Lipitor and Viagra

Here is a rule I generally follow: If an issue is too complex to wring the truth out of in a reasonable amount of time and effort, go with your gut feeling.

Hence, when I was told that my cholesterol levels were too high, I declined my doctor’s recommendation to take medication for it. Instead, I opted for continued vigorous exercise and a strict low-cholesterol diet. I maintained this lifestyle for almost a year and then had my cholesterol checked again. It had hardly budged. At that point, I realized that this is a genetic trait that I could do little about. My family has virtually no history of heart disease, so I reverted to eating pretty much what I pleased (within reason – and I do happen to like fruits and vegetables). I’ve been doing this for several years. More recent tests have shown that my cholesterol levels have dropped somewhat.

But my new doctor was adamant that I should start taking statins to lower my cholesterol levels. He confronted me about it twice, and each time I firmly refused. The whole matter seemed fishy to me. I knew that somebody was making a ton of money off of these medications. I knew that they were being heavily promoted in the media – and I was suspicious.

It’s not at all clear that cholesterol, even “bad” cholesterol, (LDL) is bad for us.  Dr. Shane Ellison has made a case that the benefits of cholesterol outweigh its risks. I recommend reading the article, though it’s somewhat long. Ellison is not alone; many others have questioned the premise that cholesterol (LDL) is our enemy, and that we should fight it with drugs.

Others opine that Low Density Lipids (LDL) are, indeed, a risk factor that needs to be addressed – but only when the patient is already suffering from heart disease. Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, at The Huffington Post, makes this argument, and backs it up with several studies. He claims that millions of Americans are harming their health, and wasting their money, by taking cholesterol medication when it is not indicated at all.

In the pro-Lipitor camp, we find articles touting its benefits not only in combating heart disease, but also, in combination with Viagra, in relieving impotence. For example, in drugs.com we read:

Men with erectile dysfunction who do not experience symptom relief with Viagra (sildenafil) may have another option: A new study suggests Lipitor (atorvastatin) may improve men’s response to Viagra.

This is interesting… because a lot of people are claiming that Lipitor itself can cause erectile dysfunction (impotence). For example, here and here. We read on ehow:

According to the Mayo Clinic, Lipitor may cause difficulties in achieving or maintaining an erection. It may also trigger loss of sexual desire or drive.

I won’t be the first to point out, however, that the company that markets Viagra is the very same company that markets Lipitor: Pfizer.

That’s right. Pfizer markets a drug that is widely claimed to cause impotence – and it also markets a drug to treat that impotence. If you check the Lipitor official website, you will find a list of possible side effects. Conveniently, erectile dysfunction is not listed. I think Pfizer is not being on the up and up with us.

When your doctor speaks to you, he’s probably not lying. Most likely, he has your best interest in mind. But he may be swayed. I don’t claim to be an expert in the matter, but money talks. Lots of money talks a lot – and, in this case, we’re talking about a very large sum of money. I’ll conclude with a quote from Dr. Ellison:

With dollar signs in their eyes, drug companies have launched a massive fear campaign about cholesterol. Being led by the pharmaceutically-compliant National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP), the campaign convinced the entire world that LDL- cholesterol is bad and that total cholesterol levels should remain below 200 mg/dL in order to prevent heart disease. (Of the nine nerdy members of the NCEP, eight had financial ties to cholesterol lowering drug makers like Pfizer, Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and AstraZeneca. This fact was concealed when the NCEP made its recommendations public.)…

Pfizer’s blockbuster drug Lipitor became the first prescription drug to make more than $10 billion in annual sales. To date, Forbes Magazine tells us that statins are earning drug pushers $26 billion in annual sales – the equivalent of your lifetime income, plus 1500 others, every year! Think this can buy medical journals, ads and lobbying to push fear along with the cholesterol-lowering agenda?

About jewamongyou

I am a paleolibertarian Jew who is also a race-realist. My opinions are often out of the mainstream and often considered "odd" but are they incorrect? Feel free to set me right if you believe so!
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8 Responses to Lipitor and Viagra

  1. Anonymous2 says:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110505142730.htm

    I have very high LDL at age 28. It was caught at a routine checkup a couple years ago. A later checkup with a more in-depth test showed that it was mostly “fluffy” LDL, which is not the dangerous “dense” type, and other measurements like triglycerides and blood pressure and blood sugar were all healthy.

    I am very physically strong, and it runs in the family. LDL helps heal you and build muscles, and usually only indicates something wrong if you are physically inactive and it shows up for some reason. If your body is producing it to repair itself, but you aren’t working out, it’s because you are doing something unhealthy like eating junk food or sitting all day. In other words, it’s a great indicator for average Americans but not really for those who exercise regularly.

    Curiously enough, that LDL has declined a little bit in the last couple years. Aging, in other words; you can’t be musclebound forever. But high LDL in old age is probably bad news. It wouldn’t hurt to get an in-depth blood test done, though, just to be sure.

  2. countenance says:

    I figured out there was something not quite right about all this when I was 12 years old, when I got a new allergist. He took me off the inhaler I was on and gave me a different one. Except I compared the old and new inhalers, and they were the exact same ingredient in the exact same dose. The only difference is the company that made them was different, and the new doctor had all sorts of periphenelia on or about him from that particular pharmaceutical.

  3. destructure says:

    Ten years ago my cholesterol was about 170. Five years later it was over 250. The doctor recommended statins. I didn’t want to take them because long term use causes liver damage. So I got a book called The 8 Week Cholesterol Cure. Basically, you eat healthy, exercise and eat oat bran muffins. Oat bran has a high percentage of soluble fiber that soaks up cholesterol like a sponge. It absolutely works. I got below 200 in about a month. There’s nothing new about the information in the book. But you should still read it because it give a great summary and explanation of what to do. It’s simple, easy and boring. Boring is good.

    Every library in the country has a copy of this book. And there are always used copies on amazon or ebay for $5 including shipping. I highly recommend.

  4. bob sykes says:

    I was on statins for a long time, but my liver eventually became intolerant of them. My doctor switched me over to fish oil (omega-3). I take 4 g per day, and my cholesterol is nowadays perfect and has been for several years.

    Dietary cholesterol is a red herring. The body actually makes cholesterol, so you can eliminate it from your diet and still have high levels. High levels are a genetic trait.

  5. Sgt. Joe Friday says:

    There is also some research that suggests that cholesterol is a sort of “lubricant” that helps maintain healthy cognitive functioning as we age. I believe there is some evidence that people whose cholesterol is too low demonstrate a greater tendency towards dementia.

    IOW, “it’s not nice to fool mother nature.”

  6. sebastianprinsloo says:

    i can highly recommend Shane Ellison’s book. I followed his advice for hypertension and my BP dropped to clinically normal 120/80 in a matter of weeks. Also, beware of those electronic sphygomometers, they are rubbish!
    I will never go near statins, my cholesterol was erring on the high side of normal, my GP now knows better than to suggest medication.

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