Top journals go head to head on statin saga


20 Sep 2016

The editor of The BMJ has called for an independent inquiry into the evidence on statins following a recent review by the Lancet that concluded the debate over their efficacy and safety had been put to rest.

Writing in her weekly column Dr Fiona Godlee said she had written to England’s Chief Medical officer requesting an independent review into the statin saga.

“Independent third party scrutiny of the statins trial data remains an essential next step if this increasingly bitter and unproductive dispute is to be resolved,” she wrote.

Also writing in his regular BMJ blog, Richard Lehman, retired GP and Senior advisory fellow in primary care at Cochrane UK, said that adverse effects of statins were much more common than the trials suggested.

“Muscle pain and fatigability are not a figment of misattribution and public misinformation,” he wrote.

“They are too prevalent and recurrent in people who desperately want to stay on statins. Rather than discount a widely observed phenomenon, we should ask why there is such a mismatch with reporting in the trials.”

Also commenting in an editorial in the journal Harlan Krumholz, Professor of Medicine at Yale University, said he wanted more acknowledgment of the limitations of the statin trials such as a lack of evidence in elderly, the variation in how adverse event data were collected, and the ageing of the trials themselves.

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