Taipei While the medical jury is still out on this question, the popular heart patient drug marketed by Pfizer is in a class of medications known as "statins".
Statins work, a heart doctor in Taiwan tells this reporter, by inhibiting an enzyme that results in lower levels of something called LDL, sometimes referred to as "bad" cholesterol, and raises levels of HDL, aka "good" cholesterol.
According to the medical literature out there online, clinical trials have indicated that ''abnormal'' - that is to say, "vivid dreams" - are sometimes seen in patients taking Lipitor following heart attacks and stent procedures..However, confirmed reports of such dreaming are still rare, occurring in less than two percent of patients studied so far.
Only the Big Pharma companies know for sure, and they aren't talking.
It's too bad that the old Omni magazine is gone, and of course, publisher Omni's Bob Guccione has passed over to the other side. What might be interesting, says a source at Princeton University, would be to see "more public discussion of the effects of legal and illegal drugs on dreams, as opposed to hallucinations".
"If Lipitor causes pleasant and happy vivid dreaming because it's a statin, perhaps some statins could be used as recreational drugs," the professor added, noting with an Isaac Asimov kind of smile: "A drug that could consistently induce good dreams on a nightly basis is the stuff that science-fiction hits are made of, If Lipitor has this potential, someone should find out what's in it. It could change the way we......sleep!"
Full disclosure: This reporter, not so much for a news story as for his health, has been taking Lipitor in half doses for a year now, following a heart attack and a stent implant. He takes a five milligramme tab of Lipitor each night "around midnight", and without fail the most pleasant and amazingly vivid dreams follow throughout the night, sometimes as many as three or four, with the last one around 6AM before waking. These Lippy dreams, as he calls them, are not hallucinogenic or frightening, and always follow real events in his daily life in the most pleasant of ways, and the dreams feel more ''real'' than dreams he had before going on Lipitor.
So, can Lipitor cause a person to have vivid dreams? Yes. What's in the drug? Only Pfizer knows for sure, and mum’s the word. Statins, whatever they are, and whatever the specific chemical in them that gives rise to vivid dreaming, are not easy to decipher. What's in the white Lipitor film-coated pills that turn on the vivid dreaming controls for some people? Repeated emails to Pfizer's PR department have gone answered.
Imagine if someone made a legal drug with no side-effects that could induce vivid dreaming 24/7? It could change the world. Well, that's too tall of an order, but if nothing else, it could change the way.....we sleep.
Dr Asimov? Calling Dr Asimov!