Statin benefits questionable in patients at low cardiovascular disease risk

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Washington, Jan 19 (ANI): A new study has suggested that statins should be prescribed with caution to people at low risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

There is not enough evidence to recommend the widespread use of statins in people with no previous history of heart disease, according to the new Cochrane Systematic Review.

The researchers reviewed data from 14 trials involving 34,272 patients. Outcomes in patients given statins were compared to outcomes in patients given placebos or usual care.

Combined data from eight trials involving 28,161 patients that provided data on deaths from all causes showed that statins reduced the risk of dying from 9 to 8 deaths for every 1000 people treated with statins each year. Statins reduced fatal and non-fatal events, including heart attack, stroke and revascularization surgery, as well as blood cholesterol levels.

However, the researchers said that the conclusions of their review are limited by unclear, selective and potentially biased reporting and that careful consideration should be given to patients' individual risk profiles before prescribing statins.

"It is not as simple as just extrapolating the effects from studies in people who have a history of heart disease," said lead researcher Fiona Taylor, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London, UK.

"This review highlights important shortcomings in our knowledge about the effects of statins in people who have no previous history of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). The decision to prescribe statins in this group should not be taken lightly," she said.

A separate Cochrane Systematic Review, conducted by some of the same authors, considered the effects of combined approaches to reducing the risk of heart disease, including using education and counselling to encourage people to change their diets and stop smoking.

The authors concluded that combined interventions had little or no impact on deaths or disease caused by CVD. (ANI)

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