The Jupiter Trial

Why would it be surprising that a study on the effectiveness of statins is sponsored by a company that makes statins? Clearly, anyone would cry conflict of interest and argue that the results would obviously indicate the benefits of the medication. Yet, several studies on the benefits of food, drugs, and supplements are sponsored by entities that manufacture them. It requires a reading of the fine print before you can tell who was behind the study. This is why just reading screaming headlines that herald a miracle cure need to be taken with a pinch of salt. One such study was called the Jupiter Study.

Sponsored by Astra Zeneca, a company that markets Crestor, a statin, The Jupiter Trial sought to evaluate the effects of statins on folks that had had no prior risk for cardiovascular disease. Their lipid profiles indicated low levels of LDL and Triglycerides and only their C-Reactive Protein, a measure of risk of cardiac ailments were high. The objective of the study was to evaluate whether taking Crestor (the statin) could reduce the probability of first time cardiac ailments. Preventing cardiac ailments if you will. The study was stopped mid-way as it was believed to be unethical to continue to treat one cohort with a placebo when another cohort was clearly seeing the benefits of the intervention.

Dr. Michel de Lorgeril and others published a critique of the study. Their opinion was that the design of the study was flawed  and several of the authors of the study seemed to be financially linked to the sponsor; in this case Astra Zeneca. Also the lead investigator held a patent for the C-reactive protein test. He would obviously benefit if the test became more widely used to screen people as candidates for taking statins. As a result, the study was discredited and its outcomes put under a cloud.

Before you go running adopting the latest fad, please do your research. What you find may surprise you.




Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.