Tags: Heart Disease | High Cholesterol | statin | prescription | practices

Should Doctors Rethink Statin Prescriptions?

Should Doctors Rethink Statin Prescriptions?
(Copyright DPC)

By    |   Monday, 21 March 2016 04:32 PM

Doctors prescribe statins for millions of Americans to help lower their cholesterol levels. But a new study out of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal suggests physicians need to rethink those prescribing practices.

Currently statins are prescribed to patients based on their future risk of cardiovascular disease (mainly driven by age), which excludes many younger individuals who may benefit from them.

The findings, published online in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association, suggest changes in statin prescription practices could improve prevention of heart disease, especially in younger people.

"Our study is changing the way we think about prescribing statins; we should not only be considering who is at risk of heart disease but, more importantly, who would benefit from these medications," said lead researcher Dr. George Thanassoulis, director of Preventive and Genomic Cardiology at the MUHC and an associate professor in Medicine at McGill University.

"For example, younger patients who have high cholesterol, are frequently considered too young to be at risk for heart attack in the short term, but our analysis shows that they would benefit from treatment, even in the short term, and therefore should be eligible for statin treatment."

To reach their conclusions, researchers analyzed the medical records of 2,134 participants from the long-running U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2005 and 2010, representing 71.8 million Americans potentially eligible for statins.

They compared two approaches for statin eligibility: the 10-year risk-based approach, currently in use, and an individualized benefit approach designed to determine who should receive statins.

The results showed the latter approach was found to benefit far more people, particular those of younger ages.

"Using a benefit-based approach, we identified 9.5 million lower-risk Americans not currently eligible for statin treatment, who had the same or greater expected benefit from statins as higher-risk individuals," explained Thanassoulis.

"These individuals were lower-risk because they were younger but they also had higher levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol which we have known to be an important cause of heart disease. Targeting statin treatment to this group would prevent an additional 266,000 heart attacks and strokes over 10 years."

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Doctors prescribe statins for millions of Americans, but a new suggests physicians need to rethink those prescribing practices.
statin, prescription, practices
Monday, 21 March 2016 04:32 PM
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