Statin drugs Baycol
Statin drugs BaycolReuters

A study exploring the efficacy of cholesterol-lowering statins says that advantages of the medications are lesser-known. Extensive criticism for apparently having many side effects also forces many patients to even refuse consumption of the pills.

The study, published on Sept. 9, was done by a team led by Professor Rory Collins of Oxford University. It also says that cardiovascular ailments are one of the major causes of deaths in the United States.

"Stanin pills have been benefitting all those suffering from high cholesterol levels not just by depleting the cholesterol levels in the blood, but also by keeping the heart attack-causing inflammation under control," the report said.

Various studies conducted in the past have led to claims that the medicines' consumption leads to muscle weakness and degeneration. It is also blamed for harming kidneys and other vital organs.

"There seemed to be a lot of confusion, particularly around the alleged side effects of statins," stated Collins. "There is a claim that 20 per cent of patients given statins claim to be statin intolerant," Collins added.

In 2001, cholesterol-fighting statin drug Baycol was removed from the market by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after it allegedly caused 31 deaths due to muscle disorders. It had become a cause of concern in the States and labels of various statins were revised by the FDA. Medics and patients were also advised about the risks and limit of dosage to prevent muscle impairments.

Randomised controlled trials and observations were made on the drugs in which high cholesterol patients were divided into two groups. Patients in one group were given statins and those in the other group were given dummy pills. The groups were then observed and compared.

The doctors had informed patients about the side effects of the drugs. This made the patients blame the drugs for whatever muscle pains they suffered from, which could have even occurred due to exercising. On the other hand, people on placebo didn't blame the drugs.

However, the results about the effects of the drugs were not reliable. It could have been dependable if the patients as well as the doctors were not informed about the placebo being given to the group.

The available data was studied by the lead researcher of the study, Collins, who revealed the benefits of consuming statin drugs. "The drug has the ability to reduce the risk of experiencing cardiovascular events by 25 per cent for each unit drop in cholesterol levels," Collins said.

As per Collin's calculation, people, who are diagnosed with heart ailments or experienced a heart attack and have been consuming statins for more than five years, will be at 10 per cent lesser risk of suffering from any heart events.