Why doctors believe children as young as eight should be put on statins

Children as young as eight with high cholesterol should be put on statins, according to a report published last week. This is the latest idea for tackling the obesity epidemic and the fact that it came from the highly regarded American Academy of Pediatrics means many doctors will take the recommendation seriously.

However, it has stirred up a furore in America as well as here, with British experts viewing the suggestion with alarm.

'There are far too many uncertainties involved with giving children these drugs,' said Professor Andrew Neil, a clinical epidemiologist at Oxford University and adviser to HeartUK. 'The way to help them is with lifestyle changes, getting them to eat properly and exercise."

There is no doubt that statins can help reduce the risk of heart attack in adults who have already had one. But the benefits for other people - such as those who have never experienced a heart attack, particularly women - is questionable. There is also the risk of potential side-effects, muscle pain and mental problems such as memory loss.

With question marks over their use in adults, there are even greater concerns about giving statins to children. There is no doubt that statins can help reduce the risk of heart attack in adults who have already had one. But the benefits for other people - such as those who have never experienced a heart attack, particularly women - is questionable. There is also the risk of potential side-effects, muscle pain and mental problems such as memory loss.

With question marks over their use in adults, there are even greater concerns about giving statins to children.

Source - Daily Mail