5 Stubborn Statin Myths vs Data that Refute Them

November 22, 2017
Seth Martin, MD, MHS

Dr. Martin is an assistant professor at the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Conference | <b>AHA 2020</b>

At AHA.17, Dr Rory Collins offered large-scale trial data to help dispel dangerous disinformation still circulating about the effects of statins.

“Disinformation” on statins is prevalent and has contributed to these medicines being underutilized in prevention of cardiovascular disease.

This short slide show presents 5 common myths about the effects of statin drugs followed by evidence from large scale trials to debunk them.

We are fortunate to have clear and convincing evidence on statin effects. As noted by Dr. Collins during his presentation, erroneous information on statins taken as fact can lead to death and disability.

Today there is a need for rapid, robust, and trusted rebuttal of disinformation that is relevant to public health.

 

 

Myth #1: Statins cause side effects in 20% of patients.

 

 

The data: Zhang H, Plutzky J, Skentzos S, et al. Discontinuation of statins in routine care settings: a cohort study.Ann Intern Med. 2013;158:526-34. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-158-7-201304020-00004.

 

Myth #2: Statins commonly cause awful muscle problems.

 

The data: Collins R, Reith C, Emberson J, et al. Interpretation of the evidence for the efficacy and safety of statin therapy.Lancet. 2016; 388: 2532–61.http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/

 

Myth #3: Statins and low cholesterol cause cancer.

 

The data: Cholesterol Treatment Trialists' (CTT) Collaboration.Lack of effect of lowering LDL cholesterol on cancer: meta-analysis of individual data from 175,000 people in 27 randomised trials of statin therapy.PLoS One. 2012;7:e29849. doi:  10.1371/journal.pone.0029849

 

Myth #4: Statins commonly cause diabetes without prior notice.

 

The data: Ridker PM, Pradhan A, MacFadyen JG, Libby P, Glynn RJ. Cardiovascular benefits and diabetes risks of statin therapy in primary prevention: an analysis from the JUPITER trial. Lancet. 2012;380:656-571.

 

Myth #5: Most statin trials exclude patients during a run-in phase who would otherwise suffer from statin
side-effects.

 

The data: Ganga HV, Slim HB, Thompson PD. A systematic review of statin-induced muscle problems in clinical trials. Am Heart J. 2014;168:6-15. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2014.03.019.