Statins may help millions more people: study

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nearly 20 percent more U.S. men over 50 and women over 60 stand to benefit from taking statins, based on the findings of a recent study on the cholesterol-lowering drugs, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

Their research stakes out a potentially expanded market for statins, already the world’s top-selling drugs.

The so-called Jupiter study, presented at an American Heart Association meeting in November, showed that AstraZeneca’s statin Crestor dramatically cut deaths, heart attacks and strokes in patients who had healthy cholesterol levels but high levels of a protein associated with heart disease.

C-reactive protein is an indicator of arterial inflammation associated with serious heart risks. The study looked at people with high C-reactive protein levels to see if statins would lower heart disease rates.

Current guidelines used by U.S. doctors indicate about 58 percent of men age 50 and older and women 60 and older, or 34 million people, would benefit from taking statins to cut heart attack and stroke risk.

Dr. Erica Spatz of Yale University in Connecticut and colleagues used U.S. government survey data to see how many more people might be helped by statins, also considering C-reactive protein levels.

They said another 19 percent of men and women in those age groups — 11 million people — should be taking the drugs.

That means that all told 77 percent of Americans in those age groups or 45 million people should take the pills, the researchers wrote in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

“If the effects of this study bear out, the majority of people would be recommended to take a statin,” Spatz said in a telephone interview. “You need to use caution as we move ahead, especially because this affects so many people.”

The new study was not funded by the pharmaceutical industry, and Spatz said she is not advocating such an expansion of existing guidelines on who should take statins.

Fewer than half of people who could benefit from statins under existing guidelines are actually getting one, Spatz noted.

Crestor, also known as rosuvastatin, cut heart attack, stroke, need for bypass or angioplasty procedures and cardiovascular death by 45 percent over less than two years in the Jupiter study, which AstraZeneca funded.

Any future changes in statin recommendations could come from a group such as the American Heart Association.

“Certainly the Jupiter findings were intriguing and they will be evaluated as any future revisions are considered for treatment guidelines for reducing cardiovascular risk,” Dr. Timothy Gardner, president of the American Heart Association, said in a statement.

“A more in-depth study of further implications, including cost-analysis, will be critical in future decision-making processes about preventive measures for the population as a whole,” Gardner added.

(Editing by Maggie Fox and Eric Walsh)


Related Posts:

By Bill Berkrot and Ransdell Pierson NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - AstraZeneca’s cholesterol fighter Crestor dramatically cut deaths, heart attacks and strokes in patients with healthy cholesterol levels but who had high levels of a protein associated with heart disease, researchers said on Sunday. Crestor, known chemically as rosuvastatin, reduced heart attack, stroke, need for bypass or angioplasty

Full Post: AstraZeneca’s Crestor cuts deaths and heart attacks

By Michelle Rizzo NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Treatment with a cholesterol-lowering “statin” drug may very occasionally cause double-vision, eyelid-droop, or weakness of the muscles that control eye movement, investigators report.. Dr. F. W. Fraunfelder and Dr. Amanda B. Richards, from the Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, investigated adverse events of this type

Full Post: Statins may cause rare instances of eye disorders

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - In the largest cohort study to date, treatment with a cholesterol-lowering statin drug was found to reduce new cases of Alzheimer’s disease, regardless of the specific type of statin used or a person’s genetic risk for the disease. Numerous studies have looked at the relationship between statin use and the development

Full Post: New study supports statin’s anti-dementia effects

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A study tracking a large group of women for a decade casts doubt on the value of testing for a certain genetic trait linked to heart disease to predict one’s chances of illness, U.S. researchers said on Monday. Knowing a woman had the abnormality on chromosome 9 did not improve cardiovascular

Full Post: Study doubts heart disease genetic testing value

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - There is no evidence that brand-name drugs given to treat heart and other cardiovascular conditions work any better than their cheaper generic counterparts, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday. The findings run counter to the perception by some doctors and patients that pricier brand-name drugs are clinically superior, said Dr. Aaron Kesselheim

Full Post: Brand-name drugs no better than generics: study

Site Navigation

Most Read