WMSN FOX 47
 

FOX 47 - Health News

MADISON (WMSN) -- Cholesterol drugs, also known as statins, are credited with saving thousands of lives every year.



Now, a major drug maker wants to sell them to healthy people, as a way to prevent heart disease.



Crestor, the second-best selling cholesterol medication, will begin a new marketing strategy, and they're doing it with the government's blessing.



About 40 million people in this country take cholesterol medications, but new guidelines, approved by the FDA, would open the pharmacy to 6.5 million more people -- people with no cholesterol problems and no sign of heart problems.



Some doctors are putting up some red flags.



Studies show statins can increase a patient's risk for diabetes, liver disease, and muscle aches.



Dr. David Shearer is a family physician with Dean Health. He says taking a pill is not always the solution, and people need to focus on preventative steps.



"Stopping smoking, losing weight, eating a balanced diet, these lifestyle modifications are risk-free," Dr. Shearer said.



Still, statin use is skyrocketing. Doctors wrote more than 200 million prescriptions for cholesterol drugs last year. Usage doubled over the last decade, but it remains to be seen whether these new marketing strategies will mean more people will take the drugs.



"My prediction is it will not be widely accepted by the medical community," said Dr. Matthew Wolff, UW Hospital cardiologist.



Dr. Wolff says prescribing statins to people with little to no risk factors won't have a significant health impact, and will likely end up costing a lot of money.



"I think that's where the controversy arises -- it applies to the risk, but maybe more importantly to the expense of the drug. When you talk about treating potentially millions of people, you're only going to see a modest reduction in heart attacks, strokes, and deaths in the United States," Dr. Wolff said.



Both Shearer and Wolff say best advice for people is to have a one-on-one conversation with their doctor.



The new Crestor label says it may be prescribed for men over 50, and women over 60, who have one risk factor like smoking or hypertension.

Doctors debate cholesterol meds for healthy people

Video List

Sun. - Fri. on FOX 47 News at 9!

Top Health Headlines (foxnews.com)

Pomegranate compound may treat Alzheimer's and Parkinson's

Researchers in the U.K. have found a compound in pomegranate that they believe may help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.


'Suicide tourism' in Switzerland doubles over 4-year period

The number of foreigners traveling to Switzerland to commit assisted suicide doubled over a four-year period, a study published in the Journal of Medical Ethics said on Thursday


Senegal blocks Ebola aid flight, imposes travel curbs

Regional humanitarian hub Senegal said on Friday it had blocked a regional U.N. aid plane from landing and was banning all further flights to and from countries affected by Ebola, potentially hampering the emergency response to the epidemic.


WHO warns of 'shadow zones,' hidden cases in Ebola outbreak

The scale of the world's worst Ebola outbreak has been concealed by families hiding infected loved ones in their homes and the existence of "shadow zones" that medics cannot enter, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.


Drone pilots suffer PTSD just like those in combat
Although drone operators may be far from the battlefield, they can still develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a new study shows

Advertise with us!

Tonight on FOX 47

5:00pm Two and a Half Men
5:30pm Big Bang Theory
6:00pm Modern Family
6:30pm Big Bang Theory
7:00pm Masterchef
8:00pm Bones
9:00pm FOX 47 News at 9
9:35pm Modern Family
10:05pm Two and a Half Men
10:35pm Everybody Loves Raymond
11:05pm The Arsenio Hall Show
12:05am Community


Complete FOX 47 Schedule

To FOX.com

Advertise with us!
IE6 Float Fix