I take Vytorin for cholesterol and I heard that this drug may increase my risk for cancer. I had to have a lumpectomy in 1996 and so my fear is that the breast cancer will return. Should I continue the Vytorin or stop it?”
–L.P., Washington, D.C.
ANSWER: The final decision is between you and your doctor, but here’s more information about Vytorin to help you both make this decision. First of all, other readers may not realize that Vytorin is a combination drug so you can take one convenient pill instead of two. It contains a statin called simvastatin, which is sold as a stand-alone drug (Zocor). The other drug is ezetimibe, which is also sold as a stand-alone drug (Zetia). Simply put, Vytorin is the marriage of Zocor and Zetia, except they don’t live happily ever after together.
Combination drugs are useful when stand-alone drugs fail to produce desired results. But whenever you take two drugs (even if they are combined in one pill), you will face more side-effects from both components in the pill. A recent study on Vytorin showed a dramatic increase in risk of developing cancer. No one is sure if it’s the “Zocor” component or the “Zetia” component of the drug, but some scientists lean to the Zetia component (ie ezetimibe). It may be both components, and it may be neither. That will be sifted out in further studies. To be fair, not all studies on Vytorin show a cancer connection. Now, FDA officials, pharmaceutical executives and congressmen are scratching their heads trying to determine if this study result is a fluke or not. Let’s take a closer look:
1. Vytorin contains a statin component.
2. Statins are drug-muggers of Coenzyme Q10.
3. The nutrient depletion of CoQ10 by statins is well-documented by clinical trials. I have been warning you about this since the 1990s. It occurs because statins prevent production of cholesterol in your liver, and while doing so, they inadvertently also prevent formation of CoQ10. So statins lower your CoQ10. Are you with me?
4. CoQ10 is one of your body’s most powerful antioxidants and it protects your brain, heart, liver, breast, prostate, lungs and kidneys from free radical damage.
Many scientific leaders say that antioxidants protect your cells from oxidative damage. When you run low on antioxidants, you have a greater risk of cell damage which could translate to a higher risk for cancer.
The study result may not be conclusive yet, but it doesn’t surprise me. I believe the reason for dreadful side-effects of medications is due to their drug-mugging effect. Drugs steal nutrients, plain and simple. I’ve posted more information about this effect on if you CLICK HERE, which explains a little bit more about how various medications can slowly steal the life out of you.
Dozens of other medications deplete your CoQ10 stash, little by little. These include:
Most diabetic drugs
Estrogen-containing hormones like patches and shots
Hormone Replacement Drugs
Birth control pills
Most blood pressure pills
Many tri-cyclic antidepressants and
Some psychiatric meds
Many many more (over 100 other medications)
If you are taking any of the medications that deplete CoQ10, it may be wise to supplement with 50 to 200mg CoQ10 each day, or use the active form of CoQ10 called “Ubiquinol.”
Did You Know?
Dandelion herb may help prevent or slowly dissolve gallstones. Ask your doctor about this if you have gallbladder disease.
Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.