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Statins May Work Better in Men Than in Women

Analysis Fails to Show Stroke Reduction, Survival Benefit in Women

Risk, Benefits Unclear in Women continued...

Redberg tells WebMD that since women tend to have a low risk for heart disease until they reach their mid-70s, it makes sense that they might not benefit as much as men do from statins.

She says that for most younger women, the risks of taking statins probably outweigh the benefits.

Muscle aches and problems with memory have been reported in statin users.

"If a woman is going to take a drug that might worsen her quality of life she needs to know there is a benefit," she says. "For most women, the evidence just is not there for statins."

She says at-risk women derive more benefit from making lifestyle changes to improve their heart health, such as not smoking, eating a healthy diet, and getting regular exercise.

Gutierrez agrees that addressing lifestyle is critical for women with heart disease, as is controlling diabetes, high blood pressure, and other health conditions that can lead to heart attack and stroke.

"Statins are not going to make a lot of difference if these issues aren't addressed," he says. "But I would feel terrible if even one woman didn't take statins because of this research. That is not the message."

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