FDA Approves Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs for Healthy People

For many yoga practitioners, taking advantage of new developments in the arena of health often plays a part in maintaining an optimal lifestyle. However, sorting through what’s real prevention and what’s so-called ‘faux prevention’ (i.e. prevention that someone makes money on, but which isn’t necessarily that great for you) is not always easy.

Take the FDA’s new rules for cholesterol-lowering prescription drugs, for example. According to the New York Times, the FDA recently gave the green light for doctors to push cholesterol-lowering drugs, or statins, to healthy people, even those who don’t have high cholesterol. The new push is to prescribe the drugs on the basis of a test for inflammation in the body. There is only one problem: Inflammation tests do nothing to measure bad cholesterol levels in the body; and there is no agreement among the medical community that inflammation is even a direct cause of cardiovascular issues.

Under this new criteria, an extra 6.5 million Americans who have no cholesterol problems and no sign or history of heart problems will be considered candidates for statins. The drug companies claim that the use of statins in healthy people can cut the risk of heart disease in half, but the truth is, so few healthy people are at risk that this figure may be misleading:

In the sourced study, the rate of heart attacks for the control group was .37%; for those who took the drug, it was .17%. Although statistically significant, this difference in percent translates to mean: in order for one person to avoid a usually survivable heart attack, over 500 healthy people would need to be unnecessarily treated with the drug.

And with new research indicating that the cholesterol-lowering drug in question increases Type 2 diabetes risk by 9%, along with other side effects, one really has to wonder whether or not the benefits of prescribing statins to healthy people are worthwhile.

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