Stronger statins ‘could save 12,000’
ARoUND 12,000 people would escape early deaths, heart conditions and strokes by taking higher daily doses of statins to reduce their cholesterol, according to a study.
the authors are concerned that doctors are cautiously prescribing doses that are too weak, or that patients are forgetting or stopping their tablets due to side effects.
Researchers led by imperial College london and the University of leicester looked at the use of statins in more than 16,700 people who had already suffered ‘cardiovascular events’ such as a heart attack or stroke.
they found those who took high-intensity statins correctly at least 80 per cent of the time were around 33 per cent less likely to die from or have another cardiovascular event. that result, applied to the half a million heart disease patients in the UK, suggests 12,000 could be saved, the report said.
study leader Professor Kausik Ray, from the school of public health at imperial, said: ‘With lDl cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol, the lower it is the better.
‘We know once you have one heart attack or other cardiovascular event, you are at much higher risk of more events in future and that lowering your lDl cholesterol levels is key to improving outcomes.
‘For these patients, taking the right medication, at the right dose, at the right time – and sticking to this regimen – is critical in lowering their risk of future cardiovascular events.’ statins are taken by six million people in Britain to reduce their cholesterol and are proven lifesavers for those with heart problems.
But an Australian study revealed last month that 45 per cent of pensioners had stopped taking them, with side- effects including muscle pain, sleep problems and impotence putting some people off.
Commenting on the latest study, Professor sir Nilesh samani, of the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘this is real-world evidence that taking your medicine as prescribed really can make all the difference.
‘if you’re taking statins, it’s essential that you continue to take them regularly, as advised by your doctor.’