Last month we earned some reader scorn by jumping from new studies on cholesterol-lowering statin drugs to the implication that folks consider exercising for heart health rather than using the medication at all. One physician expressed that we had descended to the level of “junk science.” Fair enough. Let’s try to do a better job the second time around.
To be clear: all involved point to the formidable track record of statins in preventing heart disease as the beginning and the end of any discussion on their continued use. Still, drugs carry inherent trade offs and statins are no exception. That includes the issue of potential muscle injury/weakness in some situations as confirmed in past FDA safety communications and a recent FDA-issued safety label update in addition to the emerging research we shared last month.
A better point would be that patients generally have become a little too quick in single-sourcing health interventions via a pill, program, protocol or diet when we need to continue to think comprehensively about integrating health into all aspects of our lives. Medication, nutrition, exercise, healthy environment and social networks belong at the heart disease prevention table together, and in the best of all cases without working at cross-purposes to each other.