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Lipitor for Your Kid? The Frightening New Trend

We could very well be approaching the darkest days in children’s health care.  Recently the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended children as young as two are screened for cholesterol if they exceed their recommended weight or have a family history of cardiovascular disease.  And you don’t have to be an industry insider to know what’s coming next.

They are already recommending statin drugs such as Lipitor for children as young as eight if their cholesterol numbers are high.  And already in Europe, Lipitor is marketing a chewable statin drug for these kids. 

How did they come up with these guidelines, anyway?

It began with a study in West Virginia that screened all children with a risky family history. The trial also tested children who did not have this red flag. What they found was they were missing some of the kids who did indeed have high cholesterol.  That’s what started the chain of events that led to the recommendation of testing all children.

Guess who has their backs?

Interestingly enough, the AAP is receiving some pretty strong backing.  According to the New York Times, “proponents” of the recommendation remark on the growing evidence that the first indictors of heart disease appear in childhood.  They go on to say, “For some children, cholesterol-lowering drugs such as statins may be their best hope for lowering their risk of early heart attack.”

You have to wonder who these proponents are.  Spend a little time watching television or thumbing through magazines and you might get a clue.  Ads for Lipitor, Zocor, and other statins pop up everywhere.  No doubt these drugs are big money makers for Big Pharma.  And you know what’s worse?

Someone is playing dominoes with our children’s future.

Once children are routinely tested, the domino effect will be set in motion.  More and more statin prescriptions will be issued to kids.  You know it’s bound to happen. Already Lipitor is approved for children over 10.  

Do we really want to subject our children to the potentially dangerous side effects of statin drugs? Muscle pain, neuropathy, and memory loss are difficult enough for adults, but subjecting young children to this is outrageous. Especially when there is a better way.

Where’s the accountability?

Unquestionably, childhood obesity is out of control. And it’s so typical of mainstream medicine to jump to pill pushing to take care of the possible consequences. But at some point, the buck has to stop somewhere and in the majority of cases it stops with parents.  They determine their children’s lifestyle. How many McDonald’s happy meals can one expect their child to devour before health problems arise?

Let’s be clear on one thing.  There are cases where children (and adults) eat and live as healthily as possible, yet genetics affects cholesterol levels.  But even in these cases, statin drugs should be the last resort.

The bottom line is the best way to avoid high cholesterol or heart disease, no matter your age, is to make smart lifestyle choices.  Then perhaps our children can dodge becoming a member in good standing of the Lipitor generation.

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