Monday, January 24, 2011

Warnings About Statins Grow Louder

Someone at Miller-McCune really doesn't like statins. Warnings About Statins Grow Louder: "New research suggests previous studies supporting widespread use of cholesterol-lowering drugs is flawed."

The research in question is a Cochrane systematic review. Here is a link to the study's abstract and "plain language summary". From the abstract:

Although reductions in all-cause mortality, composite endpoints and revascularisations were found with no excess of adverse events, there was evidence of selective reporting of outcomes, failure to report adverse events and inclusion of people with cardiovascular disease. Only limited evidence showed that primary prevention with statins may be cost effective and improve patient quality of life. Caution should be taken in prescribing statins for primary prevention among people at low cardiovascular risk.

I think what the authors are really saying is, don't prescribe pills willy-nilly unless the patient is actually at risk. Yes, prevention is worth a pound of cure and all that - but if the patient doesn't need the cure in the first place, then all you're doing is increasing the risk of side effects for no compelling reason.

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