S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Back to the basics of statins

Vytorin will no longer be my drug of choice. Quoting from the New York Times:

Two widely prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs, Vytorin and Zetia, may not work and should be used only as a last resort, a panel of four cardiologists told an audience of more than 5,000 people at a major cardiology conference on Sunday.

. . . Both the panel and the editorial were timed to coincide with the release of full results from a two-year clinical trial that showed that the drugs failed to slow, and might have even sped up, the growth of fatty plaques in the arteries. Growth of those plaques is closely correlated with heart attacks and strokes.

Merck and Schering-Plough, the companies that make Vytorin and Zetia, said on Sunday that they disagreed with the recommendations. Vytorin and Zetia have been proved to lower cholesterol and are valuable treatments for patients, said Dr. Rick Veltri, vice president of the Schering-Plough research institute.

“We feel that nothing’s changed,” Dr. Veltri said.

I have been taking this very expensive drug, Vytorin for years now. Now I find out that is is not fit for human consumption under the terms it was marketed -- again we find out that the FDA has not protected consumers! When I go to my doctor appointment tomorrow, I do not know which of us will mention the issue first. But it will come up. And I will have to go back on the old fashioned statins that cause so many side effects for me. I sometimes even question the need to take this stuff in order to keep my cholesterol level within bounds. I think I may have the same frustration as lots of older Americans regarding the whole issue of taking lots of medications. We are "between a rock and a hard place."

Neither my complaint nor my general thoughts will be unusual or unique today. I am mad at the pharmaceutical industry and Merck in particular. I feel that the pharmaceutical industry should not be allowed to advertise prescription drugs on television. The advertising surely must cause an increase in the price of prescription drugs.

Forbes reports that Merck stock prices fell 16% in morning trading. Schering-Plough dropped by 25%. I am not surprised because Merck's record is getting pretty bad.

View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is new at Making Good Mondays.

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