Statins Prevent Thromboembolism

On 25 March, 2009 the New England Journal of Medicine announced that statins prevent thromboembolism in an article by Glynn and others titled, "A Randomized Trial of Rosuvastatin in the Prevention of Venous Thromboembolism".

I used to be proud of the NEJM back in the sixties, when, as I recall, it carried an article about my space medicine research titled "Physiologic Aspects of Prolonged Weightlessness". They were publishing cutting edge research in those days but the platelet inhibitory aspects of statin drugs was announced to the world back in 2002 as part of the anti-inflammatory cascade true for all statins.

One of the reasons for the effectiveness of statins, indeed the only reason for statins' effectiveness in cardiovascular disease is this ability to inhibit nuclear factor kappa B, thereby inhibiting platelet activation, smooth muscle migration, macrophage attraction and monocyte adhesion - the four key elements of the inflammatory process according to Ora Shovman, who produced this major review paper of statin activity.

We hardly needed a new paper to tell us what was true for all statins, not just Crestor. They are a glorified super-aspirin having an effect on platelet activation not unlike aspirin.

Naturally statins are going to prevent venous thromboembolism. The only surprise would be if they did not. Five years ago I said in my articles on statin side effects that statins would find a clinical niche in almost any clinical condition in which there was an inflammatory component and this is exactly what has happened: statins for anti-inflammation, auto-immune diseases, organ transplant rejection and finally this statins for prevention of venous thromboembolism with hundreds of other uses in between.

Now that the irrelevance of cholesterol lowering is becoming generally accepted, the old C-reactive protein test, that I recall from my internship days at Walter Reed, has been tweaked for special cardiovascular sensitivity and is gaining acceptance currently as the best available test for "CV" risk for it measures inflammation.

I just wanted to point out that this news of an even broader clinical reach for Crestor is not news, it is ancient history in today's fast moving world where our cholesterol "bogeyman" for four decades has been replaced by inflammation. They are sliding cholesterol out of marketing prose and replacing it with inflammation while never missing a statin sale.

Duane Graveline MD MPH
Former USAF Flight Surgeon
Former NASA Astronaut
Retired Family Doctor

Books From Amazon

The Dark Side of Statins
The Statin Damage Crisis
Cholesterol is Not the Culprit
Statin Drugs Side Effects
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