Dr. Nortin Hadler, author of Worried Sick: A Prescription for Health in an Overtreated America, writes regularly for abcnews.com. Yesterday, he responded to the release of new study results showing that a cholesterol-lowering drug could be beneficial for patients who don’t even have high cholesterol.
On March 31, 2008, pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca trumpeted the early closing of its so-called JUPITER trial of a cholesterol-lowering drug (statin), Crestor. The results after only two years yielded “unequivocal evidence” of the drug’s effectiveness, the trial concluded, and the company argued that it could not be withheld from anyone who was well and had normal cholesterol levels but had an elevation in another normal blood constituent, the C-reactive protein (CRP).
I am the skeptical physician who is unwilling to let anyone test my cholesterol until I see unequivocal data that taking a statin yields meaningful benefit for me. Now AstraZeneca wants me to get my CRP measured so that I can swallow Crestor if it’s elevated.
I knew there was a devil in the details. Let me flush it out for you.