Statins should be given to people with high blood pressure or diabetes, even if they donâ€™t have heart disease, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal. While several studies have shown that statins benefit those with cardiovascular disease, this is the first large study which looked at statins as primary prevention in those who were otherwise healthy.
The international team of researchers looked at 10 trials, involving more than 70,000 patients, all of which compared statin therapy with placebo or a control group, and patients were followed for at least four years. They found that statins reduced deaths from all causes by 12 percent andâ€”importantlyâ€”reduced the risk of major events such as stroke or heart attack by 30 percentin those without a history of heart disease. These risk reductions are similar to those seen previously in secondary prevention with patients who have established heart disease.
The data suggested that those over 65 with risk factors such as high cholesterol or diabetes were most likely to benefit from long-term statin use, although additional ways of predicting the risk would be useful in identifying those in greatest danger of developing cardiovascular problems. “Given the favourable effects of long term statin treatment, it would be wrong to deny these benefits to people at increased risk for cardiovascular disease,” the authors claimed.