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Life-saving drugs carry heart risk.

THOUSANDS of people in Britain may be at risk of death from heart failure brought on by the drugs given by their own doctors, a new study revealed today.

The results of the research suggest "life-saving" statin drugs could cause an "epidemic" of heart failure.

Statin drugs are taken by one million people each day in the UK to reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes.

They have been hailed as a "wonder drug" because statins block the body's production of cholesterol leading to heart attacks and strokes.

But a new study in the US reveals the drugs also depletes the body's ability to produce coenzyme Q10 -essential for the heart.

Lowered levels of this vital nutrient results in heart failure and death, the new research suggests. While only a small pilot study, it confirms previous research.

US cardiologist Dr Peter Langsjoen, the author of the study, will present his findings at a medical conference in London today.

He said: "I think people taking statins should be very worried. I don't think this can be ignored."

Statins, costing pounds 1 per pill, are currently restricted to people who have heart disease and raised cholesterol. They were first used in the UK in 1996.

Dr Langjoen, a heart specialist at the East Texas Medical Centre, added: "This is not a theoretical problem. It's real and being ignored ... we don't know how many deaths could be attributed to statins, all we know is we are in the middle of a heart failure epidemic in the US."
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Nov 21, 2002
Words:255
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