Monday, July 7, 2008

Parents Beware of The Drug Pusher!

No, I'm not talking about the guy selling crack on the street corner, even though you should definitely teach your children to avoid him too. I'm talking about the pharmaceutical industry and those in the medical community who want you to consider putting children as young as 8 years of age on statin drugs to treat high cholesterol, obesity and future heart problems.

Yes, Big Pharma wants to get your kids hooked on drugs as early as possible.

The Washington Post reported:
"In a further concession to the impact of the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States, a leading group of pediatricians is recommending that kids as young as 8 years old be given cholesterol-lowering drugs in hopes of preventing heart problems later in life.

The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that children as young as 2 years old start having their cholesterol levels screened if they have a family history of heart disease or high cholesterol. Screening should start no later than 10, the academy said.

Dr. Steven P. Shelov, chairman of pediatrics at Maimonides Medical Center and head of Maimonides Infants & Children's Hospital in New York City, said he agreed with the new guidelines. 'More aggressive screening is a good idea, and the use of [cholesterol-lowering] statins at relatively low doses will keep cholesterol at safer ranges.'

The academy is also recommending that children whose family history of cholesterol is not known, or who have risk factors for heart disease -- including obesity, high blood pressure or diabetes -- have their cholesterol tested.

The recommendations were published in the July issue of the journalPediatrics.

According to the recommendation, the best method for checking cholesterol is a fasting blood test. Children whose cholesterol is normal should have the test repeated every three to five years.

For those children older than 8 who have high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, doctors should consider giving them statins.

Shelov admitted that very little is known about the risks and benefits of using cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins in a large pediatric population.

Potentially, millions of children could be placed on cholesterol-lowering drugs, he said. 'At the same time, there needs to be a systematic look at the effects of these medications on children, because they do have side effects,' he added.

'If we are going to go ahead and do this, we're going to need guidelines on exactly who would warrant the therapy and careful measurement of any side effects,' Shelov said.

'It's possible that many children who start taking statins would not be on them for life. Changes in diet and exercise could have some children off the drugs in a relatively short time,' Shelov said."

But there is nothing to rule out the possibility that your children will be taking statin drugs for the rest of their lives. And if you watch the TV ads for statin drugs they caution that "these drugs are not recommended for women who are pregnant, nursing or who may become pregnant". So can you imagine the long term impact of these drugs will be on the reproductive system of little girls?

( Hmm, maybe they've thought of that. But I won't go there lest you label me a conspiracy theorist. )

Parents consider the fact that there are no long term studies on the impact of placing a pre-pubescent child on statin drugs.

Consider the fact that many people on statin drugs experience side effects and need to take other drugs to treat the resulting ailments.

Consider the fact that the studies that propose that there is a direct correlation between high cholesterol and heart disease have come into question.

And finally, parents please consider the fact that if your child receives a healthy diet full of fresh fruits of vegetables, without fast foods and processed foods full of salt and sugar, and with lots of fun exercise, obesity probably won't be an issue.

The following is a video clip of a February 2008 segment of the CBS evening news which discussed the fact that there is no concrete evidence that statin drugs will prevent heart disease

Does this sound a little crazy to you? It probably does if you've been following this blog and recall my January 15th post on the Vytorin scandal and later my January 30th post on how Big Pharma sold the idea of high cholesterol to the public.

Parents Beware of the Drug Pushers.

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