Statins save lives in patients undiagnosed with heart disease

Given that February is National Heart Month (cue Valentine’s Day), I thought I would blog about a recent Cochrane review by the Cochrane Heart Group which has just been published, all about statins. Statins are a family of medicines prescribed for lowering cholesterol. They are one of the most commonly prescribed medicines, particularly by us cardiologists and our GP colleagues. The number of prescriptions and cost to the NHS of these drugs has grown significantly in the last few years, from £20 million in 1993 to £500 million in 2006. They are frequently prescribed for preventing further heart attacks and strokes when a patient has already had one (called secondary prevention by us doctors) but the evidence of benefit when given to patients to prevent a first heart or stroke (called primary prevention) is less clear. This review aimed to assess the effects, both harms and benefits, of statins in people with no history of cardiovascular disease. Continue reading

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Top dose Atorvastatin cuts bad cholesterol by 50%, but what about smaller doses?

Key message: The effect of atorvastatin on lowering total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride was proportional to the dose given. HDL-cholesterol was not significantly affected. Continue reading