Indication Creep is the phenomenon wheree a drug is tested and approved for one specific use and doctors prescribe it for another use.
This is a perfectly legal and legitimate practice. Once a drug is approved for use, a doctor is allowed to prescribe it for any usage that they choose to .Prescribing drugs for "Off Label" uses, as it is known, often saves lives and helps many people. It also will often drive studies to be done for usages that doctors have found the drug to be useful for. But prescribing for Off-Label uses also has its downsides- especially when the drug is used in age groups that it was not tested on.
A study that examined off label uses shows that MORE THAN 50% of all drugs prescribed to children in the hospital are used off label!
This is a seriously shocking number. Children's metabolismism are NOT the same as adults. They process drugs entirely different than adults do. And the long term effects of these drugs on children's growth and development is in unknown territory.
The AntiCholesterol drugs known as 'Statins' include names such as Lipitor, Baycol, Pravachol, Mevacor and Zocor. They are being prescribed in HUGE numbers to adults with questionable effects. Side effects are NOT rare and include such effects as muscle weakness and liver failure. Many researchers and doctors believe that their use, even in adults, is only marginally necessary anyway, due to the fact that high cholesterol, in the VAST Majority of Cases, is controllable with diet and lifestyle changes.
But the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that doctors consider using Statin Drugs in children as young as 8 years old if they have high cholesterol! I find their recommendation HORRIFYING for a variety of reasons.
1) Do we even know what a "normal" cholesterol level IS in children?
They have not their been extensive studies of "normal" cholesterol in children so that we know what normal even is. Children are not "small adults" and their normal blood levels are not always the same as adults. How can anyone decide to "lower" a level of anything when they do not know what "normal" really is!
2) Do we know what lower cholesterol in children will do to them long term?
Cholesterol is not in our bodies unnecessarily. It's there because we NEED it for the development of every single cell wall in our entire body, for the conversion of Sunlight to Vitamin D in our skin, and for the creation of every hormone. What will happen when we take away the building blocks of cell walls and hormones in a child is completely unknown.
3) The most well known, but least talked about "Side Effect" of Statin Drugs- are their Coenzyme Q-10 lowering effect.
Coenzyme Q-10 is a crazy sounding name for a substance that fuels the Mitochondria in every cell in the body. The Mitochondria are often called "The Powerhouses" of each and every individual cell of the body. This is not just a "theoretical" effect of statins. Fatigue and muscle weakness are among the most common causes of people being unable to continue to take statins. This muscle weakness is a direct result of Coenzyme Q-10 depletion and is EASILY remedied with the over-the-counter supplements known as Coenzyme Q-10 or Ubiquinone.
While this is WIDELY reported in the literature on statins, the muscle weakness seems to baffle practicing doctors who could easily remedy the situation, but prefer to try the patient on different statin medications until they have exhausted all of their statin options (and exhausted their patients !). So, the question becomes- what are we doing to children when we depleted their cellular energy ?! We already have a nation of tired sick people. Are we making these children destined for a lifetime of obesity, malnutrition and ill health in the name of 'reduced cholesterol'?
4) They are LOTS better ways to lower High Cholesterol and, as usual, it absolves the Physician of the responsibility to find the REASON WHY the child has high cholesterol in the first place.
If these children do truly have High Cholesterol, perhaps it's time for a Family Intervention from a combined social services / nutritionist consult who can teach the family to get the CRAP foods out of their house and go for a walk after dinner instead of sitting on their asses watching television. This would probably "Cure" a lot more cases of "Familial High Cholesterol", Diabetes and Obesity than all of the drugs in the world.