Lipitor Vs Sytrinol

Apr 4, 2011

By Trevor Shewfelt, Pharmacist at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

We know now that in the early years of the twenty-first century this world was being watched closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own. We know now that as human beings busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency people went to and fro over the earth about their little affairs, serene in the assurance of their dominion over this small spinning fragment of solar driftwood which by chance or design man has inherited out of the dark mystery of time and space. Yet across an immense, ethereal gulf, minds that are to our minds as ours are to the beasts in the jungle, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. And in the eleventh year of the twenty first century came the great disillusionment.

So are you scared yet? In a world of Saw 4, Scary Movie 4, Insidious, and Paranormal Activity a radio play about a Martian Invasion is unlikely to cause mass hysteria. Our grade 4 teacher played our class a record (yes, a record) of the Orson Welles 1938 radio play of War of the Worlds. I remember being surprised to hear that this radio play fooled people into thinking that the Martians were attacking. The reported riots after War of the Worlds completely baffled me because Orson Welles alien invasion had nothing on the aliens from the X-Files.

A gentleman came into the pharmacy with a clipping of a column from the Winnipeg Free Press. It was written by a medical doctor. The column claimed lipitor or atorvastatin was unsafe and there was a better herbal treatment called Sytrinol. Atorvastatin or lipitor is a cholesterol lowering medication. The group of medications that include atorvastatin are called statins. The articles opening line was Prescription drugs can kill, natural remedies rarely. That sort of hyperbole can be dangerous. The gentleman who brought me the clipping was wondering if he should take his elderly relative off of atorvastatin and put them on the herbal product Sytrinol instead.

The Winnipeg Free Press column focused on the side effects of atorvastatin and didnt mention the benefits at all. As the column said medications like atorvastatin can cause nerve damage and muscle damage. These are possible side effects of statins but they are very rare. Muscle pains in people taking statin can occur in approximately 5% of patients, although similar rates are often seen in the placebo groups in clinical trials. That means up to 5% of people taking the sugar pills also complained of muscle pain. Nerve damage is even more rare. Im not trying to minimize that side effects like muscle pain can happen on statin medications. Statins can make your muscles sore and we dont want that. But I dont want everyone with sore muscles on statins to throw the statins out the window without talking to their doctor first. That is because statins do good things too.

The benefit of statin drugs like atorvastatin is they reduce heart attacks and strokes. We know that for every 1.0 mmol/L we lower LDL or bad cholesterol with a statin we reduce the chance of a heart attack or fatal heart problem by 20-25%. This was published by Baigent et al in the Lancet in 2005. This group looked at 14 statin studies which means they were looking at a group of 90,056 patients. The alternative to statins proposed in the Free Press article is called Sytrinol. It contains citrus and palm fruit extracts. The writer in the Free Press says several studies say it reduces LDL by 30%. So I looked up the studies. The first two studies had 10 people in them each. The third had 120 people in it. So we are comparing a herbal product tested on 140 people to a prescription medication tested on over 90,000 people. That makes the evidence for atorvastatin much more convincing.

Statins like atorvastatin are powerful drugs and should be used with respect. All medications have side effects and they should be dealt with if they appear. However implying that atorvastatin is unsafe and that the herbal product Sytrinol is better at protecting the heart is just plain wrong. Atorvastatin is well tolerated by most people and has been shown to reduce heart attacks and strokes. Saying Sytrinol is a better choice is like saying War of the Worlds is a documentary about an actual alien invasion. Dont fall for the hype. As Mulder and Scully would say, The Truth is Out There.

Free Press Article

War of the Worlds Radio show

Lipitor Monograph

Cholesterol Guidline's visit:

As always if you have any questions or concerns about these or other products, ask your pharmacist.

The information in this article is intended as a helpful guide only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice. If you have any questions about your medications and what is right for you see your doctor, pharmacist or other health care professional.

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