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Statins should be more widely used

07/05/2002 - News

Statins should be more widely used

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD

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A landmark study shows that cholesterol-lowering drugs reduce the risk of both heart attack and stroke in a large group of people.

Till now statins - drugs which lower cholesterol - have been used mainly among those with pre-existing heart disease. But new results from the Heart Protection Study, reported by researchers at the University of Oxford, UK, suggests that statins could be far more widely used.

A group of over 20,000 people with arterial disease, heart disease or diabetes received either simvastatin, or placebo, for five years. Death from all causes was reduced from 14.7 per cent (in the placebo group) to 12.9 per cent (in the statin group). Most of the reductions were in coronary deaths. There were also reductions in non-fatal heart attack and stroke. The researchers say if 10 million high risk individuals went on statin therapy, this would save as many as 50,000 lives a year. Doctors should now radically rethink their prescribing of statins. What is more, the drugs were well tolerated by the participants - an important factor when long-term use is necessary to get the benefits.

Source

Lancet 6th July 2002

Created on: 07/05/2002
Reviewed on: 07/05/2002

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