Statin use among healthy patients can halve deaths

CHD Study findings support long-term therapy, say researchers.

Long-term statin treatment could almost halve the risk of all-cause mortality among patients who have yet to develop CHD, research suggests.

The results build on the findings of the JUPITER trial, which showed that statins could benefit healthy patients, paving the way for more aggressive statin use for primary prevention of CHD.

The retrospective study involved 229,918 men and women with an average age of 58 who had started taking statins between 1996 and 2006. A total of 136,502 of the patients had no diagnosis of CHD.

During the nine-and-a-half-year follow-up period, pharmacy records were examined to find the proportion of days on which individuals took statins.

Overall, 4,259 patients without CHD and 8,906 patients with CHD died during the study.

In both groups, ongoing statin treatment, defined as taking the drugs for at least 90 per cent of the follow-up period, reduced the risk of all-cause mortality by 45 per cent compared with patients who took statins less than 10 per cent of the time.

Previous randomised controlled trials (RCTs) have shown that statin therapy produces only a modest 12 per cent reduction in all-cause mortality.

The researchers, led by Dr Valda Shalev, from Maccabi Healthcare Services in Tel Aviv, Israel, concluded: 'The benefits from statins were greater than expected from RCTs, emphasising the importance of promoting statin therapy and increasing its continuation over time.'

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