When should statin therapy be prescribed?

When should statin therapy be prescribed?

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently revealed its draft recommendation for the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs in patients 40 to 75 years old to prevent cardiovascular disease.

The recommendation stated that people with the following factors should take statin drugs, including those who:

  • Fall in the 40 to 75 year old age range.
  • Don’t have a history of cardiovascular disease.
  • Have at least one risk factor for heart disease.
  • Have a 10 percent or greater risk of heart attack or stroke in the next year, according to the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology’s risk calculator. View the ACC’s risk calculator here.

Statins work in the liver to prevent formation of cholesterol and are effective in lowering bad cholesterol levels and raising good cholesterol levels, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The assessment by the task force concluded that low to moderate dose statin use by at-risk individuals would net benefits. However, personal preferences about taking daily medications and potential side effects should be considered.

“For people at increased risk, statins can be very effective at preventing these [heart attack and stroke] events,” says Dr. Kunal Bodiwala, cardiologist with Advocate Heart Institute at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center Normal, Ill. “Heart disease risk is a continuum, so the higher your risk, the more likely you will benefit from taking a statin along with maintaining a heart healthy lifestyle.”

Statins shouldn’t replace a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating fruits and vegetables and whole grains, maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active and not smoking, Dr. Bodiwala adds.

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  1. It is the Food and Drug Administration, not Federal Drug Administration.

  2. sarah e shapleigh January 5, 2016 at 7:17 pm · Reply

    You did not mention the potential side effects like leg cramps. I suffered from them to the point I could not sleep more than 2 hours w/o waking from them. While I c/o about them was told there was little to be done. Only after future reading was I able to figure that out. Intolerable and unacceptable.

    • Lynn Hutley

      As with most medications, there are potential side effects including muscle problems and a small risk for diabetes. According to our cardiology expert, this is what makes taking statins a shared decision between physicians and patients.

    • Statins are very dangerous drugs , after people are on them for a while their brain turns to mush . The myth is what it is a myth that is used by big pharma to make big bucks . The real problem is sugar not cholesterol , READ THE BOOK ” THE CHOLESTEROL MYTH ” BASED ON THE LONGEST STUDY EVER ABOUT HEART PROBLEMS .

  3. What about people over 75?

    • Lynn Hutley

      According to Dr. Bodiwala, in this particular case, the evidence was lacking to recommend for or against lipid screening of adults older than 75 for the purpose of preventive statin use. You can find out more about the recommendation on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force website and of course, you can always speak with your physician if you have questions about any health interventions.

About the Author

Lynn Hutley
Lynn Hutley

Lynn Hutley, health enews contributor, is coordinator of public affairs and marketing at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and Advocate Eureka Hospital in central Illinois. Having grown up in a family-owned drug store, it is no surprise that Lynn has spent almost 18 years working in the health care industry. She has a degree in human resources management from Illinois State University and is always ready to tackle Trivia Night.