So, should fast food chains be handing out Lipitor with the burgers? Should there be an item on McDonald's menu called a “McStatin”?Statins are extremely useful. Lipitor is the world's top selling branded drug, with almost $13 billion per year in sales. The widely publicized 2008 JUPITER trial would seem to confirm this widespread use. This study gave a lot of credence to what we doctors call “primary prevention,” a justification for giving statin drugs to patients before they develop heart disease.
So why not hand out a statin with every double cheeseburger? Well for one thing, these meds are mostly effective when they are taken on a regular basis, not episodically. Your best treatment for high cholesterol is to improve your diet and to exercise regularly, not to take more visits to a fast food joint and pop a pill while you are there.Marc Siegel, MD, is an internist and professor of medicine at New York University and the author of False Alarm: The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear