Get sound advice on drugs, warn Mid-North Coast GPs
By DAVID BANCROFT
PATIENTS have been warned not to stop taking their medication until they have received proper medical assessment.
Mid-North Coast Division of General Practice chief executive officer Dr David Ellis said he had received a number of calls from doctors over the past few days concerned that reports in The Daily Examiner and other North Coast newspapers might prompt people to stop taking their medication.
Those reports related to the use of the cholesterol reducing drug Lipitor, but applied equally to similar products using statin-based products.
In the original Daily Examiner report, Maclean resident Johnno Johnson and a number of other Lower River residents claimed they had experienced side-effects, sometimes severe, from using Lipitor.
None had been warned about those side-effects.
Although the Examiner report recommended people seek medical advice before stopping taking any medication, Dr Ellis said the concern remained.
"People who might not be feeling very well might just stop taking their medication out of hand," he said.
"Statins have been proven in clinical trials to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attacks in people with high cholesterol.
"It has been shown to be life-saving."
Dr Ellis said, however, that statins could have sideeffects that were sometimes severe.
"But stopping taking medication has risks of its own," he said.
Dr Ellis said high cholesterol reduced the diameter of blood vessels which, in turn, increased the risk of rupture, causing such things as strokes and heart attacks.
He said there were alternative cholesterol-reducing products available if statinbased products caused a reaction.