Frederick T Sherman, M.D. writes that stopping statins is bad for your health. As the poster child for his screed he uses former President Bill Clinton, who underwent coronary zocor.jpgbypass surgery a few years back.
Says Dr. Sherman of President Clinton:

Toward the end of his tenure in the Oval Office, despite years of running 3 miles, 5 times a week around the Nation’s Capitol, President Clinton’s total cholesterol was 233 mg/dL and his LDL was 177 mg/dL. His HDL, while not public knowledge, may have been below 40 mg/dL. Shortly before leaving office in January 2001, he was started on simvastatin [a statin drug, trade named Zocor].
Unfortunately, for unknown reasons (but like many Baby Boomers), President Clinton stopped taking his statin, though when is not clear. He did, however, diet and lose weight, and looked considerably thinner when he spoke at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004.
Then, in September 2004, he underwent quadruple coronary bypass surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. For months prior to his quadruple bypass, President Clinton had been experiencing exercise- induced angina in combination with symptoms of gastric reflux. When he finally developed angina at rest, he went to the hospital. On admission, his LDL was 114.

Say what? So President Clinton’s LDL level was 177 mg/dL, then he (God forbid!) went off his statin. Then after being off the statin his LDL dropped to 114 mg/dL. And you’re blaming his heart troubles on the fact that he stopped taking a statin, which he was put on, I’m sure, because his LDL was too high?
Remember how back in the good old days these statin-loving porridge brains would always recommend diet (albeit the wrong diet) and exercise first, and then, if these strategies failed to bring down LDL levels it was time for the statins. Not any longer. Those days are past.

Clearly, long-term compliance with medications, specifically statins, is more important than diet and exercise alone. Drug therapy, rather than lifestyle modification, must become the mainstay of therapy for the primary and secondary prevention of CAD. [My italics] The future coronary health of the American public depends upon Baby Boomers and subsequent generations taking all of their cardioprotective medications for life.

According to Dr. Sherman, all of us who fall into the Baby Boomer category should belly up to the statin bar every day for the rest of our lives. I wonder if Dr. Sherman has ever really read the literature on statins. Does he know that statin drugs have never been shown to do much of anything (other then lightening one’s wallet) for men without heart disease and women with and without?
I don’t have time to do the search right now, but I welcome any comments from readers who do. I’ll bet a little digging will find ol’ Dr. Sherman firmly attached to the statin teat of some drug company.


  1. Yes I’m too busy too, but even a quick look reveals he’s not all bad. You see he proposes alcohol consumption to ward off dementia; and even without reading it I have to agree. (see?, even Googling his name gives you a whole new approach to scientific literature! – I’d hate to find out what would happen if you ran a search on “Ornish” …) In fact I’ve been told (although of course I have no relevant personal expertise) if you consume enough of the ‘cure’ you can enjoy many of symptoms of the disease without being permanently afflicted.
    Hi Malcolm–
    Thanks for the leg work.  It’s good to know that Dr. Sherman isn’t totally demented.  Maybe he took a little too much of his own medicine just before he wrote the column on statins.

  2. “Maybe he took a little too much of his own medicine just before he wrote the column on statins.”
    No, he’s screwed either way. If he didn’t take enough medicine it was the dementia talking!

  3. Well when I googled him came across his site on Geriactrics—saw the article you were talking about on alcohol—but I did find that the owner of the site–Advanstar Communications—has their finger in many pies—-this is a quote from their site—
    “Advanstar Communications is a worldwide business information company that publishes 110 business magazines and directories; produces 107 exhibitions, trade shows, and conferences; and provides direct marketing, database, and reference products and services to targeted industry sectors including healthcare, pharmaceutical, science, information technology, communications, manufacturing/processing, retail, hospitality, and fashion”
    They also gave a list of their publications–
    “Formulary” is one of them—so you know the drug companies are somewhere in that mix.
    Hi BamaGal–
    Thanks for your efforts.

