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More Talk About OTC Statins

An interesting report crossed my desk today about the pros and cons selling over selling statins over-the-counter (OTC), based on Merck's recently failed attempt to sell Mevacor (lovastatin) in this country, and the company's success with Zocor (simvastatin) in the U.K.

Although much of the article discussed the benefits of statins and the boon it could be to patients who could buy it over the counter, listed near the bottom were the risks which certainly mirror my own concerns about using them at all:

  • For most patients, taking modest doses of a statin wouldn't bring cholesterol levels down low enough.
  • Some patients would rely so heavily on a statin drug, they might ignore heart-healthy behaviors, such as diet and exercise.
  • The self-monitoring of LDL-cholesterol levels will be difficult and too expensive for some, and the degree of physician involvement in follow-up lipid testing could be questionable.
  • The risk of side effects when taking statins along with other drugs increases.
  • Information on potential adverse effects and drug interactions must be made available to all statin users, but how to provide it is a challenge.

Folks, there are two primary strategies that work well virtually all of the time -- and without the need for a statin or any other kind of drug -- if both are properly implemented.

Nature Clinical Practice Oncology, Vol. 2, No. 4 Free Full-Text Article

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