How much do statins prolong life?

One problem with all the trials of statins is that they look at the probability of still being alive after x years. But that’s not really the question patients want answered. Patients want to know how much longer they can expect to live if they take a statin every day for the rest of their lives. Is it weeks? months? years? decades?

Considering that statins … Read more

Deprescribing: the most important health intervention you’ve never heard of?

Last year I spent a couple of months working as a physician in a geriatric hospital, i.e. a hospital that specializes in taking care of elderly people. One thing that struck me particularly was the large number of medications each patient was on. I don’t think it would be much of an exaggeration to say that the average patient had ten or more medications that … Read more

Is the cholesterol hypothesis dead?

Is there any life left in the cholesterol hypothesis (a.k.a. the lipid hypothesis)? Is there anything left for serious scientists to cling to or is time for its mouldering corpse to end up on the trash heap of medical history, alongside lobotomy, bloodletting and the theory of the four humors? I was asked this question by a reader of this blog recently, and as it … Read more

Does hydroxychloroquine have a role in treating covid-19?

Several people have contacted me over the last few weeks asking for my opinions on hydroxychloroquine. I’ve invariably answered that I don’t know, since I haven’t looked at the data myself. I felt that it was time to rectify that situation.

As many people know, hydroxychloroquine is an old drug that has existed since the 1950s and that is primarily used to treat malaria and … Read more

Should you take fever lowering drugs when you’re sick?

Most of us probably take fever lowering drugs, like paracetamol (a.k.a. acetaminophen, tylenol, panadol, alvedon), aspirin, or ibuprofen (a.k.a. advil, motrin, ipren), when we get a high temperature. The technical term for these drugs is antipyretics. After half an hour or so, we start to feel better and maybe don’t have to spend the whole day in bed. But it is well understood among researchers … Read more

How aggressively should high blood pressure be treated?

If you take blood pressure medications you probably have some interest in following your own blood pressure. But what many people don’t know is what target blood pressure they should be aiming for. If your blood pressure after treatment is 140/85, say, is that good or bad?

The SPRINT trial (Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial) set out to answer that question. It was funded by … Read more