Physicians' Academy for Cardiovascular Education

Opinion: Statins for healthy people?

News - May 21, 2012

Statins for healthy people 

Commentary by Prof John E Deanfield

Recently, prescribing statins to healthy people was discussed in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The main question is: should a healthy man aged 55 who has a blood pressure of 110 mm Hg, an LDL-cholesterol level of 6.46 mmol /L without family history take statins? Besides, the New England Journal of Medicine published a reflective publication on statins and the risk of diabetes. Links to these articles you will find below.

According to prof. John E. Deanfield (University College, London), statin therapy is a key part of multifactorial risk reduction strategies. Long term surveillance of risks and benefits are required, particularly for drugs given to very large numbers of people. The data we have so far are highly encouraging for statins.


Deanfield gives four good reasons to continue prescribing statins:

  1. The benefits of a healthy lifestyle should always be emphasised, but this is rarely adopted by patients.
  2. Statins provide an effective way of prolonging an event free survival and are generally safe, with increasing benefit over time.
  3. Thirdly the extremely well investigated potent statins atorvastatin and simvastatin are both generic and cheap
  4. It is important to consider the lifetime benefits of cardiovascular risk reduction in discussions with patients and not merely 5 and 10 year risks in those with cardiovascular disease..


References

Healthy Men Should Not Take Statins :
JAMA. 2012;307(14):1491-1492. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.423
Rita F. Redberg, MD; Mitchell H. Katz, MD

Statin Therapy for Healthy Men Identified as “Increased Risk”
JAMA. 2012;307(14):1489-1490. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.425
Michael J. Blaha, MD, MPH; Khurram Nasir, MD, MPH; Roger S. Blumenthal, MD

Statins: Is It Really Time to Reassess Benefits and Risks?
N Engl J Med 2012; 366:1752-1755May 10, 2012
Allison B. Goldfine, M.D.




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