Some Things To Consider Before Taking Crestor

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Downsides of Statins

Even if you don't have high cholesterol,  you may be targeted by some new marketing for the statin drug Crestor. The marketing pitch claims that the drug has the ability to lower risk of heart attack by up to 50 percent.  Is there any truth to this claim and should you subject yourself to a daily dose of these pills?

In general, the downside of statin pills is they may increase the chance  of diabetes and liver problems. On the other hand, in some cases, they have been successful in reducing your risk of dying from the nation's No. 1 killer, heart disease. That is why it's critical to understand the numbers to make an informed decision.

The 50% decrease in heart attack is really just a statistical sleight of hand. The actual risk reduction really closer to one in 500, or 0.2%. To appreciate the number manipulation involved, read on for a quick course in medical statistics.

The Numbers

These figures are based on a large study that the FDA used to give approval for Crestor's new marketing campaign. The researchers discovered that around four in 1,000 patients with a high level of C-Reactive Protein (an inflammation marker in the blood) but with normal cholesterol had heart attacks if they took a dummy (placebo) pill in the study. Similar patients who took Crestor had a heart attack rate of around two in 1,000. These numbers come from the tail end of a recent article in the New York Times on the FDA's approval of the new Crestor campaign.

Clinical Benefits of Crestor?

Now the difference between four and two is 50 percent, but that conveniently leaves out the denominator in the statistic. The real risk reduction is from four in 1,000 to two in 1,000, or a difference of two in 1,000, which is the same as 0.2 percent.

The 50 percent number is called the relative risk, and the 0.2 percent number is the absolute risk. Absolute risk is what measures real people and is the one we should focus on, but marketers like relative risk because it produces more dramatic numbers. In other words, you can have statistically significant benefits from taking a drug on paper, but the clinically significant benefit, in real life, is much much smaller.

From the author: DC Drug Defect Lawyers
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