Wednesday, November 13, 2013

There is no magic pill! Sorry!

I admit I often ask my doctors for a magic wand to make bad things go away. They tell me they cannot provide it no matter how nicely I ask. There is not a magic pill, no matter what the pharmaceutical industry wants to make us think.

In a perfect world, I would like to have a magic pill or magic wand for the following: breast cancer, thyroid cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, degenerating disk disease, and fibromyalgia. None exist. So I am whing.

The use of tamoxifen to help reduce breast cancer occurrence in high risk patients is a smart idea. It is a relatively small portion of the population and something that can't really be affected by diet, exercise or other changeable activities.

But I have a real problem with the new 'brainstorm' to give statins to millions of people who are at a risk of 7% or more of having a heart attack in the next ten years. Let me just say that somewhere around half the panel of doctors who decided this were connected with the pharmaceutical industry - they didn't vote so that is supposed to make it okay. (I would assume they did make their opinions known in pre-vote discussions.)

Doctors are now going to be told to use a new algorithm: "The equation considers age, sex, total and HDL cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, blood pressure treatment, diabetes, and smoking." HDL cholesterol is impacted by smoking, weight and exercise or lack of it. Systolic blood pressure can also be impacted by the same and salt and alcohol intake.

So let's see, get off your butt, start moving, eat right, and all that stuff, or take a pill for the rest of your life and make the pharmaceutical industry rich? Hmmm.... I prefer the former option over the latter.

I am sure statins have side effects because everything will have some kind of side effect.

PS And this recommendation will impact 1/3 of Americans. The claim is they are cheap but my guess is that the insurance industry will be on the hook for a large portion of these costs.

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