Thursday, January 17, 2008

My Cardiologist is on Vacation - "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"


It's been nearly 48 hours since I called my cardiologist's office to ask him about Zetia, which he prescribed to me long before the recent news of the ENHANCE trial flop (see "Should I Stop Taking Zetia?"). There's been no return call from him or any other healthcare professional/nurse in his office to answer some of my questions. OK, he's on vacation and this is not a emergency. But you would think that SOMEONE would get back to me.

Today, I will try my primary care physician and see what she says, if she's there.

Meanwhile, not only have I lost faith in Zetia, I have lost faith in the whole notion that lowering my bad cholesterol numbers is necessarily a goal that should be achieved at all costs.

Today, in an article in the New York Times, Alex Berenson writes:
For decades, the theory that lowering cholesterol is always beneficial has been a core principle of cardiology. It has been accepted by doctors and used by drug makers to win quick approval for new medicines to reduce cholesterol.

But now some prominent cardiologists say the results of two recent clinical trials have raised serious questions about that theory — and the value of two widely used cholesterol-lowering medicines, Zetia and its sister drug, Vytorin. Other new cholesterol-fighting drugs, including one that Merck hopes to begin selling this year, may also require closer scrutiny, they say.
I've already stopped taking the statin drug I was first put on 12 years ago! My cardiologist didn't blink when I told him, but he did suggest Omega-3 Fatty Acid capsules. I am also taking niacin (recommended by my primary care doc) and Red Yeast Rice capsules that Dr. Weil recommended in an AARP magazine article I read (a friend also recommended it).

Thus, I am slowly turning my cardiovascular treatment oil tanker away from Big Pharma's Bermuda Triangle and heading towards the calm shoals of "Alternative Treatment." Let's see what my LDL level is when I next test my blood. Maybe my liver enzymes won't be so high!

This is what the drug industry has wrought! They have no-one else to blame but themselves. In striving to add one more efficacy claim to their DTC ads and failing so dramatically, Merck and Schering-Plough may be in danger of losing many other customers like me.

But striving for additional profits and failing is not the real shame. Throughout this whole ordeal, these companies have tried to pull the wool over doctors' and patients' eyes by first hiding the data, then manipulating the data. When that failed, they had nothing to say to me, the consumer, except issue a press release!

Screw them! I've had enough already! "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous3:04 PM

    John:

    Like you I am taking a statin to control my cholesterol. Currently I am taking 40mg of Lipitor and at time I have had to stop taking Lipitor because of leg pain. I have a family history of high cholesterol but not a family history of heart disease but as soon as my cholesterol went up my doctor imm put me on Lipitor.

    Yesterday I was talking to a coworker whose daughter was just put on a statin as well because her cholesterol was 168. Her daughter is an athlete and had just finished running a marathon and she was trying to get information about why she needed to be on a statin, that is the link between high choleterol and heart disease/heart attacks etc...

    So the question is if we dont have a family history of heart disease or stroke do we need to take statins or is this "link" something that the drug industry pounced on. With $13 billion in sales of Lipitor there is a hell of a lot at stake here !

    Rich

    ReplyDelete
  2. Cardiology Transcription11:40 PM

    The problem with typing up records is data security and transmission. The purpose of HIPAA was to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare system through the development of established health data standards and requirements for the transmission and storage of electronic health information. Currently, however, a select few EMR and medical transcription services comply with these standards. We need to create a licencing mechanism to ensure that companies are indeed HIPAA compliant, similar to how manufacturers get ISO-9001 certified. Otherwise, the act just turns into a marketing tag line for companies.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Cardiology Transcription11:41 PM

    The problem with typing up records is data security and transmission. The purpose of HIPAA was to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare system through the development of established health data standards and requirements for the transmission and storage of electronic health information. Currently, however, a select few EMR and medical transcription services comply with these standards. We need to create a licencing mechanism to ensure that companies are indeed HIPAA compliant, similar to how manufacturers get ISO-9001 certified. Otherwise, the act just turns into a marketing tag line for companies.

    ReplyDelete

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