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Are Cholesterol Drugs Linked to Lou Gehrig’s Disease?

Q. I have been fascinated with letters from people reporting that Lipitor weakened their muscles. I believe Lipitor triggered my ALS. Until last month, my doctors wouldn’t listen to me, but then a report from the World Health Organization (WHO) showed a link. Please warn others.

A. The article authored by WHO researchers was published in Drug Safety (June 2007). It points out that an unexpectedly high number of people developed Lou Gehrig’s disease while on a statin-type cholesterol-lowering drug. Lou Gehrig’s disease is also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. There is no cure for this degenerative disease of muscles and nerves.

The connection between ALS and statins is controversial. The FDA is not convinced there is a link.
The WHO report advises doctors to discontinue statin therapy if patients develop “serious neuromuscular disease such as the ALS-like syndrome.” People who believe they have experienced such an effect may report it to us at www.peoplespharmacy.com. We will forward such cases to researchers and the FDA for further review.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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