Stronger statins ‘could save 12,000’

Daily Mail - - News - By Vic­to­ria Allen Sci­ence Cor­re­spon­dent

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.’

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