Statins are prescribed more often than is justified

According to a new study published in Annals of Internal Medicine, current recommendations for intake of statins (for the prevention of cardiovascular disease) did not sufficiently appreciate the risks of these widely used drugs.

Some unwanted actions are observed, but it is unclear how they are taken into account when developing recommendations. In our approach we clearly took into account the harm, says the study’s lead author Puhan Milo (Milo Puhan), a physician and epidemiologist from the University of Zurich (University of Zurich).

Statins are generally safe and side effects are rare. But, on the other hand, benefits from their reception is not so great. According to the Spanish study, from 50 to 200 healthy people should take statins to prevent one case of myocardial infarction within five years. So, sure Swiss scientists, even a small harm may outweigh the potential benefits.

The most common side effect of these drugs is muscle pain, which usually goes away if patients stop taking them. Also taking statins increases the risk of developing diabetes, which can not be reversed just by stopping the intake of these medicines.

The researchers also found that some statins are more effective the best of the group was recognized as Atorvastatin (generic Lipitor). They noted that medical recommendations do not usually compare the relative value of these drugs, which are available as inexpensive generics.

Researchers believe that with increasing age patients the benefits of statins disappear in comparison with the harm. The elderly do not benefit as much as they could bear in mind previous studies. One size does not fit all, concludes a Cute Puhan.

Based on the assessment of Swiss scientists, perhaps 15-20% of older people have to take statins (instead of 30-40%, we offer the current medical recommendations).

I think for me, as a doctor, this kind of data suggests that if we give more weight to potential adverse effects, then perhaps it is reasonable to hold for patients with a lower risk, says Ilana Richman (Ilana Richman), an internist at Yale school of medicine (Yale School of Medicine)

She noted that doctors should do more to explain to patients the pros and cons of treatment with statins and to give more personalized recommendations. However, it is not easy to convey these complex concepts in a short period of time that the physician spends with their patients.

However, this dialogue is increasingly expected. In mid-November, the American heart Association and the American College of cardiology issued new recommendations calling for a more detailed discussion of this issue.

Valeria SEMA