Statin Drugs May Help the Healthy

Cholesterol-Lowering Statin Drugs May Benefit People Without Heart Disease

From the WebMD Archives

Nov. 27, 2006 -- Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs may prevent heart attacks and strokes among people who don't already have cardiovascular disease, a study shows.

Researchers say their analysis of previous studies shows statins may benefit those without cardiovascular disease or elevated cholesterol levels.

The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, could add to the debate over the potential benefits, risks, and cost-effectiveness of statins. Examples of statins include Zocor, Lipitor, Pravachol, Crestor, Lescol, and Mevacor.

Statins for Health?

In the study, researchers analyzed the results of seven major clinical trials on statins involving nearly 43,000 people, 90% of whom had no history of heart disease or stroke.

In each study, the participants randomly received statins, placebo, or another form of care and were followed for at least one year; the average follow-up ranged from three to five years.

The results showed that people without heart disease or stroke who took statins had a nearly 30% lower risk of coronary heart event, including heart attack, and 14% lower risk of stroke compared with those who didn't.

But taking statin drugs did not significantly reduce the risk of death due to heart disease or any other cause.

Not everyone may be able to take statins because of medical conditions such as liver disease. Side effects may include abnormal liver function, muscle aches, muscle damage, allergic reaction, dizziness, abdominal pain, or constipation.

WebMD Health News Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on November 27, 2006


SOURCE: Thavendiranathan, P. Archives of Internal Medicine, Nov. 27, 2006; vol 166: pp 2307-2313.

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