The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that some children as young as eight years of age should be given cholesterol reducing drugs, i.e., statins. Such children may have to take statins for the rest of their lives.
We find this recommendation both dismaying and amazing. It will be widely debated in the pediatric medical community.
We are doubtful that the use of statins will be beneificial to young children who are still developing. Indeed, statins may prove detrimental. We question whether there have been adequate studies.
It is dismaying that there has been an increase in cholesterol levels in children. However, the pediatricians’ recommendation should not lull parents into thinking that statins are a magic bullet which will cure poor diet, junk foods, and lack of exercise.
Parents should exercise the greatest of care before having their children assume a regimen of statins which may to be taken for life. We believe in the old adage that each dose of medicine has a little poison. In other words, prescriptive drugs should be taken only if necessary and only if there are no other, drug-free alternatives available.
We suggest that parents obtain a second opinion before giving statins to their children.
Mark E. Seitelman, 7/10/08, www.seitelman.com