Book Review: "The Statin Disaster" by Dr. David Brownstein
Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP - Women's International Pharmacy
In this latest of Dr. David Brownstein's books, he clearly states that statin medications fail to prevent or treat heart disease for nearly everyone who takes them.  He also points out the shortcomings of the "cholesterol equals heart disease" theory.  Dr. Brownstein is concerned because most busy practitioners do not take the time to fully understand the statistics used in drug studies well enough to critically examine the findings. This leaves practitioners to rely solely on the conclusions presented by the study investigators who are often funded by pharmaceutical companies interested in bringing new drugs to market. Because of this, we are exposed to exaggerated claims of effectiveness when the actual facts may show otherwise. 

What are statins?
Statins make up a class of drugs that lower the level of cholesterol in the blood by reducing the production of cholesterol by the liver. Statins reduce production of cholesterol in the liver by blocking an enzyme responsible for cholesterol production.

Dr. Brownstein introduces us to a statistical concept known as the "number needed to treat". This number can be calculated from data provided in studies. It tells us how many people need to be treated with a medication for one person to benefit. The ideal number is one. When the number needed to treat is one, every person treated benefits from the treatment. Examples of therapies with a very low number needed to treat include: patients with type 1 diabetes using insulin, and patients with low thyroid function taking thyroid.
Catching Up with Dr. David Brownstein
Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP - Women's International Pharmacy

Dr. David Brownstein is a family practice physician practicing in the Detroit area. He is the author of 13 books and is a highly sought after speaker. This month, I had the pleasure of hearing him speak at

Desiccated Thyroid and Iodine in Autoimmune Disease
During Dr. Brownstein's presentation, he focused on the use of desiccated thyroid and iodine in patients with autoimmune thyroid disease.  Desiccated thyroid is a porcine-derived thyroid hormone replacement medication containing a full complement of thyroid hormones. He shared that when he was in medical school, he was taught desiccated thyroid and iodine were not to be used in patients with autoimmune thyroid disease. Iodine was even blamed as a cause of the disease! However, when he investigated further on his own, he found practitioners had used desiccated thyroid and iodine with great success over 100 years ago. He now thinks that thyroid autoimmunity actually arises from a scarcity of iodine in the body. 

Two of Dr. Brownstein's books focus specifically on iodine and thyroid health. They are "Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can't Live Without It" and "Overcoming Thyroid Disorders." In his books, Dr. Brownstein describes two of the major autoimmune thyroid diseases which involve inflammation of the thyroid gland: Grave's Disease and Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. Grave's Disease is associated with hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid activity) and Hashimoto's Disease is associated with both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism (too little thyroid activity)...

Did You Know that Nicotine Affects Thyroid Function?

Written by Kathy Lynch, PharmD - Women's International Pharmacy
Pharmacist Corner
A growing body of data suggests that nicotine can have a detrimental effect on thyroid function. Animal research has established a cellular link between nicotine and thyroid activity. Human research also points to a possible connection between nicotine-induced altered thyroid function and cognitive impairment.

Nicotine may cause underactive or overactive thyroid symptoms in certain individuals. Reproductive-aged women, heavy smokers, and people attempting to quit smoking may be more susceptible to hypothyroidism. People already diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and the general population may more likely develop an increase in overactive thyroid symptoms.

Thyroid hormone levels should be closely monitored in smokers as well as in those attempting to quit so that abnormalities can be addressed. It may be that weight gain and other negative effects associated with smoking cessation can be minimized with thyroid hormone supplementation. 


"Thyroid hormone signaling: Contribution to neural function, cognition, and relationship to nicotine" by Prescott T. Leach and Thomas J. Gould; Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews; 2015; 57: 252-263.


Women's International Pharmacy 


In This Issue
Book Review: "The Statin Disaster"
Catching Up with Dr. David Brownstein
Did You Know that Nicotine Affects Thyroid Function?
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