Saturday, June 1, 2013

Liver and statins; FDA and fish oil

Liver and statins; FDA and fish oil


Many doctors are still routinely testing for liver damage in patients taking statins. Why?

Two years ago I posted that statins do not cause liver damage. And last year the FDA finally got up to date and stated that liver damage from statins was rare (if it occurs at all) and there was no need for routine monitoring with liver tests. So why do so many doctors still do routine testing?

I have my ideas. What do you think?

And one more point to remind you about your LDL cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol, the cholesterol that statins lower so well. Fish oil does not lower the LDL cholesterol. 

I have seen a rash of patients and doctors recently who seem to believe that the LDL cholesterol will drop with fish oil. 

In fact, if the triglycerides are high, fish oil will increase, not decrease, the LDL cholesterol as triglycerides come down.  

There is one exception:  if the fish oil is pure EPA such as found in the new prescription fish oil called Vascepa. Vascepa does not raise LDL cholesterol.

Another EPA only product will be out soon. We'll see if it's any better than Vascepa. 

Stay tuned. And with regard to your liver, watch those alcoholic beverages not the statins.

Daniel Weiss MD CDE FACP PNS CPI

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