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I don't want to take Statins. Advice please.

(243 Posts)
Macerena Wed 30-Aug-23 11:44:11

I recently had routine blood tests and my cholesterol is 7.5 The doctor has said I should take statins . I haven't heard good things about them. Also, she said once started I would have to take them for life. I am underweight and do quite a lot of exercise and have never had much of an appetite but because I had a major operation in March, and needed to regain some weight I have been eating doughnuts, chocolate, biscuits, butter on everything - you get the picture! The doctor has agreed that I could try to change diet and get a blood test in December. I am a bit of an "All or nothing" person and have cut out all but veg, fruit, nuts fish. Much eye rolling from daughter. So any advice or help from anyone who is on Statins would be great. Thank you.

welbeck Fri 01-Sep-23 23:46:59

but why would the GPs get paid for prescriptions, i don't understand that ?
they don't dispense the medicines, except rarely in emergencies, which they don't often deal with.
the only GPs i have encountered who actually give out medicines are the out of hours docs who carry some, to bed bound patients.
isn't it the pharmacists who get paid for prescriptions, ie the ones supplying the items.
do GPs get paid for them also ?

growstuff Sat 02-Sep-23 00:23:17

No, they don't get paid for writing prescriptions.

Part of their pay includes meeting QOF targets, which in some circumstances mean that a percentage of patients with certain chronic conditions are prescribed the medication the NHS (NICE) recommends.

growstuff Sat 02-Sep-23 00:28:30

buffyfly9

Growstuff: for the final time: I worked in a GP practice in this country for 25 years, the last years as the Manager. Why do you refuse to accept that GP's receive a prescription fee each time they write one.? I am not saying that GP's are sitting at their desks deliberately writing spurious prescriptions! I have sorted and counted thousands of prescriptions at the end of every month and sent them for pricing for years! It's all part of their income, like over 75 health checks, baby immunisation targets etc, they are all paid for if those targets are met. GP's are self employed, if they don't meet their targets they lose money. There is nothing wrong in setting targets in principle but if you ask most GP's if they like their target driven job you would hear a few swear words. Why do you think they are leaving general practice in droves? While you are at it ask a few GP's if they take statins, you might be surprised by their answer.

Because they don't receive a prescription fee for every prescription they write!

One of my best friends is a GP. I know very well what she thinks of targets. I also know that she doesn't get paid for the prescriptions she writes.

The dispensers (pharmacists) receive a flat fee from the NHS for the items they dispense, which covers the cost they have to pay for them, their staff and their premises.

Primrose53 Sat 02-Sep-23 09:08:31

buffyfly9

Growstuff: for the final time: I worked in a GP practice in this country for 25 years, the last years as the Manager. Why do you refuse to accept that GP's receive a prescription fee each time they write one.? I am not saying that GP's are sitting at their desks deliberately writing spurious prescriptions! I have sorted and counted thousands of prescriptions at the end of every month and sent them for pricing for years! It's all part of their income, like over 75 health checks, baby immunisation targets etc, they are all paid for if those targets are met. GP's are self employed, if they don't meet their targets they lose money. There is nothing wrong in setting targets in principle but if you ask most GP's if they like their target driven job you would hear a few swear words. Why do you think they are leaving general practice in droves? While you are at it ask a few GP's if they take statins, you might be surprised by their answer.

Explained very well buffyfly9

I know 100% that what you say is true because my ex Practice Manager friend told me the same and the information is out there if you look. I posted a link telling GP Practices how to maximise their income but even that wasn’t evidence enough for some.

Vintagewhine Sat 02-Sep-23 09:12:55

GPs definitely don't get paid for writing a prescription, just like they don't get paid for prescribing statins. People spread such rubbish but it's damaging if patients think their GP is just trying to make money out of them instead of giving them something that may stop them becoming ill. It reminds me of all the rubbish that was posted about covid vaccines. Conspiracy theories spread by ill informed people!

Marydoll Sat 02-Sep-23 09:38:58

That's sums up how I feel, Vintagewhine. I agree it is damaging to spread misinformation.
No-one should be making decisions on their health, based on what they read on social media.
How many posting on this thread are actually doctors? Anecdotal evidence does not cut it with me. Do what you like about your own health, but do not try to influence others.

nightowl Sat 02-Sep-23 09:54:29

It seems rather rude to dismiss buffyfly9’s long work experience as a practice manager as a ‘conspiracy theory’. I have no skin in this game but I’m very interested in what she has to say.

My husband has been on multiple medications, including statins, for almost 20 years and has undoubtedly had his life saved by the NHS on a number of occasions.

On the other hand, I recently had a medication review with our new practice pharmacist (it has always been with a GP in the past). She suggested I should start taking statins on the basis of my age and weight alone. I have not had any blood tests for over 10 years but she seemed slightly surprised when I asked if it might be a good idea to check my cholesterol levels to see if there was a problem before prescribing medication of any kind.

I would like more cohesive practice between the different professionals at my particular GP practice, it all seems very fragmented and process driven.

Hetty58 Sat 02-Sep-23 10:08:49

Marydoll:

'No-one should be making decisions on their health, based on what they read on social media'

exactly - and if my cholesterol was that high - I think I'd take the statins.

