3 News/NZPA: Statins work, but little help for low-risk patients

In the last few years, the use of statins as a protective measure against heart attacks, even in people with a low risk of them, has grown significantly.

Now, new research suggests that statins aren’t necessarily preventative against heart attacks for people who already have a low risk of them, and health experts are suggesting that the drugs be prescribed with care.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“New Zealand medical authorities have embraced statins as a cost-effective treatment: since 2002 use of the drugs has grown dramatically, with more than 1.5 million prescriptions issued last year, equivalent to more than 300,000 people taking the drug.

“But a wide-ranging review of statin research has shown little evidence that people who already have a low risk of a heart attack will benefit from taking the drugs.

“”The lower we go, the less the benefit, and then we get to a level where the risk of treatment might out-weigh the benefits,” said National Heart Foundation medical director Norman Sharpe.”