This is what the NHS had to say about claims that statins could save thousands of livesIvy Madziva
A recent study has been used to suggest that prescribing a higher dose of the medicines could prevent heart attacks and strokes.
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A recent study has been used to suggest that prescribing a higher dose of cholesterol-lowering drug statins could save thousands of lives by preventing heart attacks and strokes.
The study, which was conducted by researchers from around the world, was reported by several media outlets who were accused of giving “misleading” coverage.
The National Health Service (NHS) have now shared their thoughts on the new research and whether a higher statins dosage could in fact prevent heart attacks and strokes.
What are statins?
Statins are a group of medicines that can help lower the level of “bad cholesterol” – known officially as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol – in the blood.
Having a high level of LDL cholesterol can be dangerous, particularly as it can cause hardening or narrowing of the arteries as well as cardiovascular disease, such as a heart attack or a stroke.
Doctors often recommend statins when a patient has been diagnosed with a form of cardiovascular disease, or if personal or family history suggests they are likely to develop one in the near future.
If you’re at risk of cardiovascular disease in the future, but are not currently diagnosed, your doctor will typically recommend a number of lifestyle changes before the prescribing of statins.
These could include eating a healthier diet and limiting the amount of alcohol you drink, with statins likely to be recommended should these measures not help.
What was the study?
In its analysis of the research, the NHS revealed that “many of the researchers declared financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry and the study was funded by the US biopharmaceutical company Amgen Inc“.
But what was the study?
The study looked at GP data collected by the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) database.
Researchers identified high-risk patients who had suffered a heart attack or stroke, type 2 diabetes or advanced kidney disease, who were newly prescribed statin or another drug (ezetimibe) that lowers cholesterol in a slightly different way, between 2010 and 2013.
Eligible participants must have received treatment over at least 2 consecutive years.
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