Still, Macerena did ask, so here's some info from the BHF:

www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/medical/cholesterol-lowering-alternatives

Kate567 Sat 02-Sep-23 11:25:10

Have been taking statins a long time. Very recently I was diagnosed with heart failure but thanks to the statins I didn't have a cholesterol build up in my arteries. I escaped having a heart attack

growstuff Sat 02-Sep-23 14:37:54

Vintagewhine

GPs definitely don't get paid for writing a prescription, just like they don't get paid for prescribing statins. People spread such rubbish but it's damaging if patients think their GP is just trying to make money out of them instead of giving them something that may stop them becoming ill. It reminds me of all the rubbish that was posted about covid vaccines. Conspiracy theories spread by ill informed people!

Thank you for posting that Vintagewhine. I don't know why people persist in posting the nonsense. Yes, it is damaging - and dangerous.

growstuff Sat 02-Sep-23 14:42:01

Primrose53

buffyfly9

Growstuff: for the final time: I worked in a GP practice in this country for 25 years, the last years as the Manager. Why do you refuse to accept that GP's receive a prescription fee each time they write one.? I am not saying that GP's are sitting at their desks deliberately writing spurious prescriptions! I have sorted and counted thousands of prescriptions at the end of every month and sent them for pricing for years! It's all part of their income, like over 75 health checks, baby immunisation targets etc, they are all paid for if those targets are met. GP's are self employed, if they don't meet their targets they lose money. There is nothing wrong in setting targets in principle but if you ask most GP's if they like their target driven job you would hear a few swear words. Why do you think they are leaving general practice in droves? While you are at it ask a few GP's if they take statins, you might be surprised by their answer.

Explained very well buffyfly9

I know 100% that what you say is true because my ex Practice Manager friend told me the same and the information is out there if you look. I posted a link telling GP Practices how to maximise their income but even that wasn’t evidence enough for some.

Because your link wasn't evidence that GPs are paid for prescribing statins.

growstuff Sat 02-Sep-23 14:43:09

nightowl

It seems rather rude to dismiss buffyfly9’s long work experience as a practice manager as a ‘conspiracy theory’. I have no skin in this game but I’m very interested in what she has to say.

My husband has been on multiple medications, including statins, for almost 20 years and has undoubtedly had his life saved by the NHS on a number of occasions.

On the other hand, I recently had a medication review with our new practice pharmacist (it has always been with a GP in the past). She suggested I should start taking statins on the basis of my age and weight alone. I have not had any blood tests for over 10 years but she seemed slightly surprised when I asked if it might be a good idea to check my cholesterol levels to see if there was a problem before prescribing medication of any kind.

I would like more cohesive practice between the different professionals at my particular GP practice, it all seems very fragmented and process driven.

It's not rude to highlight misinformation.

growstuff Sat 02-Sep-23 15:09:14

nightowl Weight and age are risk factors for heart attacks and are all put together as well as cholesterol levels when deciding whether statins should be prescribed. Maybe the pharmacist was actually suggesting that you should have a test for cholesterol. Statins wouldn't be prescribed before a baseline cholesterol test anyway.

foxie48 Sat 02-Sep-23 15:57:59

I wonder if BuffyFly9 worked for a dispensing GP surgery? A dispensing GP will get paid the same as a pharmacist, ie for each prescription + an agreed amount for each medicine according to the current drug tariff. The payment is for dispensing not for prescribing, which is a completely different thing and then of course, the office staff will be sorting out prescriptions, but I would have thought a practice manager would appreciate the difference.

nightowl Sat 02-Sep-23 16:08:48

growstuff

nightowl Weight and age are risk factors for heart attacks and are all put together as well as cholesterol levels when deciding whether statins should be prescribed. Maybe the pharmacist was actually suggesting that you should have a test for cholesterol. Statins wouldn't be prescribed before a baseline cholesterol test anyway.

I know they are risk factors and no, she was not suggesting I should have a blood test. In fact she looked quite surprised that I suggested such a thing and repeated the fact that it would be a good idea for me to take them. She then went on to tell me the data regarding risk of a cardiovascular event if I took them as opposed to if I didn’t. I again asked if it might be a good idea to check my cholesterol in order that I could make an informed decision and she said words to the effect ‘if that’s what you want to do’.

I think medication can be a wonderful thing if it is necessary; my argument is that it’s a good idea to check that it is first.

nightowl Sat 02-Sep-23 16:12:04

Growstuff, I don’t know how you can suggest buffyfly9 is spreading misinformation when she is describing her professional experience. That’s what I find rude.

growstuff Sat 02-Sep-23 16:17:19

foxie48

I wonder if BuffyFly9 worked for a dispensing GP surgery? A dispensing GP will get paid the same as a pharmacist, ie for each prescription + an agreed amount for each medicine according to the current drug tariff. The payment is for dispensing not for prescribing, which is a completely different thing and then of course, the office staff will be sorting out prescriptions, but I would have thought a practice manager would appreciate the difference.

