Statins: benefit (again) overstated?

Regular readers will know my ongoing concerns about statins: these drugs now make up one of the most frequently prescribed medications, and especially to well people.

The benefits for people who have had a heart attack or stroke are one thing, but the potential benefit to people who are scored at being as high risk of cardiovascular disease is another. If one thing has been clear up till now, it is that an awful lot of people have to take the medication in order for a much smaller amount to benefit.

This study just out from the Archives of General Medicine is a meta-analysis taking account of over 65 000 patients. It ” did not find evidence for the benefit of statin therapy on all-cause mortality in a high-risk primary prevention set-up” .

One thing I would point out is that this is short term study – statin speaking – at almost 4 years study. We are now prescribing statins earlier and expecting people to be taking them for decades.

One Response to “Statins: benefit (again) overstated?”

  1. Dr Zorro July 2, 2010 at 7:23 am #

    At the same time the side effect profile gets more worrying, with muscle pains & weakness, rhabdomyolysis, renal failure, peripheral neuropathy, liver dysfunction & cataracts.
    The condition of “raised cholesterol” seems now to be so common that one wonders if it is a normal response to some external factor, or perhaps our arbitrary view of what constitutes normal is distorted.
    Certainly the concept of medicalising the assymptomatic en masse is in my view wrong