Letters Adverse effects of statins

Muscular adverse effects are common with statins

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g3724 (Published 11 June 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g3724
  1. Peter C Gøtzsche, professor1
  1. 1Nordic Cochrane Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark
  1. pcg{at}cochrane.dk

The 2011 Cochrane review of statins for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease reported a risk ratio of 1.03 for muscle pain—3% more patients developed muscle pain on the drug than on placebo.1 However, industry funded randomised trials are notoriously unreliable when it comes to the harms of drugs.2 The results of a publicly funded randomised trial from 2012 on the impact of statins on energy and exertional fatigue could be interpreted as 20% of men and 40% of women experiencing reduced energy or increased exertional fatigue.3

I therefore wonder why Rory Collins has pressured the BMJ in a most unacademic way for having published a paper based on a cohort study that reported a similar incidence of harms.4 5 He has even called for a retraction of the paper, just like drug companies often do when a paper appears that could threaten their sales.2 Collins and his colleagues publish meta-analyses based on company data to which no one else has access because of the confidentiality clauses they have accepted.

I believe that science ceases to exist when no one else than those who have conflicts of interest are allowed to see the data.


Cite this as: BMJ 2014;238:g3724


  • Competing interests: None declared.


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