Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size

Low-Cost Drugs Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke

Study Shows Generic Statins and Blood Pressure Drugs Cut Risk of Hospitalization

Reducing Risk of Heart Attacks and Strokes

The risk reduction in heart attacks and strokes varied by group and how faithfully participants took the medications.

Compared with the no-exposure group, the low-exposure group (whose members picked up medicines less than half the time) had a 60% reduction in hospitalizations for heart attack and stroke.

''People who picked up the medicine more than half the time had more than a 60% reduction in heart attack and stroke in the third year of follow-up," says Marc Jaffe, MD, director of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Program, who oversaw more than half the study participants.

Among the 21,292 people in the high-exposure group, there were 545 fewer heart attacks and strokes. That translates to a reduction in the hospitalization rate for heart attack or stroke by 26 per 1,000 members compared to those who had no exposure to the drug.

The approach, Jaffe and Dudl say, focused less on adjusting doses, which saves time and the number of office visits for doctors and patients. "It was a focus on starting at a reasonable, fixed dose that would work for most people," Jaffe tells WebMD. That dose was adjusted when needed, however, he says.

''The simplicity [of the approach] makes it easier for people to deal with," Dudl says. Typically, patients are told to start the drugs at a low dose, then asked to come back in three or four weeks for monitoring.

Side effects, such as muscle aches with statins, were found in about the same numbers as in studies in which participants took the drugs separately, Dudl says.

The approach used in the Kaiser study is simple and doesn't require frequent doctor's office visits or blood tests, says Ravi Dave, MD, a cardiologist at Santa Monica--UCLA and Orthopaedic Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif., and associate professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine, who reviewed the study for WebMD.

"This [study] establishes the safety and efficacy of this approach," he says. "It's good for patients, with their busy lives.''

The study, he adds, also supports the concept of cholesterol lowering in high-risk patients whose cholesterol levels may be deemed acceptable for the general population, but not for high-risk people.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

x-ray of human heart
A visual guide.
atrial fibrillation
Symptoms and causes.
heart rate graph
10 things to never do.
heart rate
Get the facts.
empty football helmet
red wine
eating blueberries
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Inside A Heart Attack
Omega 3 Sources
Salt Shockers
lowering blood pressure