  4. Malcolm Kendrick had a few caustic words for Dr Sherman and his crew too!

    “So, without a statin Bill Clinton’s LDL fell by 35%, then he had a heart attack. Forgive me for saying this William T. Sherman, but to my mind this would appear to suggest that a falling LDL level is a risk factor for CHD – as clearly demonstrated in the Framingham study, amongst others.
    In the unforgiving logical prison that I inhabit, the parable of Bill Clinton would not seem to be a warning against stopping statins. It seems more likely to be a warning that when your LDL level falls, you are in serious danger of suffering a heart attack. However, I tend to find that one’s interpretation of events can be clouded by external funding issues.
    Anyway, thank you to William T. Sherman [sic] for reminding us that ‘The future coronary health of the American public depends upon Baby Boomers and subsequent generations taking all of their cardioprotective medications for life.’
    There is just no answer to that – at least not before the children have safely gone to bed.”

  5. But he didn’t inhale:)
    But man, what did he sniff…
    Isn’t cocaine a big, big risk factor for CHD? I would rather look in that direction than on the hamburgers.
    Hi gallier2–
    Cocaine is a major risk factor for heart disease.  Hmmm.

  6. Those same “porridge brains” are the ones that want to put my hubby on statins despite the fact that he has liver disease. The last one that tried muttered something about hubby dropping dead of heart disease (something he shows no sign of) in an attempt to scare us. It didn’t work. As it is, he’s just been diagnosed with varices in his lower esophagus and is being put on a beta-blocker. Damn.
    Hi Esther–
    Good luck.  Keep me posted.

  7. “Does he know that statin drugs have never been shown to do much of anything (other then lightening one’s wallet) for men without heart disease and women with and without?”
    Now this I have to disagree on! Statins not only lighten your waller, but also cause a host of other problems, including memory problems, muscle problems (even without increase in CPK), depression, neuropathy, and the list goes on!
    Statins are well tolerated by some, but I suspect a significant number of people that stop them do so because of the side effects. Side effects that many docs dismiss as not being caused by statins, even when the symptoms disappear when the drugs are stopped and return (often faster and more severe) when the drug is resumed.
    Hi Cindy–
    Statins can cause a host of problems.  I didn’t mean to imply that lightening one’s wallet was the only side effect.  It’s probably just the least harmful.

  8. I’m going through the ringer with my doc about statins, as well. I was diagnosed as type 2 diabetic last December, and was put on a statin. After 1 month, I took myself off the statin, as I had/have muscle pains in both arms now, where none had ever been. I began relying solely on diet, exercise, and faith in the man upstairs. My cholesterol at the time of diagnosis was 245 total, LDL 146, HDL 29, triglycerides 352. Got my new results yesterday, total 200, LDL 141, HDL 40, and triglycerides 96.
    My blood glucose at diagnosis was 339, it is now 83, went from 4 pills a day for it, to 1.
    Thank you Dr. Eades for all the good and positive work that you do.
    Hi Daryl–
    Sounds to me like you’re the one who did all the work.  Congratulations!
    I would be surprised, however, even with the great blood work, if your doctor abandons his (or her) efforts to get you on a statin.
    Keep me posted.

  9. Well, you’re right about the continued statin push. Just went to my cardio doc today; EKG, nuclear stress test, and circulatory tests all fine, he said I’m in “VERY good health”, but an ultrasound on my carotids showed “20-40 percent blockage” in my left one. He insists I take Pravachol and get retested in 6 months.
    After a month of Crestor, in January, I still feel poorly, aches in arms, shoulder, upper back, and legs/feet, with tingling. It is exacerbated when I have anxiety attacks, and the docs insist the anxiety is the only cause of the symptoms. Well, I’ve had anxiety problems for 12 years, and never had these accompanying muscle issues.
    Hi Daryl–
    I suspect you’ll have the same problems with pravachol. If you do take it, make sure to take some CoQ10 as well. Keep me posted.
    Good luck.

  10. Well I’m curious then how one reduces/treats exercise-induced angina? I try to eat a low carb diet and yet get pain in my right arm when I do interval sprints. I also have high cholesterol. I fear telling a doctor about these things and having them throw statins at me and usher me out the door when the real thing I should be doing is reducing inflammation. Am I on the right track?
    Are you on the right track? I can’t really tell given the limited amount of info you’ve provided.

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