Wednesday, 21 November 2007

an alarming experience with statins

Transient Global Amnesia – A Side Effect Of Statin Treatment

Duane Graveline, MD, former NASA Astronaut, USAF Flight Surgeon, Space Medicine Research Scientist, Family Doctor. 4414 Cormorant Ln., Merritt Island, FL 32953.

Try to imagine the complete inability to formulate new memory. This condition is known as transient global amnesia, now known to be associated with statin drug use. My first encounter occurred six weeks after my annual astronaut physical at Johnson Space Center. Despite regular exercise, weight maintenance and proper diet my total serum cholesterol had risen to 250 mg and the recommendation of the flight surgeons there was to start Lipitor, 10 mg daily. My wife noticed me walking aimlessly about the yard after my return from my usual walk. I did not know who she was and would not enter our house. Our family doctor referred me immediately to a neurologist and finally, in the office of the neurologist, my senses returned to normal. Following a negative MRI the following day, the diagnosis of transient global amnesia was made. I discontinued Lipitor because I suspected it was the cause.

At my next NASA physical I was assured that statin drugs do not do this. Reluctantly I started again with 5 mg, daily, one-half my previous dose. Six weeks later I descended again into the black pit of amnesia, this time for an extraordinary 12 hours. In addition to the mainly antegrade amnesia which characterized my first attack, this time I had a retrograde element all the way back to my high school days. Gone was my medical school training, USAF flight surgeon career, my marriage and four children and even my selection as scientist astronaut. Again the same doctors made the same diagnosis, transient global amnesia. Again I stopped Lipitor on my own knowing it was the cause but I was the only one convinced.

Several months later I got in contact with the statin drug study at UCSD's College of Medicine. There, Dr. Beatrice Golomb reported she had several cases just like mine. A few days later, thanks to the Graedons of the radio program Peoples Pharmacy, thousands of case reports of memory dysfunction started flooding in from patients across the country, all with the same common thread - association with statin drug use. And the amnesia is just the tip of the iceberg of the true incidence of memory impairment associated with Lipitor, Mevacor and Zocor. For every case of amnesia, thousands of cases of extreme forgetfullness, incapacitating confusion and profound disorientation have been and are being reported. Neither patients nor doctors are aware of this side lipids. The role of inflammation and stress

..and more about statins from:

Paul Rosch; MD, FACP, Clinical Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry, New York Medical College, President, The American Institute of Stress, Honorary Vice President, International Stress Management Association, 124 Park Ave.Yonkers, NY 10703, USA.

1. Increased dietary fat intake does not significantly elevate cholesterol or lipid levels.

2. Elevated serum cholesterol and/or other lipids are not the cause of coronary heart disease.

3. Statins can have significant side effects that have been overlooked or deliberately suppressed. In addition to rhabdomyolysis and liver dysfunction, these include: muscle pain, weakness and fatigue and biopsy evidence of myopathy and tendinopathy in the absence of elevated CK, memory loss, global amnesia, difficulty in sleeping and concentration, erectile dysfunction, problems with temperature regulation, difficulty in managing diabetes, and peripheral neuropathy.

4. All statins have been shown to be carcinogenic in experimental animals in dosages that approximate those given to patients. Although the lag time between exposure to a carcinogen and clinical detection is often a decade or more, a disturbing increase in breast cancer has already been reported in the CARE trial as well as certain skin malignancies in the simvastatin trials. Statins could initiate and/or accelerate malignant growth by a) blocking the production of Coenzyme Q10, which has been shown to have anti-cancer effects; b) stimulating the growth of new blood vessels that malignancies require to promote their propagation; c) decreasing the cytotoxicity of natural killer cells; d) blocking the production of squalene, an intermediate cholesterol metabolite with anti-cancer activities in animal studies and currently used as adjunctive therapy in treating cancer; e) reducing the production of DHEA, which has been shown to have anticancer and immune stimulating effects in experimental studies.

5. Cardioprotective effects are seen regardless of baseline cholesterol or LDL levels or the degree to which they are reduced and are achieved far too rapidly to be due to lowering LDL. If statins worked by lowering LDL one would expect to see dose-response relationship, which has not been demonstrated in any statin trials. Cardioprotective effects are seen in the elderly where LDL or other lipids are not a risk factor for coronary heart disease and in the HPS study statin treatment also prevented ischemic stroke although high LDL is not a risk factor for stroke.

6. There is abundant evidence that reducing inflammation, thrombotic factors and endothelial
damage may explain the statin effects. For example, in the CARE, the outcome was related to the degree of inflammation but independent of any lipid response.

7. Most coronary events are not due to progressive blockage of a vessel by gradual accumulation of lipid material but to thrombosis and disruption of an asymptomatic fibrous plaque with minimal protrusion. Human atherosclerotic plaque bears little resemblance to experimental atherosclerosis in animals force-fed high-fat and high cholesterol diets, but has all the hallmarks of an inflammatory response to infection and there is considerable evidence to support such an etiology, particularly for chlamydia pneumoniae. Homocysteine, angiotensin II and a host of inflammatory agents have also been implicated.

8. Therefore, the current therapy goals of lowering LDL to arbitrary levels are not only inappropriate but also dangerous, since this will only lead to larger doses and more side effects.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting Dr. Graveline's experience of Transient Global Amnesia caused by Lipitor.

My own husband had multiple witnessed episodes of Transient Global Amnesia while taking Lipitor at only 10 mg/day.

Further, the Lipitor left him with profound short-term-memory loss. He started on Lipitor at 50 working as a corporate CEO. By the end of 4 years on Lipitor, at the lowest dose, his short term memory was measured at below the 1 percentile. He literally could not remember to the end of a sentence over 5 words. Keep in mind that "What do you want for dinner?" is a six word sentence - an beyond his ability to process, thanks to the Lipitor damage. He also developed aphasia, the inability to recall words, which prevented effective communication.

In addition he was left with Lipitor-caused mitochondrial damage, muscle pain, muscle wasting, chronic fatigue, peripheral neuropathy, and chronic insomnia.

A full DECADE after starting the Lipitor, he remains disabled, unable to function in his former capacity, or any other.

Extensive testing has eliminated all other possible causes - it was the Lipitor that destroyed his quality of life.

Dan Ivancie said...

My aunt has been using Lipitor for years. Her episode of TGA occurred briely several years ago, but this time on new years eve she had a major episode of TGA.
Fortunately, her memory bounced back within 24 hours. I will encourage her to get off statins now. She is 78 years old.