CONTROVERSIAL heart drug statins have been linked to almost twenty thousand reports of side effects and 227 deaths.By Lucy Johnston, Health Editor.

Medical reports compiled on patients’ illnesses shows the cholesterol lowering drugs have been associated with a huge dossier of reported side-effects including irreversible muscle breakdown, muscle pain, blood disorders, diabetes, skin disorders, nervous system disorders and stomach problems over the last twenty years.

Between eight and ten million Britons take statins, the most widely prescribed drugs in the UK. However figures from the medicines’ watchdog have led to calls for an urgent review of the safety of statins with experts claiming the harm may outweigh any potential benefit in low risk patients.

The figures, compiled by this paper cast further doubt on NICE’s decision to lower the prescribing threshold so that the drugs are given to low risk patients and include up to 17 million patients, almost 40 percent of the adult population.

The data, compiled from reports recorded by the government drug watchdog, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, reveals there have been tens of thousands of reported side-effects linked to statins since the drugs came into widespread use over the last two decades.

Many surround issues of muscle degeneration and muscle weakness, sometimes leading to death due to kidney failure.

The news follows a study which last week showed that women who took statins became more aggressive, and that the reverse was true in men.

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