Prescribing Vitamin D to Help Patients Intolerant of Statins Now Becoming Common Practice Thanks to Mercy Health Physician’s Research

(CINCINNATI; June 8, 2015) – Mercy Health - Cincinnati, which provides advanced, compassionate, quality care in your neighborhood through its care network, announces that research from Mercy Health Physician Charles Glueck, MD is helping patients with high cholesterol levels coupled with statin intolerance reduce their chances of having heart issues through a very simple prescription for Vitamin D.

“Our latest research confirms that for nearly 90% of patients who can’t tolerate statins, vitamin D therapy is a ‘magic bullet,’ allowing them to take statins without painful muscle cramps, tenderness or soreness and lower their LDL cholesterol levels successfully,” said Dr. Glueck. “Since initiating this treatment program in 2009, physicians across the country are now progressively incorporating this simple vitamin D supplementation into conventional practice after they have confirmed that the patient has low levels of Vitamin D.”

For millions of people who’ve tried and failed to lower dangerously high LDL cholesterol levels through diet and exercise, statin drugs have proved to be a safe, therapeutic and helpful weapon in the fight against cardiovascular disease, reducing the national rate of cardiovascular events by up to 75%.

Yet, a class of drugs that has been near miraculous for many remains tantalizingly out of reach for as many as 20% of patients who experience intolerable muscle pain, cramping and tenderness that result as a side effect. Unable to tolerate statins and with lifestyle changes having little to no impact, these patients faced limited options for lowering their cholesterol.

That is until Dr. Glueck, Medical Director of the Mercy Health - Cholesterol and Metabolism Center, and his research team confirmed their suspicions that normalizing these patients’ vitamin D levels might help them tolerate statins.

In research originally published on 2011 and confirmed by a March 2015 study featuring a greater number of patients and longer follow-up times, Dr. Glueck confirmed that Vitamin D can reverse statin intolerance in a majority of vitamin D deficient patients who previously could not tolerate statins.

“Low vitamin D levels can be associated with reduced muscle function. An overwhelming number of Americans are vitamin D deficient and this is especially pronounced in the African-American community,” notes Dr. Glueck. “Ninety per cent of statin-intolerant patients have low Vitamin D levels. We found that increasing vitamin D levels to a normal range in statin-intolerant patients helps many of them tolerate statins and successfully lower their LDL cholesterol levels.”

Dr. Glueck and his team followed 82 vitamin D-deficient, statin intolerant patients for two years, prescribing them 50,000-100,000 units of vitamin D per week. The prescription normalized patients’ Vitamin D levels and 95% of those in the study reported being able to take statins without the debilitating side effects they’d experienced previously while lowering their LDL cholesterol to well within the normal range.

The latest research appeared in the North American Journal of Medical Sciences, March 2015, Volume 7, Issue 3. Its authors are Maksim Khayznikov, MD (The Jewish Hospital Internal Medicine Resident), Kallish Hemachrandra, MD, Ramesh Pandit, MD, Ashwin Kumar, BA, Ping Wang, PhD and Charles J Glueck, MD, all of the Mercy Health – Cholesterol and Metabolism Center.