Can a wider use of statins save lives?
If you’re subject to potential heart health issues you might want to talk to your doctor about the findings of a new study that has just been published:
Wider use of statins could save thousands of lives, report says
New expert guidelines from two major cardiologists’ groups may boost doctors’ ability to spot patients who should take cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, researchers said.
The updated guidelines were released in 2013 by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. Now, a new report finds they are more accurate and efficient than earlier guidelines in identifying adults at high risk for heart trouble who could gain from statins.
All of that should add up to lives saved, the researchers said.
“Extrapolating our results to the approximately 10 million U.S. adults who would be newly eligible for statin therapy under the new guidelines, we estimate that between 41,000 and 63,000 cardiovascular events — heart attacks, strokes or deaths from cardiovascular disease — would be prevented over a 10-year period,” lead researcher Dr. Udo Hoffman, a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, said in a hospital news release.
The new guidelines are also better at identifying low-risk patients who do not need to take the drugs, his team noted.
The findings are published July 15 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The 2013 guidelines replace a former advisory to doctors published in 2004. The new guidelines focus more specifically on the use of statins — drugs such as Crestor, Lipitor and Zocor — to prevent heart disease by lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol.
The updated criteria also broaden prevention efforts to focus on all forms of heart disease.