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Statin therapy for healthy people with high cholesterol?

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SW VandeCarr
#37
Sep10-12, 08:55 PM
P: 2,499
Quote Quote by ApplePion View Post
What I claimed was that people with increased cholesterol are at increased risk for heart disease
Yes, "increased risk" is the way to say it. I agree.
ApplePion
#38
Sep10-12, 10:26 PM
P: 205
Quote Quote by SW VandeCarr View Post
Does having heart disease or being at high risk sound healthy to you?
Does the term "seemingly healthy" sound like "healthy" to you?

Quote Quote by SW VandeCarr View Post
I agree that if they are symptomatic or have arterial blockage on testing, they should be treated with statins, but not if it's just a laboratory value and no other interventions have been tried.
Are you not aware that you were responding to a post where I specifically quoted your post saying that often people with severe heart disease are completely undiagnosable because they have no symptoms and their disease will not show up on tests?

If you are not aware that you posted it, you should carefully look at my post labelled #37, where I quote you.
SW VandeCarr
#39
Sep10-12, 10:35 PM
P: 2,499
Quote Quote by ApplePion View Post
Does the term "seemingly healthy" sound like "healthy" to you?
In the absence of any other information, yes.
ApplePion
#40
Sep10-12, 10:38 PM
P: 205
This contradicts your claim in post 37:

"In the elderly without established [coronary artery disease], but with risk factors for coronary artery disease, drug treatment should be introduced when indicated by the high prevalence of subclinical disease. This recommendation is supported by the studies: Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS),[22] PROSPER,[14] and HPS.[13] The National Cholesterol Education Program III (NCEP III)[23] also recommends dyslipidemia treatment in elderly patients without CAD, since the studies above mentioned certify the efficacy of statin therapy in CAD high risk elderly, even without diagnosed disease."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/arti...5/?tool=pubmed

In post 34 you post that people with very severe heart disease often seem healthy, and that tests often cannot detect the heart disease. In post 41 you say that if there is no appearance of of heart disease that a person should be considered to not have heart disease.
SW VandeCarr
#41
Sep11-12, 03:49 PM
P: 2,499
Quote Quote by ApplePion View Post
I never claimed that cholesterol is the whole story--smoking, high blood pressure and diabetes are other factors. Indeed, smoking is a much more important factor for heart disease. Nor is the evidence "recent" that cholesterol is not the whole thing. What I claimed was that people with increased cholesterol are at increased risk for heart disease.
What you've been claiming was that high serum cholesterol caused CVD. Now you're saying that it increases the risk, which is correct. These concepts need to be distinguished by scientists if not lay people. High serum cholesterol is neither a necessary nor sufficient cause of CVD outcomes such as heart attacks or strokes.

Quote Quote by ApplePion View Post
Does the term "seemingly healthy" sound like "healthy" to you?
What does seemingly healthy mean? In the absence of more information, if a person appears healthy from whatever information base we have, say from a health status screening, should we assume that the person is not healthy? Are you arguing that everyone should be tested for every possible pathology without some basis for doing so?

Quote Quote by ApplePion View Post
Are you not aware that you were responding to a post where I specifically quoted your post saying that often people with severe heart disease are completely undiagnosable because they have no symptoms and their disease will not show up on tests?

If you are not aware that you posted it, you should carefully look at my post labelled #37, where I quote you.
I am aware that you quoted the author of the paper from which I posted an excerpt as requested by Evo. The author expressed an opinion about an elderly population which might be at high risk. In other words he made a presumption about a demographic which is not unreasonable. Moreover, there is one statin which is now approved for primary prevention.

In any case, because I posted a paper for its substantive value, are you suggesting I should agree with any or all opinions the author may express?

I don't intend to respond to any more of your posts because I believe your intentions are questionable. Your initial position was that I was an unconditional supporter of the so called "cholesterol skeptics". I'm not and in any case, some of their positions have been vindicated. You accused me of misinterpreting a study I posted. I did not. You failed to understand that I was talking about survival studies of familial hypercholesterolemia patients, not the study end point, even though it was clearly stated in the quote you posted. I could go on, but it's not worth my time.
ApplePion
#42
Sep11-12, 04:12 PM
P: 205
Quote Quote by SW VandeCarr View Post
What you've been claiming was that high cholesterol caused CVD. Now you're saying that it increases the risk, which is correct. These concepts need to be distinguished by scientists if not lay people. High serum cholesterol is neither a necessary or sufficient cause of CVD.
So when people say that drunk driving is a cause of accidents do you object, saying that it is not a cause, but only increases the risk, and that it is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for an accident?

And if you agree high cholesterol increases the risk, why did you object to lowering cholesterol? I presume you do not object to decreasing the amount of drunk driving.

Quote Quote by SW VandeCarr View Post
What does seemingly healthy mean? In the absence of more information, if a person appears healthy from what ever information base we have, should we assume that the person is not healthy?
If someone appears healthy but otherwise has high cholesterol we should assume he might be unhealthy.

In fact, that was a recommendation of a paper you yourself posted.

