugs are woefully inadequate.

While I understand the AMA concerns, I wonder if this is the best way to address the nation’s epidemic of overweight and obese children.

Davis Liu, M.D.
Author of Stay Healthy, Live Longer, Spend Wisely - Making Intelligent Choices in America’s Healthcare System

Diego Prada said...

My God. First the drug companies tried to put our kids on antipsychotics and antidepressants. They succeeded.

Now they want to put them on cholesterol medications. I am sure they will succeed too, even though most kids on these drugs never really needed them. It is just simply outrageous and immoral. The absolute greed of these drug companies under a guise of health concern has no bottom and should not be underestimated. They will push anything, at any cost. Because the profits are always greater than any lawsuit they will ever face. They just don’t care. As a parent you should be aware of this reality. Please never ever put your kids on meds unless it is life or death. Be a good parent first and talk to them about their problems. And if your kids cholesterol is too high then go buy them an excercise bike at Walmart for 88 bucks!

Donald Rush, PhD said...

A 2006 study in The Archives of Internal Medicine looked at seven trials of statin use in nearly 43,000 patients, mostly middle-aged men without heart disease. In that review, statins didn’t lower mortality.

Nor did they in a study called Prosper, published in The Lancet in 2002, which studied statin use in people 70 and older.

Nor did they in a 2004 review in The Journal of the American Medical Association, which looked at 13 studies of nearly 20,000 women, both healthy and with established heart disease.

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology published a report combining data from several studies of people 65 and older who had a prior heart attack or established heart disease. This “meta-analysis” showed that 18.7 percent of the placebo users died during the studies, compared with 15.6 percent of the statin users.

This translates into a 22 percent lower mortality risk for high-risk patients over 65. A co-author of the study, Dr. Jonathan Afilalo, a cardiology fellow at McGill University in Montreal, says that for every 28 patients over 65 with heart disease who take statins, one life will be saved.

I have a friend (age 34) who has been on Lipitor for 4 years now. He eats poorly, doesn’t exercise and will likely been on some version of a statin for the rest of his life. When I offered a nutrition/training program (at his wife’s request) to help him get in shape, he replied that his muscles hurt too much to do strenuous exercise.

He didn’t know that muscle pain was a common side effect of statins. His doctor never told him.

So I told him.

He is still on the drugs, is fatter than ever and has no intention of changing.

Have we lost our minds?

Mirin Lamia said...

I have been in the health care field for 50 years as a pharmacist. During that time I have lived by the motto (as I’m sure all ethical and conscientious medical practitioners have) “DO NO HARM”.

Let me say that the drug industry does not seem to share this same concern. I am fed up with the entire pharmaceutical industry.

Yes, there are some good & honest research results that have led to the control (if not eradication) of some diseases & serious health conditions. However, the main thrust now seems to be “MAKE MORE MONEY”. They have the potential to become even more powerful than “BIG OIL”. They are seemingly without conscience when it comes to advertising on TV & RADIO the “marvelous” drugs for sleep, over-active children, cholesterol, impotence, high blood pressure, overactive bladder,etc,etc,etc.

Seemingly rubber stamped by the FDA, DRUGS are released on the market without being fully tested beforehand and then withdrawn after they “HAVE DONE HARM” to unsuspecting patients. Doctors are virtually coerced, bribed & sold a bill of goods on how wonderful these drugs are & their new uses.

The American Medical Association, American Pediatric Association & other important
organs that speak for doctors are either powerless or unwilling to point out obvious
flaws in this whole set-up.

And so now we have cholesterol drugs being recommended for children as low as 8 years old.


SF Smith, RN, MS, ABD said...

Giving statins to our children is a crime in itself, when what parents need to do is lifestyle changes - better nutrition, more exercise, and, as Ellen Troyer points out, eliminating junk foods. As a nurse, I cannot even imagine why the AMA would suggest this, unless they are being paid off by the pharmaceutical companies.

J McIntire said...

It seems a better option would be to improve the diet and exercise habits of children. The idea of pumping kids with pharmaceuticals is beyond ridiculous.

But, why worry about side effects? BigPharma will also provide meds for any side effects your children on statins might experience.

Anna Lord said...

I trust American doctors. I think a good healthy breakfast for a child should consist of:
- Ritalin
- statins
- Prozac
- etc.

But isn’t age of 8 too late?

MW said...

My concern is, well, aside from several issues that have been afore mentioned in this blog, that cholesterol remains the precursor to so many hormones that are requisite to normal growth and development.

Whereas I am not a conspiracy theorist who believes that whole factions of the medical industry are in bed with pharm, I do recognize the problems with “academically” prescribed medicine. This might sound good (as did trans-fats as mentioned above), but in the clinical practice of such measures, I can’t help but be extremely reluctant.

The problem is obesity, and the solution is not to treat the fat, but to help people not to become fat. Would seem to be a more appropriate use of our time and money?

Let us all remember that nothing is accomplished by attacking anyone or any entity, but let us work steadfast and with civility towards treatments that make sense. Other than healthy eating habits, civility is something else that we have long since forgotten in this country.

Edna Harris said...

This recommendation is just appalling. I'm at a total loss for words.

Harry Robinson said...

Children playing outdoors has two advantages and one disadvantage: The advantages are that playing outdoors (1) involves vigorous exercise; and, (2) provides exposure to sunlight which (a) reduces cholesterol “naturally” and (simultaneously) (b) increases the level of vitamin D.

The disadvantage, of course, is that playing outdoors (and sunlight) is free and doesn’t make any money for greedy pharmaceutical companies and their “bought and payed for partners” the medical profession.

The “losers” are the American public, especially the children that this latest outrage is supposed to help.

Anonymous said...

Oh God. Low-fat milk and statins, that’s just what America’s children need.

Proper nutrition from birth, and for pregnant and breast-feeding mamas, will go much further towards reducing childhood obesity and risk of heart disease.

Or we could cut all the fat out of their dairy, depriving them of a natural source (if the dairy is from grass-fed animals) of essential fat-soluble vitamins D, A and K2.

Then we could feed our children lots of sugar because they’re still hungry after all that unsatisfying low-fat dairy. Then we could give them drugs when they’re short on attention and obese. Sounds like a fantastic idea

James Barnes, PhD said...

There may be a place for statin drugs for adults who freely choose to take drugs they purchase with the money they earn so that they can continue to overeat anything they want and never exercise. But, the public healthcare system should not be expected to help pay for this choice since no one wins except BigPharma.

The AMA has sunk to new lows by suggesting these drugs to be appropriate for children.

Hopefully, the outraged public pushback to this suggestion will discourage the sale of junk food to children and will make exercise classes in the public school system mandatory once again.

Janice said...

Children from ages 1-2 need whole milk for bone and brain development. So are we more concerned with them being overweight then about their development. I hope doctors and parents are smart enough not be put their children on cholesterol lowering drugs. My child eats a lot but we are outside everyday playing so he is not overweight. If my pediatrician ever suggested statin drugs I would find a new one.

Dr.Chester Prof.Chatwin said...

Obesity is one health condition that has attained serious proportion all over the world and especially the US. In this country obesity has infact been declared an epidemic. It’s not unnatural therefore that the government and the other related organizations are making vigorous efforts to educate people on the same. The weight loss drugs are also being targeted at the population of this country. US being the richest nation with the highest per capita income these drugs have found buyers in this country.

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