Statin Benefits Patients With Low Cholesterol
Crestor Users Cut Cardiac Deaths in Half
Statins Benefit "Low-Risk" Patients continued...
"This study was designed to identify new groups of patients who could
benefit from statin therapy, and it did that," Mayo Clinic cardiologist and
American Heart Association past-president Raymond Gibbons, MD, tells WebMD.
"There is no question that these findings are robust, but there are still
unanswered questions about who should take these drugs."
Stanford University professor of health research and policy Mark A. Hlatky,
In an editorial published with the study, Hlatky wrote that it is still not
clear if the benefits of treating relatively low-risk people with statins for
many decades outweigh the risks.
He notes that 120 people with similar risk factors to the people in the
study would have to be treated for 1.9 years to prevent one heart attack,
stroke, or death from cardiac causes.
The Crestor-treated participants were also slightly more likely to be
diagnosed with diabetes during the study than placebo-treated participants.
"We are talking about treating relatively low-risk people with a drug
that they will take for the rest of their lives," he tells WebMD. "We
can't just say everyone should be treated. Individual risk factors need to be
Expanded Role for hsCRP?
The study raises important questions about the role of high-sensitivity CRP
in assessing cardiovascular risk.
The test is increasingly used by cardiologists but has not been considered a
routine test for heart disease risk, mainly because its impact on treatment
decisions has not been clear.
These findings, along with two other studies presented this weekend in New
Orleans, could change this.
The studies, supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
(NHLBI), showed the hsCRP test to be valuable for evaluating risk after a first
heart attack or stroke.
In a written statement, NHLBI Director Elizabeth G. Nabel, MD, notes that
the three studies provide the strongest evidence so far that hsCRP testing is a
useful marker for cardiovascular disease.
"Many clinicians now offer hsCRP testing to their patients, but until
now the value of hsCRP levels to treatment decisions, especially in adults with
desirable cholesterol levels, was unclear," she writes.
An expert NHLBI-led panel is reviewing the scientific evidence regarding
hsCRP testing and is expected to make more specific recommendations on how the
test should be used in its revised guidelines for lowering cardiovascular