I wondered that too.

growstuff Sat 02-Sep-23 16:18:24

nightowl

*Growstuff*, I don’t know how you can suggest buffyfly9 is spreading misinformation when she is describing her professional experience. That’s what I find rude.

But it's misinformation.

growstuff Sat 02-Sep-23 16:19:44

GPs do not get paid for every prescription they issue - unless, as foxie explained, they are dispensing surgeries.

growstuff Sat 02-Sep-23 16:23:06

nightowl

growstuff

nightowl Weight and age are risk factors for heart attacks and are all put together as well as cholesterol levels when deciding whether statins should be prescribed. Maybe the pharmacist was actually suggesting that you should have a test for cholesterol. Statins wouldn't be prescribed before a baseline cholesterol test anyway.

I know they are risk factors and no, she was not suggesting I should have a blood test. In fact she looked quite surprised that I suggested such a thing and repeated the fact that it would be a good idea for me to take them. She then went on to tell me the data regarding risk of a cardiovascular event if I took them as opposed to if I didn’t. I again asked if it might be a good idea to check my cholesterol in order that I could make an informed decision and she said words to the effect ‘if that’s what you want to do’.

I think medication can be a wonderful thing if it is necessary; my argument is that it’s a good idea to check that it is first.

Here are the latest NICE guidelines for prescribing statins:

www.nice.org.uk/news/article/statins-could-be-a-choice-for-more-people-to-reduce-their-risk-of-heart-attacks-and-strokes-says-nice

I assume your risk means that you meet the qualifying criteria to be offered them. If you read the link, you will see that it's your choice.

I would be amazed if you were actually prescribed statins without a baseline test. How would anybody know if they were working?

growstuff Sat 02-Sep-23 16:36:48

These are the draft guidelines:

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg181/update/cg181-update-1/documents/draft-guideline-2

buffyfly9 Sat 02-Sep-23 16:49:25

I worked in a 100% dispensing practice, there was no dispensing chemist within the area at that time. In my defence I did point out that the pharmacy had to be paid for dispensing it (the prescription fee) and for the drug(s) supplied. We are splitting hairs here and other posters misinformation abounds!! I'm losing the will to live so I'm signing out of this discussion.

nightowl Sat 02-Sep-23 17:20:20

growstuff

nightowl

growstuff

nightowl Weight and age are risk factors for heart attacks and are all put together as well as cholesterol levels when deciding whether statins should be prescribed. Maybe the pharmacist was actually suggesting that you should have a test for cholesterol. Statins wouldn't be prescribed before a baseline cholesterol test anyway.

I know they are risk factors and no, she was not suggesting I should have a blood test. In fact she looked quite surprised that I suggested such a thing and repeated the fact that it would be a good idea for me to take them. She then went on to tell me the data regarding risk of a cardiovascular event if I took them as opposed to if I didn’t. I again asked if it might be a good idea to check my cholesterol in order that I could make an informed decision and she said words to the effect ‘if that’s what you want to do’.

I think medication can be a wonderful thing if it is necessary; my argument is that it’s a good idea to check that it is first.

Here are the latest NICE guidelines for prescribing statins:

www.nice.org.uk/news/article/statins-could-be-a-choice-for-more-people-to-reduce-their-risk-of-heart-attacks-and-strokes-says-nice

I assume your risk means that you meet the qualifying criteria to be offered them. If you read the link, you will see that it's your choice.

I would be amazed if you were actually prescribed statins without a baseline test. How would anybody know if they were working?

If risk = age and weight (I’m overweight but not obese) then yes, I suppose I do.

But as you say, without a baseline test, how would anyone know whether they were working. To be honest, the level of monitoring my husband (with serious health problems) gets at our GP practice is minimal, so I don’t have much confidence in them anyway.

nightowl Sat 02-Sep-23 17:23:28

Thank you for the guidelines growstuff, they are helpful. I’m amazed, I was never offered this type of consultation or any suggestion of it!

growstuff Sat 02-Sep-23 19:01:22

buffyfly9

I worked in a 100% dispensing practice, there was no dispensing chemist within the area at that time. In my defence I did point out that the pharmacy had to be paid for dispensing it (the prescription fee) and for the drug(s) supplied. We are splitting hairs here and other posters misinformation abounds!! I'm losing the will to live so I'm signing out of this discussion.

Thanks for the explanation. No, we're not splitting hairs at all.

GPs are not paid for prescribing. As your GP practice was a dispensing practice, it was paid for dispensing, which is not the same thing at all.

The fee paid by the NHS covered the cost of buying in drugs from wholesalers. There would only have been an incentive, if GPs were prescribing drugs for which the NHS paid more than the cost at which they could be obtained.

Most GPs in highly populated urban areas can't dispense for most of their patients. My own practice is a dispensing practice, but most patients have to go to a pharmacist in town to have prescriptions dispensed because we live within a mile of a pharmacist. Apparently, the GP pharmacist loses money because an increasing number of people are using online dispensers and only offers the service as a convenience to patients living in more rural areas. They are not making any money when GPs prescribe. In fact, the opposite is true, if GPs prescribe something which is difficult to obtain and they end up paying more than the NHS is willing to reimburse.