Do you also think that people with high blood pressure who seem healthy should not get their blood pressure under control?
mazinse
#43
Sep11-12, 04:37 PM
P: 190
This phrase "appears healthy" really doesn't say much. Is this a subjective or objective thing. I am puzzled by its meaning. You cant see atherosclerosis plaque built up in coronary arteries with a bunch lab tests.
SW VandeCarr
#44
Sep11-12, 05:50 PM
P: 2,499
Quote Quote by ApplePion View Post
If someone appears healthy but otherwise has high cholesterol we should assume he might be unhealthy.

In fact, that was a recommendation of a paper you yourself posted.

Do you also think that people with high blood pressure who seem healthy should not get their blood pressure under control?
Despite what I said, I must respond to this because it is so obviously wrong. I never said high cholesterol in "healthy" people should not be treated. First there is diet, exercise and life style modifications such as in alleviating high stress situations to the extent possible. Secondly, there are other non-statin drugs approved for reducing cholesterol. Thirdly, there is now is one statin that is approved for primary prevention in the US.

BTW, since this is available, if a physician prescribes another statin for an off-lable indication and has a treatment failure, he or she could be hauled into court, at least in the US. That's not a good situation, but other manufactures have either not yet gotten approval based on the trials they've done or the trials they have started that have not yet been completed and analyzed.
bohm2
#45
Sep11-12, 07:59 PM
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Quote Quote by SW VandeCarr View Post
Despite what I said, I must respond to this because it is so obviously wrong. I never said high cholesterol in "healthy" people should not be treated.
Just to comment on this issue. The 3 studies mentioned before by ApplePion (HPS, PROSPER and the prospective Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) are not particularly convincing, in my opinion.
1. The PROSPER study showed no benefits in terms of all-cause mortality in the treatment group
2. The HPS study was a secondary prevention study so it's difficult to extrapolate for primary prevention
3. The CHS study was a prospective study not a controlled clinical trial.
I do think this topic is debatable and difficult particularly because 2 recent reviews/meta-analysis question or at least caution against the use of such drugs for primary prevention:
In conclusion, based on aggregate data on 65 229 men and women from 11 studies, yielding approximately 244 000 person-years of follow-up and 2793 deaths, we observed that statin therapy for an average period of 3.7 years had no benefit on all-cause mortality in a high-risk primary prevention population. Current prevention guidelines endorse statin therapy for subjects at high global risk of incident CVD as a means to reduce fatal and nonfatal vascular events. Due consideration is needed in applying statin therapy in lower-risk primary prevention populations.
Statins and All-Cause Mortality in High-Risk Primary Prevention
http://www.courses.ahc.umn.edu/pharm...Med%202010.pdf
Although reductions in all-cause mortality, composite endpoints and revascularisations were found with no excess of adverse events, there was evidence of selective reporting of outcomes, failure to report adverse events and inclusion of people with cardiovascular disease. Only limited evidence showed that primary prevention with statins may be cost effective and improve patient quality of life. Caution should be taken in prescribing statins for primary prevention among people at low cardiovascular risk.
Statins for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21249663
ApplePion
#46
Sep12-12, 12:11 PM
P: 205
Hi bohm2. I'm short on time now, so I might not be able to give you a detailed response for several days. But just quickly looking at the studies you posted I see that one of the studies has a Relative Risk for all cause mortalty of of .91 and the other one has an RR of .83. That means that in one study the people taking statins had a reduced risk of dying of all causes of 9 percent and in one they had a reduced risk of dying of all causes of 17 percent. Under the (unfortunate) rules of "statistical signficance" it was not statistically significant because the sample size was not large enough. But clearly the people in the studies taking statins did significantly better.

If I played chess with you and you beat me in 3 games out of 3, it would not be statistically significant because the number of games was too small, but nevertheless it would be serious evidence that you were a better chess player than me...despite that lack (under the rules) of statistical significance.

I am under the impression that the benefits of statins have indeed been demonstrated to be "statistically significant"--I will look into it when I have time... but regardless, if I had high cholesterol and was told that after confounding variables were accounted for, people in those two studies taking statins had a lower total death rate by 9 or 17 percent I would think it would be an extremely illogical move not to take statins.
bohm2
#47
Sep12-12, 10:10 PM
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Note, that a relative risk reduction is far less impressive than an absolute risk reduction. Also note and as reported in the Cochrane review, if one considers known "publication bias" in pharmaceutical research that will likely to lead to over-representing positive results, the small, statistically, non-significant, relative reduction is likely to be nil. It's well known that,
Published pharmaceutical industry–sponsored trials are more likely than non-industry sponsored trials to report results and conclusions that favor drug over placebo.
Similarily,
RCTs of head-to-head comparisons of statins with other drugs are more likely to report results and conclusions favoring the sponsor’s product compared to the comparator drug. This bias in drug–drug comparison trials should be considered when making decisions regarding drug choice.
Factors Associated with Findings of Published Trials of Drug–Drug Comparisons: Why Some Statins Appear More Efficacious than Others
http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/...l.pmed.0040184

Just to give 1 example, consider the HPS study you mentioned which was statistically significant and showed a relative risk reduction (RRR) of 11.5 % for secondary (not primary) prevention. What that translates to (in terms of number neeeded to treat (NNT) is 57 patients for 5 years to prevent 1 death). Then there is the question of how much longer will that person live? And there's the publication bias problems. One can argue that the "true" NNT is higher than the one published.
berkeman
#48
Sep16-12, 04:06 PM
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